11 Years, 16 Patches, $154 Billion: Congress Must Act Now to Repeal the SGR
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014
Statement attributable to:
Reid Blackwelder, MD
American Academy of Family Physicians
“Today marks the 11th anniversary of Congress’s first attempt to ‘fix’ the flawed Medicare sustainable growth rate formula. During the past 11 (yes, 11!) years, we have witnessed 16 short-term ‘patches’ that have cost tax payers $154 billion (and yes, that’s billion). These so called ‘doc fixes’ have failed to stabilize Medicare payment and continue to erode the health security of elderly and disabled Americans.
“Now, Congress must focus its attention on two new and very important numbers: H.R. 4015 and S. 2000. It is time for Congress to pass the ‘SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014.’
“Taken together, the Ways and Means/Senate Finance committees’ proposed legislation moves toward comprehensive reforms that promise higher quality care and more peace of mind for the most vulnerable Americans. The proposal includes policies that will enable individual family physicians and primary care physician groups to move away from the current system toward more patient-centered, comprehensive reforms that promise greater efficiency, more care coordination, and less duplication and fragmentation.
“By encouraging physicians to build on the patient-centered medical home model and exploring alternative payment models, the proposal shifts focus away from delivery and payment models that foster episodic care, based on volume. Instead, it moves toward those that facilitate ongoing comprehensive care that reduces intensive medical and inpatient services, and focuses on rewarding value.
“We urge Congress to seize the opportunity before them to create a new and more stable health care infrastructure for the American people.
“The group of numbers referenced above, 11-16-154, sounds like a lottery number. It’s definitely not an efficient way for Congress to do business. Act swiftly. Act now. Repeal the SGR.”
Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Blackwelder, contact Janelle Davis, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5222, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
# # #
Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.
To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter,(twitter.com) and like us on Facebook. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).