Reforming the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate
H.R. 2810, the Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act of 2013, is a bipartisan effort to transform the Medicare physician payment system in a number of important ways. First and foremost, the bill repeals the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) system and replaces it with a fair and stable system of payments. Instead of looming annual cuts, physicians will be rewarded for the quality of care they provide to Medicare beneficiaries. The legislation also includes new transparency and collaboration requirements to solicit input from expert medical organizations and other groups on the development and selection of quality measures. The bipartisan bill also provides additional avenues for development of new payment and care delivery models. H.R. 2810 was approved by the health subcommittee on July 23, 2013 and passed the full committee by a 51-0 bipartisan vote on Wednesday, July 31, 2013.
WATCH Bipartisan Voices of SGR Reform here.
READ letters of support for SGR reform here.
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #FixSGR
Enacted in 1997 as part of the “Balanced Budget Act,” the SGR has been a source of continued concern for physicians who serve Medicare beneficiaries and for the beneficiaries themselves. Long recognized as an imperfect solution that rewards quantity of services rather than the quality of care, Congress has repeatedly implemented a temporary “doc fix” to prevent substantial Medicare reimbursement rate cuts, which could result in fewer physicians being able to serve Medicare patients.
2013 SGR Reform Milestones
February 7, 2013 - Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committee leaders outline a framework to reform the current Medicare system. Committees asked for feedback on the outline by February 25.
February 14, 2013 – Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on “SGR: Data, Measures and Models; Building a Future Medicaid Physician Payment System.”
April 3, 2013 – Leaders from the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees outlined additional details of a proposal to repeal the SGR system. The leaders also sent a letter to the provider community requesting feedback. The leaders requested stakeholder feedback by April 15.
May 28, 2013 - the Energy and Commerce Committee unveiled a draft legislative framework, seeking further stakeholder input by June 10.
June 5, 2013 – Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on “Reforming SGR: Prioritizing Quality in Modernized Physician Payment System.”
June 28, 2013 - Transparent Medicare Physician Payment Process Gained Momentum - Committee Released Advanced Legislative Framework.
July 18, 2013 - Committee Released Updated Draft Proposal for Medicare Physician Payment Reform.
July 23, 2013 - Health Subcommittee Advances Bipartisan SGR Replacement.
July 31, 2013 - Full Committee approves H.R. 2810, the Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act of 2013 by a bipartisan 51-0 vote.
April 11, 2013 - Responding to Senior's Needs and Improving Medicare Choices.