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American College of Physicians supports framework to repeal
the SGR formula
Attribution:Virginia L. Hood, MBBS, MPH, FACP
President, American College of Physicians
November 16, 2011
The 132,000 Internal medicine physician and medical student
members of the American College of Physicians applaud Rep. Allyson
Schwartz (D-PA) for urging the Joint Select Committee on Deficit
Reduction to include broad reforms based on her MEDICARE PHYSICIAN
PAYMENT INNOVATION ACT. This proposal repeals the flawed Medicare
SGR formula and creates a pathway to better payment systems for
physicians providing services to patients enrolled in Medicare and
The MEDICARE PHYSICIAN PAYMENT INNOVATION ACT proposal prevents
devastating cuts in payments for physician services, including a
cut of more than 27 percent scheduled to go into effect on January
1, 2012. If Congress allows this cut to go into effect, physicians
will have to consider a range of painful options, including closing
their practices; limiting how many Medicare patients that they can
see; laying off staff; and postponing purchase of electronic health
records and other investments to improve patient care.
Instead of SGR cuts that will have such devastating impacts on
patient care, this proposal stabilizes payments through 2016,
ensuring that there will be no percentage cuts-and positive updates
in calendar years 2013-16-for all physician services. At the same
time, the MEDICARE PHYSICIAN PAYMENT INNOVATION ACT proposal
recognizes the critical importance of addressing long-standing
inequities in payments for undervalued services provided by
internal medicine specialists and other primary care physicians.
From 2013 through 2016, primary care services would get an
appropriately higher update than other services, an important step
to address economic disincentives contributing to the growing
shortage of internal medicine physicians and other primary care
Finally, the proposal creates incentives for physicians to
transition to new payment models aligned with value to patients,
such as Patient Centered Medical Homes, instead of continuing to
pay physicians on a purely fee-for-service basis. It provides a
specific legislative timetable for the Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services to expand, evaluate and adopt different payment
models, and for physicians to transition to the most effective
We urge Congress to act in a bipartisan fashion to enact
legislation based on this framework, and by doing so, put an end to
the cycle of annual Medicare SGR cuts to doctors and their
patients, once and for all-and lead the way to new patient-centered
models of payment and delivery.
The American College of Physicians (www.acponline.org) is the largest medical
specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in
the United States. ACP members include 132,000 internal medicine
physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical
students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and
treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.
David Kinsman, (202) 261-4554, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacquelyn Blaser, (202) 261-4572, email@example.com