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Internists express strong support for repeal of SGR through bipartisan agreement reached last year

ACP statement before House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing on SGR

January 21, 2015

(Washington) - "It is imperative to permanently eliminate the fatally flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and implement reforms that will eliminate the uncertainty that has threatened seniors' access to their physicians for over 13 years," the American College of Physicians (ACP)said today. ACP provided a 14-page Statement for the Record at this morning's Hearing before the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health, "A Permanent Solution to the SGR: The Time is Now."

ACP said it strongly supports the bipartisan agreement reached last year by the House Energy & Commerce, Ways & Means, and Senate Finance Committees on comprehensive legislation to repeal the SGR formula. The legislation, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014, represented years of policy development toward a new physician payment system that brings better value to patients and to the entire health care system. ACP urged the legislators to reintroduce and expedite this legislation to the floor for a vote and work with their colleagues to enact it before the current SGR patch expires at the end of March 2015.

"After more than 13 years, 17 patches, and billions wasted-it is truly time to pass SGR-repeal now," ACP emphasized in its statement. The organization declared that if not repealed by the end of March 2015, then the 18th patch would be needed in order to avert a 21 percent cut to physician payments, which will continue the damaging cycle of uncertainty faced by physicians and their patients.

Also in its statement, ACP urged caution about making any major changes to the 2014 legislation that would upset the consensus that was established when drafting this bill. In particular, ACP said it feels strongly that any changes that would weaken the incentives for Alternative Payment Models (APMs), Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) in particular, would be problematic.

ACP's statement highlighted a number of tools and resources it provides to help physicians make the transition to a value-based payment and delivery system, whether via the proposed Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), as outlined in the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act, or as an APM.

Finally, ACP strongly recommended that the reintroduced legislation also include a reauthorization of the Medicare Primary Care Incentive program.

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The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 141,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact: David Kinsman, (202) 261-4554
dkinsman@acponline.org