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April 14, 2015
President expected to sign legislation immediately
David A. Fleming, MD, MA, MACP
President, American College of Physicians (ACP)
We all witnessed something quite extraordinary and historic
today when the Senate followed the House in passing comprehensive
legislation to repeal Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR)
formula (H.R. 2) and transition us to a new value-based system.
After consideration of a series of amendments, the Senate passed
the measure. This comes on the heels of an overwhelming show of
support in the House, where both Republicans and Democrats voted in favor of H.R. 2 on March 26.
President Obama is expected to sign the bill immediately, which
will avert a 21 percent physician payment cut from taking
ACP applauds the efforts of so many in Congress who worked in a
bipartisan fashion, over many years, to develop this legislation.
Repeal of the SGR has been a priority of ACP's, and nearly all of
medicine, for more than a decade. Physicians and their patients no
longer will have to be concerned with impending yearly payment cuts
as a result of the flawed SGR formula and no longer will this
burden of uncertainty be hanging over physician practices. Equally
important, the legislation provides strong incentives for
physicians to engage in activities to improve quality; streamlines
existing quality reporting programs; and provides additional
support to physicians who participate in Patient-Centered Medical
Homes, and other alternative payment models, shown to improve
outcomes and the effectiveness of care provided.
The SGR repeal is finally finished but it did not come about
easily. On behalf of all of us at ACP, we say thank you to Congress
for seeing the wisdom of repealing this flawed formula and to our
141,000 members for their tenacious advocacy over this long journey
to SGR-repeal. ACP's advocacy efforts will continue, but now with a
renewed focus on other key priorities that include: extension of
Medicare's Primary Care Incentive Program beyond 2015,
reinstatement of the Medicaid Primary Care Pay Parity program, and
support of important physician workforce issues like Graduate
Medical Education (GME) financing reform.
On this day, we can and should pause for a long-awaited
celebration. The exhausting effort to repeal the SGR has finally
crossed the finish line.
Highlights of the H.R. 2 legislation include:
In addition, H.R. 2 provides continued funding of the National
Health Services Corps, Community Health Centers, Teaching Health
Centers, and the Children's Health Insurance Program, programs that
are especially important to ensuring patient access to primary
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) firstname.lastname@example.org