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AAMC Commends Bipartisan Senate Finance and House Ways and Means SGR Proposal

October 31, 2013—AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., issued an Oct. 31 statement commending the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees for their bipartisan, bicameral discussion draft legislation to reform the Medicare physician payment system and repeal the sustainable growth rate formula (SGR).

In the statement, Dr. Kirch “applauds the bipartisan efforts of lawmakers to reform” and repeal the current SGR stating, “this thoughtful proposal represents progress toward establishing sustainable funding for Medicare physician payments while preserving access for Medicare beneficiaries.”  Dr. Kirch also urged Congress to “ensure stability in physician reimbursement and avoid any cuts that jeopardize the nation’s teaching hospitals and the ability of their physicians to provide Medicare beneficiaries with timely access to care.”

The proposal would permanently repeal the SGR, freeze Medicare physician payment rates through 2023, and encourage providers to transition into alternative payment models (APM), such as accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes, through incentive bonus payments.   

Additionally, the proposal would combine the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Value-Based Modifier (VBM), and Electronic Health Record Meaningful Use (EHR MU) into one comprehensive quality program.  Physicians opting to participate in “Advanced APMs” would be exempt from the incentive program, and would receive bonus payments starting in 2016. 

While no official score has been released, the cost of the proposal is anticipated to be less than the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act of 2013 (HR. 2810) [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 20].  

Should Congress fail to act this year, Medicare physician payments will be cut by more than 24 percent on Jan. 1, 2014.


Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281

Courtney Summers
Senior Legislative Analyst
Telephone: 202-862-6042


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806