AAFP Applauds SGR Bill That Would Affect Meaningful Use Program

February 20, 2014 in News

The American Academy of Family Physicians in a letter applauded the bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers who introduced a proposal to repeal and replace Medicare’s sustainable growth rate formula and align several quality improvement programs, including the meaningful use program, EHR Intelligence reports (Bresnick, EHR Intelligence, 2/18).

Background on Plan

Earlier this month, members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees introduced the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act. It would repeal the SGR formula and institute a 0.5% annual payment increase for physicians between 2014 and 2018. This increase would be maintained until 2018 in an effort to offer payment stability and help doctors transition to new care models.

Physicians beginning in 2018 would participate in a new merit-based incentive payment system — called MIPS — that would consolidate three existing incentive programs:

  • The Physician Quality Reporting System;
  • The Value-Based Payment Modifier; and
  • Meaningful use program.

According to a one-page summary of the legislation, the new payment system would:

  • Encourage care coordination initiatives for patients with chronic illnesses;
  • Increase public access to provider payment data;
  • Replace disvalued codes to improve payment accuracy; and
  • Require development of quality measures in collaboration with physicians (iHealthBeat, 2/7).

Details of AAFP Letter

In a letter to congressional leaders, AAFP Board Chair Jeffrey Cain wrote, “We greatly appreciate the extensive work that this legislation represents and call for its immediate passage” (AAFP letter, 2/17).

He noted that the bill would combine several quality improvement programs, including the EHR incentive program, making them more manageable (EHR Intelligence, 2/18).

Cain called on Congress not to “squander the momentum” by delaying consideration of the proposal, but rather to “bring this legislation to the floor for approval before March 31″ (AAFP letter, 2/17).

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