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Repealing SGR

By Rich Umbdenstock
March 27, 2015

We are pleased that the House this week voted to permanently replace the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate formula, and we hope the Senate will follow suit. The package strikes a careful balance in the way it funds the SGR repeal and embraces a number of structural reforms to the Medicare program. It fixes the physician payment problem and includes policy changes that move their payments from the first curve to the second curve. It includes important extenders and key provisions for which we’ve advocated, including delayed enforcement of Medicare’s “two-midnight” policy, important short-term relief for disproportionate share hospitals, and removing the “gainsharing” civil monetary penalty. And it rejects a number of flawed policy options – cuts to outpatient hospital services (site-neutral), Medicare bad debt payments and graduate medical education, changes to the critical access hospital program, repeal of restrictions in current law on physician-owned specialty hospitals, and prevents further delays to ICD-10. Please urge your senators to pass this well balanced package. We will continue to push issues left out of the package – like broad-based RAC reform and a sociodemographic adjustment to the readmissions penalty program, along with corrections to regulatory issues like the CAH 96-hour rule, physician supervision and 90-day attestation requirements – and the bipartisan bills introduced on Capitol Hill that reflect those policy changes.

Topic: Access and Coverage
Tags: quality, readmissions, socioeconomic status, Medicare, Coverage, Medicaid, access

Richard J. Umbdenstock became president and chief executive officer of the American Hospital Association (AHA) on January 1, 2007. Previously, he was the elected AHA Board Chair in 2006. The AHA leads, represents and serves more than 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, and 43,000 individual members.

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