Pay­ing for the temp doc fix

Pay cuts pre­vented, but move irks docs, hos­pi­tals

Modern Healthcare - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica Zig­mond and Rich Daly

Congress dis­ap­pointed physi­cians, an­noyed hos­pi­tals and made more work for them­selves over the long term as law­mak­ers once again failed to find a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to the complicated and uni­ver­sally un­pop­u­lar Medi­care physi­cian pay­ment sys­tem.

Late last week, the House and Se­nate passed the Mid­dle Class Tax Re­lief and Job Cre­ation Act of 2012, a leg­isla­tive pack­age that in­cludes a pro­vi­sion to pre­vent a 27.4% cut in Medi­care physi­cian pay­ment rates that was sched­uled to take ef­fect March 1.

The mea­sure freezes the rates at their cur­rent level through Dec. 31, 2012, and also re­quires HHS and the Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity

“Congress has dug it­self into a $400 bil­lion hole.” —Dr. Su­san Tur­ney, MGMA-ACMPE

Of­fice to sub­mit re­ports to help mem­bers of Congress de­velop an al­ter­na­tive to the sus­tain­able growth-rate for­mula, which is used to de­ter­mine pay­ment rates.

“Physi­cian prac­tices now face a mount­ing 35% pay­ment threat from Medi­care in 2013, and Congress has dug it­self into a $400 bil­lion hole,” Dr. Su­san Tur­ney, pres­i­dent and CEO of the MGMA-ACMPE, for­merly the Med­i­cal Group Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, said in a state­ment. Group prac­tices have told the or­ga­ni­za­tion that this decision will in­hibit their abil­ity to plan for the fu­ture, Tur­ney said.

Just ahead of the Pres­i­dents Day re­cess, House mem­bers voted 293 to 132 in fa­vor of the over­all pack­age, which was a com­pro­mise to leg­is­la­tion the House passed in De­cem­ber. Soon af­ter, the Se­nate ap­proved the bill in a 60-36 vote. Rep. Phil Gin­grey (R-GA.), a

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