Paying for the temp doc fix
Pay cuts prevented, but move irks docs, hospitals
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