Share, , Google Plus, Pinterest,

Print

Posted in:

Finally a Fix For the SGR Problem?

Many of you might not be aware, but part of the ‘deal’ the AMA made with the Obama administration was that they agreed to support the Healthcare Reform legislation in return for a final fix to the SGR (sustainable growth rate) for Medicare reimbursement. Alas, when the cat was let out of the bag and the media announced that the fix would cost about $220 billion dollars, the jig was up. So now we are back to the annual game of constant threats to cut reimbursement followed by a last minute reprieve – just under the rate of inflation.

But now, according to an article in Physicians Practice, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark) has introduced the “Medicare Rural Physician Recruitment and Retention Act of 2010”, part of which calls for the repeal of the SGR payment system. Instead, is bases updates to physician reimbursements to what is known as the Medicare Economic Index (MEI).

Created in 1975, the MEI is a measure of practice cost inflation tied to the SGR as a way to estimate annual changes in operating costs and earnings levels for physicians. In a 2008 report, the AMA’s Council on Medical Service said the MEI “provides a promising framework for medical price increases,” but also noted design flaws in the formula to be addressed.

Created in 1975, the MEI is a measure of practice cost inflation tied to the SGR as a way to estimate annual changes in operating costs and earnings levels for physicians. In a 2008 report, the AMA’s Council on Medical Service said the MEI “provides a promising framework for medical price increases,” but also noted design flaws in the formula to be addressed…[and that] ditching the SGR formula comes with consequences, most notably $200 million more in additional costs, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

We’ll see if Congress has the fortitude to deal with this issue, particularly in the middle of a heated election cycle. Are there any rational minds out there still?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.