What should be done about the SGR?

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May 20, 2011
In this issue
» Might the Sustainable Growth Rate Be on Its Last Legs?

» Primary Care Bonus Payments Start Small But Should Grow, ACP Says

» No States Opt for New Medicaid Health Home Program

» ACP Supports Legislation Targeting Safety of Indoor Tanning



About this newsletter

The ACP Advocate is an e-newsletter, edited by the College's Washington, DC governmental affairs division, created to provide you, our members, with succinct news about public policy issues affecting internal medicine and patient care. To learn more about ACP's Advocacy and to access the ACP Advocate archives, go to www.acponline.org/advocacy.

Welcome to The ACP Advocate.

Our first story this week lets you know about the latest news on the SGR and Medicare payments.  In the past month two House committees have held hearings on what needs to be done to move beyond the SGR and the payment problems it causes.  We have put together a comprehensive proposal of what we believe is necessary going forward.  I hope you’ll take a moment to read the story and our proposal
 
Our second story today expands on an issue that we mentioned briefly in the side section of our last issue.  The first payments for the Primary Care Incentive Program were mailed out during April and many of you may have found them to be smaller than what you were expecting.  Our story details for you the reasons why that occurred and what you can expect moving forward with the program.
 
Our third story is another in our series covering new initiatives that were part of the health care reform legislation.  The Medicaid Health Home is another iteration of a medical home program.  While the practice model could benefit Medicaid beneficiaries, current Medicaid reimbursements are too low for many physicians to participate.  I am hopeful that this is something we will see rectified in the future.
 
Finally, our last story this week is a piece about a recent briefing on the dangers of indoor tanning that was organized by the American Academy of Dermatology.  The piece was written by one of the health policy interns who have been in our office for the past month helping us to prep for next week’s Leadership Day. 
 
I hope to see some of you next week in Washington for Leadership Day.  If you aren’t able to attend, look to our next issue for complete coverage of the event.
 
For more coverage of what’s happening in Washington, take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty.  You can also follow me on Twitter @BobDohertyACP

And, as always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to:  TheACPAdvocate@acponline.org

Yours truly,

Bob Doherty
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians  

 


In the news
» Might the Sustainable Growth Rate Be on Its Last Legs?
  With two-stage plan to replace the formula, ACP official sees hope for ending roller coaster ride
 

Doing away with the Medicare sustainable growth rate once and for all is long overdue, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have said in recent weeks at congressional hearings on the issue.

Others who have testified at the committee hearings ... » Click to read the full article


» Primary Care Bonus Payments Start Small But Should Grow, ACP Says
  Committee and staff members looking into change in Medicare's calculation method
 

Medicare's first batch of primary care bonus payments prompted surprise among many recipients, who'd expected checks for larger amounts.

That's partly because the first checks don't reflect Medicare claims for a full quarter, explained Bob Dohert... » Click to read the full article


» No States Opt for New Medicaid Health Home Program
  Once effort gets going, reimbursement history may still diminish its appeal to physicians, ACP says
 

An optional program encouraging states to coordinate and integrate care for Medicaid patients with chronic conditions has drawn no participants nearly... » Click to read the full article


» ACP Supports Legislation Targeting Safety of Indoor Tanning
  College joins with dermatologists and others to call attention to dangers
 

By Morganna Freeman-Keller, DOACP Health Policy Intern

The American Academy of Dermatology held a Capitol Hill briefing May 3 on "Raising Skin Cancer Awareness and the Dangers of Indoor Tanning," kicking off Melanoma/Skin Canc... » Click to read the full article


In focus
CMS Announces New ACO Initiatives
CMS has announced 3 new initiatives designed to help physicians with the transition to the Accountable Care Organization (ACO). The Pioneer ACO Model, the Advance Payment Initiative, and the Accelerated Development Learning Sessions are targeted toward different stages in the ACO process and can help with questions ranging from developing an action plan to accessing shared savings. More information is available on the CMS Innovation (=website.

National Version 5010 Testing Day Approaching
On June 15 CMS is organizing an opportunity for physicians and Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to come together to test their progress in transitioning to Version 5010. Version 5010 is the new set of electronic standards that practices need to have in place in order to eventually transition to ICD-10. In order to continue to receive payments, all practices will need to be using Version 5010 by Jan. 1. More information about Version 5010 and ICD-10 is available on the ACP website.

Registration Opens for EHR Incentive Program
The Registration and Attestation System for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is now live. Physicians who are interested in participating in the program that allows you to earn an incentive payment for demonstrating “meaningful use” of a qualified EHR system can find more information on the American EHR website about how to access the new system and about additional program materials that are also available.

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