Welcome to The ACP Advocate.
Our first story this week is like déjà vu all over again. Congress has again failed to enact legislation to prevent a 21% Medicare payment cut, which went into effect on June 1.
Before they left for the Memorial Day recess the House did manage to pass new legislation to replace the cut with 19 months of positive updates. However, the Senate did not take this legislation up before leaving town.
If the year-to-year payment uncertainty caused by the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula was untenable, then the instability caused by the month-to-month updates that Congress has been passing since the beginning of the year is deplorable. Both houses of Congress will be back in session on June 7. CMS has instructed its contractors to hold off on processing payments for the first 14 days of June. Provided that Congress passes legislation to reverse the cut, you should not see any effect on your reimbursements. But it is not enough for Congress to just pass another temporary reprieve; it is high time for Congress to enact legislation that would lead to a permanent end to the cycle of Medicare payment cuts. I urge you to contact your members of Congress to let them know the devastating effects that these unstable payments are having on your practice.
Our other two stories this week recap what happened during ACP’s Leadership Day on Capitol Hill. Obviously payment issues were a major topic of conversation during our members’ visits with their representatives. However, among other issues, members of Congress and their staff were also briefed on the need for support for primary care internal medicine and the need for improvements in the health care reform law.
For more coverage of what’s happening in Washington, take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty.
And, as always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to: TheACPAdvocate@acponline.org.
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians