August 01, 2013
1 min read

House panel OKs revamping of physicians’ Medicare reimbursement formula

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Bipartisan legislation designed to fix the existing Medicare formula for physician payments has been approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee by a vote of 51-0.

The measure, H.R. 2810, would replace Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) with a more consistent and sustainable system for physician reimbursement, according to a committee announcement.

The bill “remedies this ailing physician payment system while encouraging the highest quality of care for America’s seniors,” Committee Chairman Fred Upton, (R-Mich.), said.

The measure provides a “statutory update” to physicians of 0.5% annually from 2014 through 2018. That would continue for providers in 2019 and beyond, with those practicing in fee-for-service receiving an additional increase based on performance quality under a new update incentive program. Qualifying providers could earn a 1% bonus, but low-performing providers would receive a 1% payment reduction.

The American Medical Association announced support for the reforms, but it “believes that more work is required … to address the potential complexity of a proposed quality system that could distract from more effective efforts to improve patient care.”

Other medical and physician groups generally reacted positively to the passage.