The House of Representatives Ways and Means (W&M) and Energy and Commerce (E&C) committees have renewed cooperative efforts to formulate a “doc fix” to the current sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment formula, according to public statements made by committee chairs Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Dave Camp (R-MI). Reps. Upton and Camp have indicated that they hope to have a proposal ready prior to the 2013 August recess.
In recent weeks, the AUA has (both independently and in concert with the Alliance of Specialty Medicine) been working actively to provide both House committees with necessary feedback and comments regarding SGR repeal. Additionally, the AUA met with W&M Health Subcommittee Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX-8) to discuss our concerns and also held meetings with Republican members of the E&C Committee to discuss proposed legislation to repeal and replace the SGR. Late last month, the AUA provided a formal response to the Senate Finance Committee’s request for input on policies affecting the physician fee schedule and the fee-for-service system.
Physician payment system reform was a key topic at the 2013 Joint Advocacy Conference earlier this year, with lawmakers optimistic for change during the 113th Congress. However, even as many agree that reform is necessary, a major challenge that remains is identifying the “pay for” to offset the costs of repealing the SGR system and how such change will be implemented.
The AUA strongly supports Congress’s overarching goal to promote a payment system that ensures payments for physician services are appropriate while also reducing unnecessary utilization, improving quality of care and easing the transition to a new payment model.