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The AUA has a long history of advocating on behalf of physicians on payment and coverage issues, including repeal and replacement of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment formula. Together with our coalition partners, the AUA has maintained a strong focus on this issue for more than a decade.
What You Should Know
Originally enacted as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the SGR formula establishes yearly spending targets for physician services under the Medicare program. Use of such targets was designed to be a means of controlling aggregate growth in Medicare spending. Physician fee schedules are updated yearly with conversion factors to bring physician payments in line with SGR targets.
However, physician payments are not keeping pace with the rising costs of caring for patients; according to the American Medical Association, care costs have increased 25 percent since 2001; however, Medicare physician payments have only risen 4 percent. Recent cuts from sequestration only exacerbate this growing problem.
113th Congress Activity
Together with other like-minded groups (including the Alliance of Specialty Medicine (www.specialtydocs.org), the AMA and the American College of Surgeons), the AUA has taken a strong focus on repeal and reform of the SGR. 2013 was a year of strong progress on this issue, with committees of jurisdiction in both the House of Representatives and the Senate passing legislation to repeal the SGR permanently prior to adjourning for the year. Currently, an SGR "patch" is in place to prevent cuts to physician reimbursement in the early months of 2014.
AUA Comment Letters
What You Can Do
Visit the AUA Advocacy Center for updates on alerts and calls to action on this issue.
Congressional Committees of Jurisdiction