Wed April 15, 2015
ARLINGTON, Va . – The American Psychiatric Association (APA) praised last night's bipartisan Senate vote on legislation that would repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for Medicare physician payment rates. President Obama is expected to sign the bill.
The legislation, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), would repeal the SGR and establish a series of payment reforms under Medicare that focus on quality instead of volume. Future payments would be determined by a doctor's participation in integrated care settings, health outcomes and quality measures.
For more than 10 years, Congress has repeatedly passed short-term "patches" to delay huge cuts to physician payment rates. These "patches" created instability for physician practices and were problematic for lawmakers as well. But new groundwork has been laid for significant changes to Medicare physician reimbursement in the decade ahead. It will have major implications for the practice and reimbursement of psychiatry and other medical practices.
"The Senate passage of the SGR reform bill is a major step toward a reliable and rational payment system for Medicare beneficiaries and their physicians," said APA President Paul Summergrad, M.D. "It is long overdue.
"The APA, our members and the entire medical community advocated strongly for this legislation, which will eliminate uncertainty from the Medicare system to make sure patients and families can get the care they need and deserve from their physicians."
APA stands with other leading medical organizations in support of the legislation, including the American Medical Association.
"Repealing the SGR has been a decades-long process that has involved the advocacy of thousands of APA members and other medical experts -- a grassroots effort that will truly benefit both patients and physicians," said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. "I commend the President and Congress for their leadership and efforts in this process."
The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose more than 36,000 physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses, including substance use disorders. Visit the APA at www.psychiatry.org.
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