ACR comments on draft SGR repeal

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has thrown its support behind a draft bill that would repeal the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for determining Medicare reimbursement.

Republican members in the U.S. House of Representatives have been working on ways to replace the SGR and reform the Medicare physician payment system, such as through a modified fee-for-service policy that encourages reimbursement based on value, rather than volume. House members recently requested feedback from the healthcare community on their work.

In a July 10 letter to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Dr. Paul Ellenbogen, chairman of the ACR's board of chancellors, asked lawmakers to include in possible legislation provisions for Web-based imaging clinical decision-support tools as a quality measure or clinical improvement activity that physicians can utilize within the payment system.

The communiqué also urges lawmakers to more clearly define the role of the Secretary of Health and Human Services throughout this new system of physician reimbursement.

If there is no congressional action by the end of this year, physicians treating Medicare patients will experience an approximately 24% reduction in reimbursement on January 1, 2014, under current SGR guidelines.

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