House and Energy Commerce Committee Passes Bill to Repeal and Replace SGR System
Thu August 01,
(Arlington, VA) - On Wednesday, July 31 the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bipartisan bill that permanently repeals and replaces the flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) system by a vote of 51-0. The Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act of 2013, introduced by Representative Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), would repeal the SGR and replace it with a permanent 0.5 percent update modified by quality performance in a new Update Incentive Program (UIP). Performance under the UIP will be based on quality measures and clinical practice improvement activities developed by the secretary of HHS in collaboration with the relevant medical societies, as well as currently existing mechanisms and consensus-based organizations. Physicians who join approved alternative payment models would be exempt from this reformed fee for service system. Throughout this process APA has advocated for greater payment incentivization to address the great workforce shortages in psychiatry. This effort in the Energy and Commerce Committee is one step towards the ultimate goal of SGR repeal. After the 51-0 committee vote, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) remarked that the House effort was "generally the right direction." Planned action under the House Ways and Means Committee, full House as well as the U.S. Senate is still to be determined.