Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) Backs Anti-SGR Legislation

SHM has joined the growing number of professional medical societies calling for the repeal of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, and they want you to join the fight.

In the past few weeks, SHM, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), and the American Medical Association (AMA) have decried the Medicare payment system and called for its end. All were responding to a U.S. House of Representatives request for comments on how to rebuild Medicare reimbursement for physicians.

Unless Congress repeals the formula or approves the latest in a series of extensions, Medicare physician payments will be reduced by 30.9% on Jan. 1, 2013. And while most observers doubt the deep cuts will ever be implemented, the specter of them is cause for concern.

"It’s hugely disruptive to the planning process for any business, no matter what size," says Ron Greeno, MD, MHM, Cogent HMG’s chief medical officer and the chair of SHM’s Public Policy Committee.

SHM has thrown its support behind one potential solution, a bipartisan bill drafted by U.S. Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) and Joe Heck (R-Nev.). If passed, it would eliminate the SGR formula and push for new payment models.

Dr. Greeno, who is "hopeful but not optimistic" that the bill can pass, says hospitalists need to step up and support those who are supporting hospitalists. To that end, the society is urging members to contact their local representatives to support the legislation.

"You have to be vocal, you have to be consistently vocal," he says. "We have to be diligent, continue to advance this as an issue, continue to support the people that are seeking reasonable solutions. Despite everything that gets put in our way, we have to continue to be vocal and continue to support this. One of these times, it’s going to work."

For more information, check out SHM’s Advocacy portal. Use this directory to find and email your elected officials.

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