House passes SGR repeal; Senate vote in 2 weeks
Contact Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner immediately and urge them to support HR 2, “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act,” which passed the House on Thursday, March 26 by an overwhelming margin of 392-37.
- Call your senators using the AMA’s toll-free Grassroots Hotline: (800) 833-6354.
- Send an urgent email to your senators reinforcing the need for SGR repeal now.
- Contact key senators still undecided on this most critical issue directly through their own social media channels and share with your own Facebook friends and Twitter followers as well.
HR 2 removes the threat of a 21 percent physician payment cut; guarantees a five-year period of stable updates of 0.5 percent for all physicians with only positive incentives to transition to alternative payment models; preserves a value-based fee-for-service system for physicians who are unable to move to an alternative model; and provides penalty relief from Medicare quality improvement programs starting in 2019. For more information on the legislation, download the AMA’s bill summary.
The Senate delayed the vote on this bipartisan bill on Friday, March 27 after a handful of senators blocked efforts to reach agreement on the rules for debate. Congress has now gone on a two-week recess and senate leaders said they will bring the bill up promptly when Congress returns on April 13.
The current Medicare payment patch expires on April 1, which means that all physician services provided on or after April 1 will be subject to a cut of 21 percent. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is instructing its carriers to “hold” for 10 business days any claims for services provided on April 1 and beyond, until legislation can be passed and signed into law that reverses the 21 percent cut. The 10-business-day hold means that April claims will be held through Tuesday, April 14. Since no claims by law can be paid sooner than 14 calendar days from their receipt, this hold should have little practical impact on Medicare remittance in the short-term, although billing for copayments and claims reconciliation will be more complicated.
The AMA has pledged to continue advocacy efforts over the recess, with calls and meetings while senators are home, to shore up support and prime them to pass the bill when they return.
Thank you to all of the physicians who contacted their representatives and senators to urge them to take action to repeal the SGR. Your advocacy matters. The American Medical Association and Colorado Medical Society will keep you up to date on this evolving issue.