publication date: Mar. 27, 2015

House Votes to Repeal Sustainable Growth Rate; Senate Delays Action


The House voted 392-37 to approve legislation that would eliminate the Sustainable Growth Rate, a method currently used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to control spending by Medicare on physician services.

While the House voted on March 26, the Senate adjourned for spring recess without acting on the bill.

Physicians are now faced with the prospect of a 21 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement when the current SGR payment patch expires next week on March 31.

“ASCO is extremely disappointed that the Senate failed to act on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2),” the society said in a statement. “Over the next two weeks, ASCO will continue to urge the Senate to pass H.R. 2 immediately upon its return. President Obama supports the bill and is expected to sign the legislation into law.”

The SGR formula has called for drastic reductions in physician payments in 2002, resulting in 17 expensive payment patches, ASCO said.

“Although the current SGR patch expires on March 31, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services has the ability to hold claims for 10 business days,” ASCO said in a statement. “The hold claim period will begin on April 1, 2015 and last through April 14, 2015. All claims for services delivered on or before March 31, 2015 should be paid under normal procedures.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate will wait more than two weeks before acting on SGR, according to Reuters.

“They can handle a two-week gap … Continue reading 41-12 House Votes to Repeal Sustainable Growth Rate; Senate Delays Action

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