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April 14, 2015

AAOS Applauds Senate for Passing SGR Repeal and Replace Bill

Washington, DC— The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) commends members of the U.S. Senate for their pivotal vote passing the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2). This much-needed legislation permanently repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, ensuring the highest quality of care for Medicare patients and ending the threat of substantial payment cuts in physicians’ Medicare reimbursement.

“The AAOS commends the Senate for passing a permanent repeal and replacement of the flawed SGR formula,” stated David D. Teuscher, MD, President of AAOS. “On behalf of the more than 38,000 AAOS members, we thank Congress for the tremendous bipartisan effort put into SGR reform and congratulate legislators for enacting a bill that implements meaningful reforms to the Medicare program. Specifically, we applaud Congress for provisions that
  • reverse the harmful global payments policy announced in the 2015 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services;
  • streamline Medicare’s existing quality programs into one value-based performance program, which will remove many of the reporting burdens faced by physicians;
  • expand availability of Medicare data by allowing qualified clinical data registries to purchase claims data for purposes of quality improvement and patient safety; and
  • clarify the development of quality guidelines in Medicare or through other laws cannot be construed to establish a standard or duty of care, protecting doctors from lawsuits based on federal quality measures.”
“The SGR has plagued the health care industry for over a decade,” continued Dr. Teuscher. “AAOS has consistently called for the permanent repeal of the SGR, and orthopaedic surgeons around the country have emailed, called, and visited their members of Congress, urging legislators to understand the importance of repealing the SGR for good. That effort helped achieve today’s result. Again, we thank legislators for their work to enact H.R. 2, and we look forward to continued input as the quality metrics and other regulations surrounding this bill are developed.”

“This bill ensures Medicare’s solvency and improves care delivery, while ending the reckless system of short-term patches that has been harmful to the economy and to Medicare patients seeking access to specialties they desperately need,” stated Thomas C. Barber, MD, Chair of the AAOS Council on Advocacy. “The AAOS has worked closely with congressional and committee leadership to ensure the legislation provides the highest quality of care for Medicare patients, reduces reporting and other administrative burdens, adds needed flexibility for physicians, and allows for medical specialty input in development of quality measures. We thank Congress for their hard work and continued dedication to finding a viable solution to the flawed formula.”

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Elizabeth Fassbender
Direct: (202) 548-4143
Cell: (608) 469-8975
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