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March 26, 2014

AAOS Urges Congress to Focus on Permanent SGR Repeal

Washington, DC—The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) urges Congress to return to bipartisan, bicameral negotiations to enact legislation that would permanently repeal and replace the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula before the current SGR patch expires. Enacting another “doc fix” patch would ignore the substantial progress that has been made and simply extends the uncertainty that has plagued patients and physicians for over ten years. Further, the proposed patch, introduced yesterday, is paid for through a yet-to-be determined misvalued codes provision that could hurt patients and physicians without providing any of the full benefits of permanent SGR repeal.
 
“The AAOS is extremely disappointed with the introduction of another flawed patch to address the flawed sustainable growth rate,” says Frederick M. Azar, MD, President of AAOS. “Temporary patches do not fix the problem and the cost to enact these patches has done nothing to move us closer to reform. A permanent solution, such as the policy found in H.R. 4015/S. 2000, ensures Medicare’s solvency in a patient-centric, fiscally-responsible way and must be enacted before the current patch expires.”
 
The cumulative cost of enacting temporary patches now exceeds the cost of a permanent fix. The policy in H.R. 4015/S. 2000, developed by the Senate Finance Committee and House committees of jurisdiction and also includedin bills introduced by Representative Burgess, Senator Wyden and Senator Hatch, would take significant steps to return fiscal responsibility and stability to the current cycle of temporary patches to prevent steep payment cuts. Permanently repealing the SGR is the fiscally responsible way toward a higher performing Medicare program. It is imperative that Congress continue bipartisan negotiations, whether directly or through conference, and enact legislation to repeal and replace the SGR before the expiration of the current patch.

3/28/14 Update: “The AAOS is profoundly disappointed by the actions of the House in passing the latest SGR patch,” says Frederick M. Azar, MD, President of AAOS.“Yesterday’s controversial vote advanced the 17th straight SGR patch despite bipartisan objection while simultaneously ignoring the appeals of the medical community and undermining future passage of permanent SGR reform. Continued access to care for patients and a return to certainty for physicians require a permanent solution. The AAOS urges the Senate to permanently repeal and replace the SGR before the current patch expires.”
 
More information about AAOS advocacy issues
 
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Orthopaedic surgeons restore mobility, reduce pain and provide value; they help people get back to work and to independent, productive lives. Visit ANationInMotion.org to read successful orthopaedic stories.
 
For more information on bone and joint health, visit Orthoinfo.org.
 

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Contact(s):
Elizabeth Fassbender
(202) 548-4143
fassbender@aaos.org

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