April 21, 2010 - The American College of Radiology (ACR) is presently asking radiologists, radiation oncologists and all doctors to sign a petition to permanently repeal the current Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula.
The SGR formula determines the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) physician payment rates, and the ACR says the formula is flawed. This reimbursement formula has resulted in Congress applying a temporary patch on a near-annual basis to ensure physicians are not faced with significant cuts to their reimbursement.
The ACR was responding to President Obama recently signing the H.R. 4851, the Continuing Extension Act of 2010, into law. This reinstated Medicare physician payments to where they were on March 31. The bill again postpones the 21.3 percent cut that was supposed to take effect in 2010.
This most recent extension of 2009 payment rates will continue through the end of May, and will be applied retroactively to all physician services provided to Medicare patients in April. The ACR is encouraging doctors to ask their senators to work to provide physicians with permanent relief from what it calls a "flawed payment system."
In addition, the extension of the 2009 payment rates also postponed CMS’ "meaningful use of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology" program to physicians who provide services in outpatient facilities. According to the ACR, the legislative clarification in H.R. 4851 means incentives should be offered to physicians who provide services in outpatient facilities (POS Code 22). This will be reflected in the eligibility requirements in CMS’ final rule on Stage 1 of meaningful use, due sometime before early summer 2010.
For more information: www.acr.org