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ASA Participates in Congressional SGR Reform Discussion Tied to Quality

Thursday, February 28, 2013

ASA recently responded to a request from the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Energy and Commerce regarding quality-related measures and clinical improvements as part of the committees' ongoing pursuit of a broader proposal to repeal the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). 

The committees requested feedback on four specific questions tied to the use of quality measures and clinical improvement in patient outcomes.  In addressing the committees' questions, ASA's response highlighted anesthesiologists' leadership in patient safety and reminded lawmakers that anesthesiology is a complex, high-risk, dynamic patient care system.

ASA praised the committees' support for medical specialties serving as the primary source of quality measures and clinical improvements while noting the complexity of measuring success in a team-based environment.  ASA also offered feedback on risk-adjusted relative rankings among physician specialty groups and measuring improvement of quality over time, including seeking transparency in performance data, the potential of a "floor" mechanism if relative rankings are to drive payment rates, timeliness in accessing and appealing rankings, and a timely feedback system available to physicians. 

ASA also asked for additional considerations including addressing ASA's 33-percent payment problem given the specialty's success in improving quality and reducing costs. ASA also asked for support in testing the Perioperative Surgical Home™ model of care as a next step in this ongoing process. 

The committees indicated that their proposal to reform and possibly replace the SGR is an evolving process that will require continued solicitation for feedback from physician stakeholders.  ASA remains committed to repealing and replacing the flawed SGR mechanism with a system that, at a minimum, provides a viable economic foundation for those providing care to Medicare patients.

Review the Committee on Ways and Means and Committee on Energy and Commerce’s overview of SGR reform.

Review ASA's response to a request for feedback on quality and clinical improvements.

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