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ASA Urges U.S. Senate Finance Committee to Give Special Consideration to Anesthesia Payments Under Medicare

Thursday, May 30, 2013

On May 30, 2013, ASA submitted formal comments to Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) of the Senate Finance Committee regarding the Committee's effort to develop an alternative Medicare physician payment update mechanism.  ASA stated that "acknowledgement and remedy" of the 33 percent problem "must be a precursor to moving forward in any future alternative payment model that is based upon the Medicare anesthesia conversion factor."  ASA urged that to "ensure parity across specialties, consideration of the unique nature of the anesthesia conversion factor may be appropriate as part of any legislative proposal that seeks to build a new payment system upon modified or adjusted Medicare conversion factors."

ASA highlighted that anesthesiologists have reduced their liability costs over the years through quality improvements and that the Congressional Budget Office has found that anesthesia services do not drive volume of growth under Medicare.

As part of its comments, ASA also highlighted the importance of specialty led registries, such as the Anesthesia Quality Institute, and specialty led alternative payment models, such as the Perioperative Surgical Home model, would encourage participation.

Review the Senate Finance Committee letter. 

Review ASA's response.

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