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CMS Letter Projects 2012 Payment Cuts, ASA Joins Letter to Congress Calling for the Elimination of SGR

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a letter to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) providing CMS estimates of the calendar year 2012 physician fee schedule conversion factor update,  and sustainable growth rate (SGR), together with the data used in making those estimates. 

According to the CMS letter, the conversion factor is anticipated to decrease 29.5 percent. The letter did not provide projections on what the 2012 anesthesia conversion factor will be.

In the letter, CMS discusses the short-term SGR fix that prevented a major cut in 2011 and states its support for a long-term solution, “This short-term relief has been critical – but so too is a long-term solution. We will continue to work with Congress to fix this untenable situation so doctors no longer have to worry about the stability and adequacy of their payments from Medicare.”  

The letter from CMS to MedPAC outlining potential cuts in payment for 2012 heightens the need for meaningful Medicare payment reform.

A letter from the American Medical Association and 130 other organizations including ASA was sent on March 10 to the House and Senate leadership. The letter calls on Congress to begin “working in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to enact legislation this year that will eliminate Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and lay the groundwork for adoption of broader physician payment and delivery reforms.”

ASA continues to support permanent repeal and replacement of the SGR formula with a payment system that accurately reflects the costs of providing care. Short of full repeal, ASA supports proposals that 1) provide for appropriate payment updates; 2) do not exacerbate projected future payment cuts; and 3) begin to address the magnitude of the projected payment cuts – the “SGR debt.”

Click here to read the CMS letter to MedPAC.
Click here to read the letter sent to the House.
Click here to read the letter sent to the Senate.


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