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911 Legislative Network Update
ACEP 911 Network Action Alert
 
SGR repeal legislation gaining momentum: Contact your legislators to make it happen!
 
Congress is closer than ever before in enacting bi-partisan, bi-cameral legislation to replace the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a payment system that rewards quality, efficiency and innovation (H.R.2/S.810).
 
Amplifying emergency physicians’ voice on this issue now is critical.
 
The House may take up the legislation as early as Thursday. Senate consideration is expected following the House vote.
 
Please take action by sending an email to your federal legislators through the ACEP Grassroots Advocacy Site or www.acepadvocacy.org. You can also call your legislators by telephone via the AMA’s Physicians Grassroots Network hotline at (800) 833-6354.
 
The key points to stress with your representative and senators are:
  • For at least 12 years, Congress has recognized the imperative of reforming the Medicare physician payment system. Now that a bipartisan, bicameral policy has been developed, it’s time to stop thinking about the problem and seize the opportunity to solve it.
  • Congress must avoid continuing the fiscally irresponsible cycle of short-term patches that contribute to the Medicare program’s instability and do nothing to solve the underlying problem.
  • Physicians will face about a 21% reduction in Medicare reimbursement rates unless Congress acts by April 1, 2015.
  • Emergency physicians are very concerned that the continued use of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula will drive other physicians out of Medicare leaving the emergency department as the only viable alternative for seniors to access the nation's health care system.
  • Furthermore, the U.S. faces a significant expansion of Medicare as 78 million baby boomers begin in the next few years. America's emergency departments already treat more than 136 million patients a year and nearly 18 percent of those visits were by individuals ages 65 and older.
 
The $213 billion deal would replace the SGR, as well as provide a two-year extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program. Funding for the package would come in part through $70 billion in spending reductions split between cuts to Medicare benefits and reductions in provider payments. 

Although financing the bill is subject to change, currently about $70 billion of the projected costs are offset. Roughly half of the possible deal's offsets would come from cuts to hospitals, insurers and acute-care providers. The other half of offsets would come from cuts to Medicare beneficiaries, such as additional means testing for high-income beneficiaries. Overall, the deal would be expected to add about $140 billion to the federal deficit over 10 years.
 
Please contact Brad Gruehn, ACEP Congressional Affairs Director or Jeanne Slade, NEMPAC and Grassroots Advocacy Director if you have questions or feedback from your communications to Congress.
 911 Legislative Network Update

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