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Capitol Health Call
August 8, 2012

Sustainable Growth Rate

JAMA. 2012;308(6):558. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.9564

As Congress considers ways to install a permanent fix to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, which helps determine physician fees for treating Medicare patients, the Senate Finance Committee held a roundtable discussion to hear from 4 health insurers and an independent physicians' association that have developed innovative physician payment systems in the private insurance market that could help guide legislators in this task.

At the June 14 meeting, committee Chairman Sen Max Baucus (D, Mont) said the SGR must be repealed because it threatens physicians with deeper payment cuts every year and causes seniors to fear losing access to their physicians. These organizations “are changing how they pay physicians to create incentives that will improve patient care,” Baucus said in a release. “They are rewarding the physicians who keep patients healthy and cut down on emergency room visits and hospital readmissions.”

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