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This week’s headline:

Support for SGR repeal bill swells

With a 24 percent cut to Medicare physician payments looming, efforts to enlist support for the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014, HR 4015/S 2000, are heating up in the halls of Congress. The three-month reprieve from Medicare physician payment cuts enacted by Congress in December comes to a close on March 31, and the house of medicine is gearing up to prevent another temporary patch to Medicare payment reform.

Repeal bill in a nutshell
The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), American College of Mohs Surgery (ACMS), American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA), American Society of Dermatopathology (ASDP), and the American Society for Mohs Surgery (ASMS) have come together with a united voice for dermatology supporting HR 4015/S 2000. Read the joint message from the presidents. HR 4015/S 2000 would repeal the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and increase physician payments by 0.5 percent each year for five years under a new bipartisan agreement. While the AADA, ACMS, ASDSA, ASDP, and ASMS offered support for the bipartisan legislation, they also expressed concerns regarding certain provisions and their potential impact on patient access to dermatologic care. Read more about HR 4015/S 2000.

Physician organizations rally in support of reform
The AADA — along with more than 500 national and state physician specialty and medical organizations — also issued a joint letter to Congressional leadership calling on Congress to seize this opportunity, take advantage of the momentum to finally break the SGR status quo, and pass a long-term solution.

The AADA has also joined 18 specialty organizations in supporting www.repealsgr.org — an online tool for grassroots efforts to repeal the SGR. The site lists the cosponsors of HR 4015/ S 2000, and offers a call-in number to urge Congress to cosponsor the reform legislation.

Grassroots: Physicians hit the pavement
On March 5, AADA members participated in the AMA’s National Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C., as well as its Physician Call to Action Day, flooding the phone lines of members of Congress urging them to eliminate the SGR formula and end the threat of future Medicare payment cuts. The AADA is calling on all members to log on to the AADA Dermatology Advocacy Network and submit a letter urging Congress to repeal and replace the SGR, and preserve dermatologists’ ability to provide the full range of care and services their patients depend on them to provide.

Updated cost of Medicare payment reform
In addition to support from specialty organizations, 18 members of the House Doctors Caucus have sent a letter to Congressional leadership in support of SGR repeal with the conditions that any provisions to offset the cost of reform do not hinder physicians’ ability to deliver high-quality care to patients. The Congressional Budget Office released a new estimate that HR 4015/S 2000 would cost $138 billion over an 11-year budget window.

The AADA will continue to provide updates as information becomes available. For more information on Medicare payment reform, contact Shawn Friesen at sfriesen@aad.org.

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