IDSA’s Physician Payment Toolkit Cuts is designed to help infectious diseases (ID) specialists and their patients better understand the problems with Medicare's physician payment formula, the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). Empowered with this information, individuals can talk to members of Congress about the urgent need to prevent a patient access crisis due to Medicare payment cuts.
The SGR is a cost control target that is designed to ensure that Medicare's annual spending growth on physician services does not exceed a certain percentage above the growth in the Gross Domestic Product. The SGR calls for physician payment increases when spending is less than the target while payment cuts result when spending exceeds the target.
Each year since 2003, Congress has intervened to stop payment cuts called for by the SGR but has not adjusted the baseline spending. This means that relatively small annual payment cuts have grown over the years due to the cumulative effect of the Congressional overrides, which in turn have increased the cost of fixing the problem. The latest Congressional action froze physician payments at their current levels through 2011 after which point physicians face the threat of a cumulative payment cut of 29.5 percent.
Below you will find additional information to assist you in understanding the issue as well as a link to IDSA’s Advocacy Center so that you may directly write your Congress members to urge them to fix the flawed physician payment formula once and for all.
Physician Payment Cuts: Q & A
Medicare Payments vs. Medical Practice Cost Inflation (graph)
Physician Payments Compared to Other Medicare Providers (graph)
Take Action! Write to Congress and ask them to stop payment cuts
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