State oncology societies join ASCO in calling on Congress to use this unprecedented momentum for SGR repeal to achieve real Medicare reform.
—James N. Frame, MD, FACP
In a show of solidarity, state oncology societies from across the United States joined ASCO in its call on Congress to repeal Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula before the current payment patch expires.
In a letter to U.S. House and Senate leadership, 48 signatories, representing tens of thousands of oncology professionals, expressed support for the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2015. This legislation, introduced in Congress on March 19, 2015, and passed by the House of Representatives on March 26, seeks to end the cycle of unpredictable patches that have created uncertainty for millions of Medicare providers and beneficiaries for more than a decade.
“Medicare’s outdated and inadequate system for reimbursing physicians is a threat to cancer care across the country,” said ASCO CEO Allen S. Lichter, MD, FASCO. “This show of unity should further encourage Congress to act now on replacing the SGR formula for one that reflects the current state of medical care.”
The oncology community has long advocated for the repeal of this formula, and the adoption of a more reliable payment system that reflects the reality and cost of today’s oncology practice. The “SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2015” mirrors 2014’s legislation that would have repealed the formula, and included incentives for physicians to participate in alternative payment models and clinical improvement activities, while also rewarding value-based quality care.
“If we do not act, Congress will have to pass another payment patch that will cost billions more dollars, and create additional instability in cancer care,” said James N. Frame, MD, FACP, Chair of the ASCO State Affiliate Council. “State oncology societies join ASCO in calling on Congress to use this unprecedented momentum for SGR repeal to achieve real Medicare reform.”
Individuals can contact their lawmakers regarding SGR Repeal and learn more about SGR at http://www.asco.org/advocacy/permanently-repeal-sgr-now. ■