TAMPA, Fla., July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The current Medicare payment system is irreparably flawed and a new, more permanent solution must be reached, the president of the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) told members of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.
"The current fee-for-service systems are based primarily on volumes of patients seen and numbers of procedures completed. This prevents America from achieving higher quality health care," Larry Riddles, MD, MBA, CPE, FACS, FACPE, testified during a subcommittee hearing on the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment system Tuesday.
"Any new reimbursement system must include compensation strategies for providing high-quality care," he added. "The desired endpoint should be timely, equitable access to high-quality health care that is physician-led and reimbursed fairly."
ACPE was one of six physician organizations invited by Chairman Wally Herger (R-CA), ranking member Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) and other members of the Subcommittee to comment on the SGR and the fiscal challenges it represents. The SGR was originally created by Congress to help keep the Medicare budget from growing faster than the economy as a whole, but it has frequently become the target of criticism as lawmakers are repeatedly forced to make short-term fixes.
Tuesday's hearing was third in a series held by the Subcommittee on Medicare payment reform. Members were seeking information on what physicians believe is meaningful to measure, what constitutes good patient care and the changes needed to improve their practice environment.
"ACPE is privileged to be a part of the national conversation on this important issue," said Peter Angood, MD, ACPE's CEO. "Our participation in the Subcommittee's efforts to reform Medicare physician reimbursement aligns well with ACPE's strategic goal to serve as the balanced voice for physician leadership in America."
ACPE emphasizes the need for a payment system that contains nine essential elements:
- Safe for all
ACPE also recommended creation of a new independent commission -- composed of physicians, health care providers, experts in finance and quality, business leaders and patient representatives -- to study the Medicare funding dilemma, analyze best practices and bring them to lawmakers for consideration.
For a copy of the written statement submitted to the Subcommittee, visit http://acpe.org/hwm.
For a photograph of Larry Riddles testifying, go to http://net.acpe.org/iimgs/news/riddles_crop.jpg
Bill Steiger, ACPE VP of Communication
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SOURCE American College of Physician Executives