WASHINGTON, April 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) today applauded passage of legislation in the Senate to permanently replace the flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a payment system that rewards quality, efficiency and innovation (H.R.2).
ACEP's president, Michael Gerardi, MD, FACEP, thanked Congressional leaders in both the House and Senate for their leadership in securing passage of this historic legislation, which ends a 13-year annual bandage approach to preventing steep financial cuts to Medicare physician payments.
"ACEP has long advocated for an end to the fiscally irresponsible cycle of annual short-term patches --and at long last, Congress has achieved it. This legislation will stabilize America's Medicare system and protect access to medical care by Medicare patients, including the 78 million baby boomers who will enroll over the next few years.
"This new system is essential to emergency departments. Elderly patients are more likely to need emergency care than any other age group, and the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population is people over 85 years of age. It represents a signficant accomplishment for all the emergency physicians who actively made their voices heard in Congress.
"The legislation also extends the Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides affordable health care insurance for children in low-income families. This two-year extension is crucial to ensuring that our youngest and most vulnerable patients have access to health care.
"As president of ACEP, I want to thank the thousands of ACEP emergency physicians who over many years responded to our grassroots alerts, came to Washington, D.C., and made thousands of Hill visits. Thanks also to the staff of ACEP's public affairs office in Washington. Without their collective efforts, this tremendous achievement might not have been realized."
ACEP, along with 700 other medical groups, sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner on March 16th urging him to repeal the SGR and enact the current legislation into law.
The SGR formula was adopted by Congress in 1997 to limit overall Medicare expenditures for physician (and other practitioner) services resulting from growth in the volume of those services. Temporary fixes to the SGR were required 17 times since the first reductions in physicians' Medicare payments began in 2002.
ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services. Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.