General Information

CHA Urges Members to Contact Representatives as Congress Continues SGR Negotiations

This week in Washington, D.C., members of a bicameral conference committee met to negotiate passage of a fix to the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which is set to cut physician payments by 27 percent on Feb. 29 if Congress does not act.

The focus of talks has been on finding offsetting provisions to pay for the cost of the fix. CHA remains concerned that hospital payments may be in jeopardy. Media reports have indicated that the conferees are considering using a three-year retrospective documentation and coding adjustment to pay for an extension of the Medicare physician payment fix. Reports also indicate Congress is considering nearly $7 billion in cuts to payments for hospital outpatient evaluation and management services in line with a Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recommendation that CHA strongly opposed in a letter sent Jan. 9.

Of further concern to hospitals is the President’s budget set to be released Feb. 13. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the budget will include reductions to hospital payments, potentially giving Democrats cover to support such cuts as Congress works to reduce the federal deficit.

CHA will continue to closely follow negotiations, and urges hospital leaders to continue to contact their congressional representatives to oppose cuts to hospital payments. While CHA fully supports eliminating planned reductions to Medicare physician payments, it should not be achieved through additional cuts to California hospitals.

For more information, see CHA Advocacy Alert at www.calhospital.org/hospitals-letter-congress-2012-february. For CHA’s letter opposing cuts to outpatient evaluation and management services, visit www.calhospital.org/medpac-outpatient-letter.

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