New Commission to Examine Physician Payment Reform

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Former U.S. Senator Bill Frist will co-chair a new commission launched by The Society of General Internal Medicine this week to address issues related to physician reimbursement. Co-chairing the National Commission on Physician Payment Reform is Steven Schroeder, MD, former president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and professor of health and health care at the University of California, San Francisco. The commission plans to meet for a year to discuss the potential impacts by the national health reform law such as accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical homes and value-based purchasing with the hopes of bringing forward recommendations to Congress. The effort is a reaction to similar endeavors in recent years which have failed to reach agreement on a long term solution to Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate formula such as the Congressional Super Committee and recent conference report to postpone the SGR for another year. The medical community has grown increasingly frustrated with the way Congress continues to postpone addressing a permanent fix to the SGR as evidenced by statements from the American Medical Association as the American Hospital Association. As part of the compromise reached last month, negotiators paid for the so-called “doc-fix” in part by taking $9.6 billion from areas such as clinical laboratory services and Medicare “bad debt” payments to hospitals and nursing homes as well as $4 billion in Medicaid payments to hospitals. For more on the commission click here.