ASNC to Testify in U.S. House Ways & Means Health Subcommittee Hearing
CLICK HERE to read the full testimony given by Dr. Kim Williams on behalf of ASNC at the U.S. House Ways & Means Health Subcommittee Hearing on May 7, 2013.
American Society of Nuclear Cardiology Will Testify in Tomorrow's U.S. House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Hearing
ASNC Past-President Dr. Kim Williams to Testify on Reforming the Medicare Physician Payment System and Sustainable Growth Rate Formula
Bethesda, MD -- May 6, 2013 -- For the first time, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) will be testifying on the Hill at tomorrow's U.S. House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing that will be examining options for repealing the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and reforming the Medicare physician payment system to reward quality and value in patient care. Kim Allan Williams, MD, ASNC Past-President and a current member of the Society's Health Policy Steering Committee, will be testifying as a witness in the hearing, which will take place tomorrow (Tuesday, May 7, 2013) beginning at 10:00 a.m. Dr. Williams currently serves as the Dorothy Susan Timmis Endowed Professor and Chairman of the Division of Cardiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine.
The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology is the leader in education, advocacy, and quality for the field of nuclear cardiology. ASNC is the voice of more than 4,600 physicians, technologists, and scientist worldwide who are dedicated to the science and practice of nuclear cardiology. Since 1993, ASNC has been establishing the standard for excellence in cardiovascular imaging through the development of clinical guidelines, professional education, and research development.
Tomorrow's Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing will focus on physician and other stakeholder input on how to best reform the Medicare physician payment system. Determining the details of such a system requires close collaboration with physicians and other stakeholders. The Subcommittee will hear from ASNC and other professional organizations representing those at the forefront of patient care to inform the development of a viable, enduring reform policy that will result in high-quality beneficiary care.
House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) has indicated that the Committee intends to introduce new legislation during the summer. According to Andrew McKinley, ASNC's Associate Director of Health Policy, "ASNC hopes the new legislation will encompass the points made by Dr. Williams during his testimony at tomorrow's hearing. Dr. Williams will stress the need for a period of stable, positive payment updates to assist physicians and CMS in their preparations for alternative payment models. Moreover, Dr. Williams will also urge the Committee to embrace flexibility and the provision of clear, timely, and actionable information as key variables in the success of alternative payment models."
Medicare currently reimburses the great majority of physicians on a fee-for-service (FFS) basis. While the physician fee schedule takes into account the work, time, and other costs that go into furnishing each service, it does not account for the quality and efficiency of the care provided. Further, the mechanism used to annually update fee schedule payments - the Sustainable Growth Rate (or SGR) formula, which limits spending growth to growth in the economy - does not recognize value or quality. There is broad acknowledgement of the shortcomings of the current payment system, including the disruptive role of the SGR and the need to incentivize high-quality, outcome-oriented care.
The Subcommittee held three hearings on improving the Medicare physician payment system in the 112th Congress. These hearings provided important information on private payer efforts to reward high quality, efficient care and physician organization programs to drive quality improvement and facilitate participation in new payment models. This information provided a framework for which a Medicare physician payment reform can be constructed. A dialogue with physician and other stakeholder organizations has continued in the 113th Congress, with the Subcommittee receiving constructive input. Ongoing engagement is needed to develop a viable replacement payment policy.
In announcing the hearing, House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) stated that, "Reforming Medicare and eliminating the unworkable SGR formula is necessary to ensure our seniors have access to a strong Medicare program. This year we have an opportunity to repeal the SGR, provide predictability for physicians and ensure seniors can see their local doctors. While the timing is ripe for action, we need to be sure we get the policy right. My hope is that we can put the days of kicking the SGR can down the road behind us. This hearing will enable the Subcommittee to hear from stakeholders with experience and ideas on how to craft a policy that is fair, reliable, and fiscally responsible."
Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Web site at: http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov.
About the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology
The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) is the leader in education, advocacy, and quality for the field of nuclear cardiology. ASNC is the voice of more than 4,600 physicians, technologists, and scientists worldwide who are dedicated to the science and practice of nuclear cardiology. Since 1993, ASNC has been establishing the standard for excellence in cardiovascular imaging through the development of clinical guidelines, professional education, and research development. To learn more about ASNC, visit www.asnc.org.