31 March 2014

AADA disappointed by Congressional action on SGR

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 31, 2014) —
Statement from Brett M. Coldiron, MD, FAAD
President, American Academy of Dermatology Association
The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have averted a 24 percent cut in Medicare physician payments by agreeing to a one-year short-term measure (HR 4302) to maintain current Medicare payment rates through March 31, 2015. Consequently, Congress has stalled progress on the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014, HR 4015/S 2000.The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) is disappointed that Congress could not build on the bipartisan progress of the past year and finalize a permanent solution to Medicare payment reform and repeal Medicare’s flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula once and for all.

The AADA, along with the American Medical Association and other specialty organizations, opposed this legislation as it includes a troublesome provision to pay for the reprieve by implementing cost-savings proposals that were included in the bipartisan, bicameral policy framework set forth in HR 4015 and S 2000. Prior to the bill’s passage, 83 physician organizations, including the AADA, the American College of Mohs Surgery, and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association, sent a letter to the House of Representatives stating that these provisions would undermine the possibility for future passage of payment reform and add to the instability that now impedes the development and adoption of health care delivery and payment innovations that can strengthen the Medicare program.

Congress took unprecedented action this year to reform the Medicare physician payment system through HR 4015/S 2000. However, dermatologists are discouraged that Congress has missed another opportunity to permanently repeal the SGR and provide the stability that is required to ensure Medicare patients' access to care. It is now more important than ever to ensure that patients who are struggling financially have access to affordable, quality care.

While it had been our hope that Congress would enact reform before April 1, the AADA remains committed to working with Congress to finalizing and enacting a long-term solution that repeals the flawed SGR formula and does not adversely affect patient care. Together, we must reform Medicare’s physician payment system to create a stable one that protects Medicare’s patients, pays physicians fairly, and improves quality and efficiency.