AUA, AACU press Congress for permanent SGR fix

March 7, 2012

The AUA and the American Association of Clinical Urologists have lost no time in pressing Congress for a better solution on Medicare physician reimbursement following passage of legislation to delay a 27% cut in payments for 10 months.

The AUA and the American Association of Clinical Urologists have lost no time in pressing Congress for a better solution on Medicare physician reimbursement following passage of legislation to delay a 27% cut in payments for 10 months.

Repeal of the sustainable growth rate and its replacement with a formula that pays physicians fairly was a top talking point when AUA and AACU members, at the Joint Advocacy Conference in Washington this week, fanned out across Capitol Hill to discuss urology-related policy issues with senators, representatives, and their staffs.

"While we are thankful that no cut will go into effect as of March 1, we are extremely disappointed in our elected officials, who have once again failed to correct the SGR," said AUA President Sushil S. Lacy, MD, in a statement. Dr. Lacy was referring to the Feb. 19 vote that extended Medicare and Medicaid payment provisions that were set to expire at the end of the month along with payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits.

"The AACU, along with our partners in the medical community, will continue to push for replacement of the SGR with a truly sustainable Medicare reimbursement formula," said AACU President Arthur Tarantino, MD.

Under the legislation, physicians will see no change in Medicare payments from 2011 through 2012 and when Congress revisits the issue, it must consider the findings from new mandated studies on bundled and episode-based payment models and on private sector initiatives that link physician payment to quality, efficiency, and care improvement.

In addition to seeking replacement of the SGR, during their day of congressional contacts the AUA and ACCU members addressed several other priorities: repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board that would have the authority to mandate payment cuts to physicians before other providers; protection of the Stark exception for in-office ancillary services; support of the PROSTATE Act to align current prostate cancer programs across multiple federal entities; creation of a national commission on urotrauma; rejection of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation on prostate cancer screening; and an increase in federal funding for urologic residency training programs.

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