The Most Important Bill of 2009 for Anesthesia Providers

The U.S. House of Representatives will soon consider H.R. 3961, the “Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009.”  This important legislation would permanently repeal the unworkable Sustainable Growth Rate formula (SGR) and create a path for future positive updates. Without SGR reform this year, anesthesiologists and all other physicians face a 21 in Medicare payment cut beginning Jan. 1, 2010, with additional cuts projected in future years.  H.R. 3961 would eliminate such SGR reductions to Medicare physician payments.

Instead, H.R. 3961 would create a new physician payment formula with two buckets that would:

  • Allow the volume of most services to grow at the rate of GDP plus 1 percentage point per year
  • Allow the volume of primary and preventive care services to grow at GDP plus 2 percent per year

The bill would also remove drugs and laboratory services not paid directly to practitioners from spending targets.  The Medicare update for 2010 would be set at MEI. Leadership has indicated that the U.S. House of Representatives will vote next week on H.R. 3961.  Now is the time to call and make sure your representatives will vote yes on H.R. 3961.

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