October 16, 2009 — For the past several years, cuts to Medicare reimbursement have been proposed in accordance with federal law, requiring Medicare payments to physicians to be modified annually using the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula.
The SGR ties Medicare payments to the national gross domestic product. Over the years, many have raised concerns with the problems associated with using this formula. Congress has taken note and has repeatedly voted to overturn proposed Medicare fee cuts.
As the healthcare reform debate continues, many have suggested ending the use of the SGR formula or making a permanent correction to the process for determining Medicare reimbursement rates. However, some legislators are now considering deferring the issue of correcting the physician payment problem to free up funds to address other issues associated with healthcare reform.
It is unclear whether a healthcare reform bill will address problems with Medicare payments, or if these issues will be addressed independently. ACA will continue to monitor this issue and work for a permanent fix to the Medicare payment system to ensure that doctors of chiropractic are appropriately reimbursed for the valuable services they provide their Medicare patients.
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Source: American Chiropractic Association, www.acatoday.org