*New*AAO-HNS Submits Comments to CMMI on Innovative Specialty Payment Models
On April 10, the Health Policy team, with input from Ad Hoc Payment Model work group members, submitted comments to the CMS Innovation Center (CMMI) on policy considerations for the development of innovative payment models for specialty provider services furnished mainly as outpatient care for patients with specific medical conditions.
While there are several barriers to moving forward with exploration, including significant diversity within the specialty, limited access to data and resources, the Academy provided CMMI with several otolaryngology disease processes that have garnered some interest among the AAO-HNS physician leaders in possibly developing an episode of care or bundle. To view the letter, click here.
Congressional Committees Reach Agreement on SGR Repeal
On February 6, 2014, leaders from three Congressional committees released a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on legislation to permanently repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment formula and replace it with a new Medicare payment system that better incentivizes the delivery of high-quality, efficient healthcare. Visit the Academy's Government Affairs page for further details.
Budget Deal with SGR "Patch" Signed by President
On December 26, 2013, President Obama signed the two-year budget deal negotiated by U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). Included as an amendment to this bill was language to halt (for three months) the 20+percent cut in Medicare physician payments scheduled for January 1, 2014. Instead, physicians will receive a .5% positive increase during that time. This payment "bridge" is intended to avoid payment disruptions as Congress completes its work on permanent SGR repeal legislation in early 2014. The budget deal, including the SGR "bridge," was previously passed by the U.S. House of Representatives (332-94) and U.S. Senate (64-36) in mid-December.
AAO-HNS Comments on SGR Repeal Proposals
Congressional leaders identified repeal of the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula as a top legislative priority for 2013. Since then, Congressional committees with jurisdiction over Medicare policy have spent substantial time developing legislation that would repeal the flawed SGR formula and replace it with a new payment system that better incentivizes the delivery of high-quality, and efficient, healthcare. As an active participant in this process, the AAO-HNS submitted numerous formal comment letters highlighting the possible impact of various proposals on otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and offering suggestions for improving the legislative proposals.
On December 12, 2013, the House Ways & Means Committee unanimously (39-0) advanced an amended version of H.R. 2810. On the same day, the Senate Finance Committee passed a similar framework by a voice vote and followed their initial activity with the introduction of formal SGR-related legislative language on December 19, 2013.
The House Energy & Commerce Committee previously passed (51-0) H.R. 2810 on July 31, 2013.
View our December 10, 2013 letter to the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees outlining necessary changes to SGR repeal framework.
View our comments to the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees. (11/12/13)
Click here to access information about additional recent efforts and legislative activity.