ACS warns that future Medicare cuts will further strain health care system; advocates shared savings model based on quality and value instead
NEWS FROM THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHICAGO (September 16, 2011): Yesterday, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) reviewed draft recommendations related to the flawed and unsustainable Medicare Physician Payment system. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is pleased that the MedPAC has recognized the need to eliminate the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and move towards a reimbursement system that is based on quality of care. Unfortunately, while the MedPAC recommendations being considered do eliminate the SGR, they fail to meet the goal of quality, and further jeopardize access to care. The recommendations do not value the role all physicians have in the continuum of care and would have a devastating impact on access to surgical care. Therefore, the American College of Surgeons is strongly opposed to this proposal, which specifically includes a 5.9 percent cut for most physicians each year for three years.
We do not believe that cuts are the answer. We believe that a replacement of the SGR needs to be created that leverages quality, bends the cost curve, pays down the SGR debt, and incentivizes value in the future. Over the next several years, the cost of caring for the frail and elderly will place an enormous strain on the country's health care resources. As a result, the ACS supports redesigning the delivery system to meet this critical demand by applying a shared savings model centered around quality and value incentivizing all physicians to adopt better practices.
The College strongly believes that physician-led quality improvement programs based on value are integral to reforming the SGR and offer the best chance of transforming our health care system in a way that expands access and improves outcomes. Quite simply, with the right approaches, improving quality leads to fewer complications, and that translates into lower costs, better outcomes and greater access for patients.
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About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 79,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit www.facs.org.
Cory Suzan Petty