Well, the government is back in business — time to renew and re-engage with politics in the 113th Congress and radiology.
As you may know, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has passed a Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) proposal. Within the proposal is language addressing Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction (MPPR) and Clinical Decision Support (CDS). The U.S. Health and Human Services secretary would be required to present the data used to justify MPPR reductions (we cannot find any). CDS impact would be required to be studied. Significantly, radiology was the only specialty to get language in the proposal thanks to the hard work of our government relations team at the American College of Radiology. This represents a huge win for us. The next goal is to get the other two committees of jurisdiction, the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees, to improve and adopt the language.
Even if we are successful in including our legislative priorities in Committee language, the politics of SGR are dynamic. In the beginning of the year there was considerable momentum to pass a reform bill given that the U.S. Government Accountability Office scoring was a relatively low $138 billion. The score has subsequently been revised slightly upward. With all the other Washington distractions, the SGR momentum may be losing some steam so it is unclear if we will see a reform bill or a last minute fix to avoid another SGR cliff looming in January 2014. Stay tuned!
Author – Howard B. Fleishon, M.D., MMM, FACR