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September 2011
Policy and Advocacy
IDSA Urges Fix to Flawed Medicare Physician Payment Formula

Of all the changes in Medicare’s 2012 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule, the one posing the most immediate challenge to ID physicians is the steep payment cuts called for by the flawed Medicare physician payment formula. In an Aug. 30 comment letter (PDF), IDSA once again urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to work with Congress to fix the Sustainable Growth Rate payment formula, which—if not addressed—will result in a 29.5 percent payment cut for all physicians starting in 2012.

Earlier this month, IDSA, the American Medical Association, every state medical society, and 64 other medical specialty societies called on the special congressional committee tasked with identifying $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction to reform the flawed physician payment formula. The groups’ letter is available online (PDF).

In comments on the CMS proposed rule, IDSA also addressed proposed changes to the Physician Quality Reporting Rule System, the Physician Compare website, and plans to implement a Value-Based Payment Modifier, which will pay physicians differently based on the risk-adjusted cost and quality of their care compared to their peers. In addition, IDSA highlighted problems caused by Medicare’s lack of coverage for home infusion therapy services and the decision not to cover all preventive vaccines under Part B.

In other advocacy news:

  • In a separate letter (PDF), IDSA urged the congressional committee on deficit reduction to use a balanced approach, incorporating both spending reductions and revenue generation, that also protects the nation’s health. The Society recommended against rigid spending caps that force across-the-board cuts that eliminate the opportunity to consider priorities and urged the committee to consider programs protecting public health, biomedical research, and vulnerable populations as targets of last resort when evaluating spending cuts.
  • IDSA and other medical and public health organizations highlighted the scientific evidence illustrating the threat to human health posed by the misuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture in a September letter (PDF) to Congress. The Society and the other organizations called on the Food and Drug Administration and lawmakers to act more boldly and urgently to protect antibiotics vital to human health.
  • IDSA supported the reauthorization of the Pandemic All-Hazard Preparedness Act of 2006 and the Project Bioshield Special Reserve Fund in a letter (PDF) to Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. IDSA also addressed the development of antibiotics and related diagnostics, urging that the legislation include an Independent Strategic Investment Firm, improved accountability and coordination of federal antibiotic resistance activities, and the establishment of an Infectious Disease Clinical Specimen Repository.

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