NNECOS Alert: March 31st SGR Deadline is Upon Us: Contact Your Senators Now

30 Mar 2014 6:52 PM | Lori Aubrey (Administrator)
March 31 SGR Deadline is Upon Us: Contact Your Senators Now

Please contact your Senators and urge them to work immediately with their colleagues to advance legislation to repeal, not patch, the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula used to set Medicare physician payments.

A 23.7% Medicare physician payment cut is scheduled to take effect on Tuesday, April 1. Tremendous progress has been made over the past year to repeal SGR through the bipartisan, bicameral SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4015/S.2000), which ASCO has endorsed. Unfortunately, partisan politics over how to cover the cost of repeal has stalled this bill. It's time for Congress to seize this bipartisan opportunity and repeal SGR!

The situation in Congress is changing rapidly. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a year-long SGR patch, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (H.R. 4302). The patch would provide a .5% update through the end of 2014 and a .0% update for the first three months of 2015. It also includes a one-year delay to the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets. It pays for the patch with provider payment cuts, including cuts to payments for diagnostic laboratory tests, advanced imaging, and "misvalued" codes under the physician fee schedule.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on H.R. 4302 Monday evening. ASCO continues to urge Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to repeal, not patch, the SGR.

Congress needs to get back to work in the same bipartisan and bicameral spirit that created H.R. 4015/S. 2000 and identify a viable way to pay for repealing SGR. Annual short-term patches have led to a great amount of uncertainty and created significant challenges to maintaining a viable oncology practice.

Please take time to contact your Senators on this important issue.

Meanwhile, given the status of the SGR on Capitol Hill, CMS has put out a notice that it has instructed the Medicare Administrative Contractors to hold claims with dates of service of April 1 and later for the first 10 business days of April (i.e., through April 14, 2014). CMS said this should have minimal impact on provider cash flow, because under current law, clean electronic claims are not paid any sooner than 14 calendar days after the date of receipt.

ASCO will keep you updated on developments. Visit ASCO in Action for the latest information. 



Northern New England Clinical Oncology Society
P.O. Box 643
Sandown, NH 03873-0643
Telephone (603) 887-1948

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