Medicare Advocacy

Congress Patches SGR, Delays ICD-10

Congress has done it again. For the 17th time, lawmakers slapped yet another Band-Aid on Medicare to stave off a 24-percent physician payment cut under the fatally flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. It sets the next SGR cliff for April 1, 2015.

On March 27, the House of Representatives quickly passed HR 4302, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, on a voice vote with opposition from the American Medical Association and some other physician organizations. Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) appealed to his fellow senators to consider a permanent fix for the SGR to no avail. The Senate passed the bill the evening of March 31, narrowly averting the drastic physician pay cut set to take place April 1. Read more... 


CMS Releases Medicare Physician Payment Data

On Wednesday, April 9 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) gave the public unprecedented access to physician payments and charges for services and procedures provided to Medicare beneficiaries. The CMS online database contains information on more than 880,000 physicians and other health care professionals who collectively received $77 billion in Medicare Part B payments in 2012.

TMA President Stephen L. Brotherton fielded media calls Wednesday and told The Houston Chronicle, "There's way too little context being provided at this point to draw conclusions. I'm not saying any of the information is incorrect, but just looking at gross payments can be inflammatory and doesn't tell you what a doctor is really getting paid when all's said and done."

The data come from claims physicians submit to Medicare for payment. The data release includes:  

  • The number and type of health care services provided, 
  • Count of unique beneficiaries treated, Average submitted charges, and  
  • The average amount Medicare paid for those services.    

Read more…  


Texas Physicians Call on Congress to Fix Medicare Formula Now 
 Physician leaders from the Texas Medical Association are in Washington today to urge every member of the Texas congressional delegation to cosponsor landmark legislation that would strengthen Medicare by updating the program’s troubled payment system. Read More...  

New SGR Replacement Plan Unveiled
Once again, Texans in Congress are playing key roles in fixing our broken Medicare payment system. The latest joint proposal comes from the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee. Rep. Kevin Brady chairs the Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Health, and Sen. John Cornyn sits on the Senate Finance Committee and its Subcommittee on Health Care. (Action, Nov. 15, 2013)

Medicare Data Release Worries Medicine
The potential release of Medicare physician claims data to the public "can have unintentional, adverse consequences for patients, providers, and the health care system" if not done correctly, the Texas Medical Association, the American Medical Association, and other state medical societies warned federal officials in August. (Action, Sept. 4, 2013)  

SGR Death Throes? Congress Moves Closer to Medicare Pay Fix 
Congress appears closer than ever to replacing what both physicians and lawmakers agree is a broken Medicare physician payment system, as legislative proposals in the U.S. House and Senate take shape. While physicians welcome the attention – and the leadership of some Texas congressmen – they are not exactly holding their breath. (Texas Medicine, September 2013) 

AMA Analyzes Medicare Physician Fee Rule
The American Medical Association has prepared an eight-page analysis of the government's proposed 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. (Action, Aug. 16, 2013) 

Medicare Payments Frozen for Another Year
One day after the official deadline, the U.S. Congress yesterday stepped away from the so-called "fiscal cliff" and slapped another one-year patch on physicians' Medicare payments. (Action Special Issue, Jan. 2, 2013)  

TMA Advocacy

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    I agree and will put the poster in the waiting room of our clinic in AM. will send it to physicians in our email forum to do the same.

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    Stay away from AARP! I don't think we can count with their help.They are part of the problem with healthcare issues, instead of supporting their members.

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