Volume 15, No 40
Dec. 2, 2013
COALITION TO CONGRESS: NO MORE SGR PATCHES: As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officially announced the 24-percent cut in physician’s Medicare payment rates for 2014, the Coalition of State Medical Societies sent the following strongly worded message to Congress. Please contact Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and your representative (contact information) today. Share your personal story of what a decade of threatened cuts has meant to your practice. Let them know: No more patches.
The Coalition of State Medical Societies — representing nearly 160,000 members in nine states — calls on you to take immediate action to work together to repeal Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula immediately. Another patch, another “doc fix,” is not acceptable.
Ladies and gentlemen, the track record for Congress is not very good. For 12 years, physicians have toiled under the SGR, which everyone knows is broken. Physician practices have been subject to short-term patches each year, crippling their ability to plan for the future, even making them wonder if they’ll be solvent for the current year. The decision to further delay only exacerbates the fiscal albatross around the necks of America’s physicians and the Medicare patients we serve.
The vast majority of you say the SGR needs to be permanently fixed. Let’s do it.
Now is time for action. Congress and America’s physicians have an outstanding opportunity to end the SGR fiasco now. It’s time for us, for you, to be proactive rather than reactive.
- The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a conceptual markup of the bicameral, bipartisan SGR repeal bill for December 12.
- Chairman Brady and the House Ways and Means Committee are set to move quickly thereafter.
Repeal the Medicare SGR formula immediately. Another patch is not acceptable.
MEDICINE'S POLITICAL SEASON OFFICIALLY OPENS THIS WEEKEND: Two days jammed full of politics, endorsements, candidates, education, and excitement mark the 2013 TMA Advocacy Retreat at the Barton Creek Resort in Austin. Hot breakout sessions include Putting on an Effective Fundraiser, First Tuesdays in the District, and Running for Office Yourself. Our noon luncheon Saturday honors those state lawmakers who stood the tallest for patients and physicians during the 2013 Texas Legislature. We’re excited about the TEXPAC Forums, where six of the seven candidates in the two most hotly contested statewide Republican primary races will share their views on medicine’s most important issues. Here’s who has lined up to speak:
- For lieutenant governor: The incumbent, David Dewhurst; Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson; and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) would not respond to our invitation.
- For attorney general: State Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas), State Sen. Ken Paxton (R-McKinney), and Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman.
Registration is still open. Contact TEXPAC or La’Shauna Maxwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 370-1453 with any last-minute questions. I hope to see you there.
THURSDAY NOON WEBCAST TAKES ON MARKETPLACE MADNESS: Confused by all you’ve heard about the Affordable Care Act marketplace insurance plans? Do you know whether you’re in — or out — of the narrow networks? How will you tell if a patient is on an exchange plan? What happens to you if patients don’t make their premium payments? What, if anything, can you do about all of this? Registration is open for our live noon-time webcast, Thursday, Dec. 5, on how the new marketplace health plans will play out in your practice.
SAYING GOODBYE TO TWO SPECIAL FRIENDS: The Texas family of medicine lost two outstanding members over the past week. Maureen Priestner, the TMA Alliance dynamo and TEXPAC wonder lady from Abilene, left us after a long battle with cancer. Visiting hours are Tuesday and services are Wednesday for “Maureen from Abilene.” We don’t have any funeral details yet for services remembering Will “Tex” Bradley, MD. The Mansfield neurologist and past president of the Tarrant County Medical Society died far too young over the weekend. We send our deepest sympathies to Vince Priestner, MD; Baranda Bradley; and their families and friends.