BREAKING: Senate, House Leaders Introduce SGR Replacement Bill | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

BREAKING: Senate, House Leaders Introduce SGR Replacement Bill

March 19, 2015
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints
Rep. Michael Burgess

Key leaders in the House and Senate have introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would permanently repeal the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and consolidate several government-based quality reporting programs, including meaningful use.

The proposed bill, which is said to be “nearly identical” to bills introduced in the House and Senate last year that were ultimately amended or referred to committee, would repeal the SGR and institute a 0.5 percent payment update each year for five years. The SGR has been permanently patched 17 times in 11 years. The latest version is set to expire on March 31st.

“As a doctor, I know first-hand just how destructive the SGR formula has been to America’s seniors and their providers. Finally, after unparalleled progress in recent years, both sides of the aisle have begun to understand that the long-term solvency of our Medicare system depends on taking this fight head-on together,” Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), who was one of the many Congressmen who introduced the bill, said in a statement.

The bill would also consolidate including the Meaningful Use, Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), and Medicare Value Modifier program. It establishes metrics that would push forward interoperability of electronic health record (EHR) systems. The proposed bill would also incentivize providers to adopt the use of alternative payment models to encourage better coordination of care. This is all under the establishment of a Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

The American College of Physicians approved the proposed bill. It sent out a statement shortly after it was introduced, praising House leaders for working together to develop it.

“Moreover, we are pleased that the bill is fiscally-responsible, by putting an end to the practice of Congress passing seemingly endless SGR “patches” that each time has cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars; 17 patches over the past 11 years that have neither achieved SGR repeal nor advanced real reform in physician payments,” David A. Fleming, M.D. President of the American College of Physicians (ACP) said in a statement.

Healthcare Informatics will have more on this story as it develops. The proposed bill can be found in its entirety here.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



ONC Roundup: Senior Leadership Changes Spark Questions

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has continued to experience changes within its upper leadership, leading some folks to again ponder what the health IT agency’s role will be moving forward.

Media Report: Walmart Hires Former Humana Executive to Run Health Unit

Reigniting speculation that Walmart and insurer Humana are exploring ways to forge a closer partnership, Walmart Inc. has hired a Humana veteran to run its health care business, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Value-Based Care Shift Has Halted, Study Finds

A new study of 451 physicians and health plan executives suggests that progress toward value-based care has stalled. In fact, it may have even taken a step backward over the past year, the research revealed.

Study: EHRs Tied with Lower Hospital Mortality, But Only After Systems Have Matured

Over the past decade, there has been significant national investment in electronic health record (EHR) systems at U.S. hospitals, which was expected to result in improved quality and efficiency of care. However, evidence linking EHR adoption to better care is mixed, according to medical researchers.

Nursing Notes Can Help Predict ICU Survival, Study Finds

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario have found that sentiments in healthcare providers’ nursing notes can be good indicators of whether intensive care unit (ICU) patients will survive.

Health Catalyst Completes Acquisition of HIE Technology Company Medicity

Salt Lake City-based Health Catalyst, a data analytics company, has completed its acquisition of Medicity, a developer of health information exchange (HIE) technology, and the deal adds data exchange capabilities to Health Catalyst’s data, analytics and decision support solutions.