AANA Applauds U.S. House, Administration for Supporting Permanent Repeal of Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) Formula

  • Mar 27, 2015

For Immediate Release:  March 27, 2015
For More Information Contact:  infor@aanadc.com

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for its decisive, bipartisan vote on March 26 to repeal the flawed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, and encourages the Senate to follow suit when it takes up consideration of the bill the week of April 13.
 
The SGR, which Medicare uses to annually update payment for Medicare services provided by Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), physicians, and other healthcare professionals, has for years threatened to penalize these providers with payment cuts of 20 percent or more, requiring Congress to take short-term preventative measures on a regular basis. With its vote, the House approved the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act (HR 2), which replaces the current SGR formula and eliminates the risk of payment cuts for healthcare professionals that could directly impact access to care for Medicare patients. The bill now awaits action by the Senate before it can be sent to the President to be signed into law. The Administration has indicated its support for the bill.
 
The AANA has long been involved with efforts to permanently dismantle the harmful cycle of SGR cuts, helping to temporarily avert possible cuts 17 different times since Congress passed the SGR into law in 1997 as part of the Balanced Budget Act.  In recent attempts, the AANA and other advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) groups have stressed the importance of equal treatment for APRNs and physicians in the evaluation of quality measures and incentive reimbursement programs, and in the application of alternative payment models.
 
The proposed Merit-Based Incentive Payment System and Alternative Payment Model payment structures ensure a 5-year period of stable annual updates of 0.5 percent to transition to a new system.  This new structure will greatly impact the nation’s frontline healthcare providers, including 340,000 APRNs who make up the APRN Workgroup, and will move Medicare away from a volume-based payment system toward a more patient-centered focus of rewarding healthcare providers for the value and quality of services rendered.   
 
The AANA congratulates Congress for its ongoing efforts to repeal the SGR formula, and looks forward to continuing work to enhance the country’s healthcare delivery system, ensuring that all patients have access to safe, cost-effective anesthesia care.  

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