The Patient Access to Medicare Act was signed into law by President Obama on
April 1. The law, which is the most recent in a series known as the “Doc Fix,” temporarily adjusts the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula to prevent a 24 percent reduction in reimbursements to physicians. The law extends the 0.5 percent update, previously provided for Medicare services for the first quarter of 2014 through the remainder of the year.
During the last few months, health groups – including IDSA – coalesced around a policy proposal to permanently repeal the SGR and consolidate three existing federal programs to promote quality care. However, leaders in Congress proved unable to agree on funding reductions to offset the $138 billion proposal.
While the inability of Congress to pass a permanent repeal of the SGR is a disappointment, the new law was a step forward for diagnostics—a key IDSA priority area. The law seeks to improve reimbursement for diagnostics as advocated for by IDSA. The outcome demonstrates the importance of advocacy efforts like IDSA’s action alerts to the ID community and ultimately to patients.
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