News | December 11, 2006

Congress Stops Physician Payment Cuts

A strong grassroots effort among physicians played a key role in staving off a Medicare physician payment cut that would have taken effect Jan. 1, 2007. Over the weekend, the House and Senate voted to eliminate the impending 5 percent payment slash — the legislation provides a zero percent update for 2007, as well as a 1.5 percent incentive payment to physicians who report on quality measures beginning July 1, 2007 through Dec. 31, 2007.

In a letter posted at ACC president and chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Steve Nissen states that “while the legislation does not reverse the drastic and arbitrary imaging cuts included in last year’s Deficit Reduction Act, the passage of this legislation allows many physicians to avoid dramatic payment reductions next year and buys the physician community needed time to work with lawmakers to find a permanent solution to the flawed physician payment formula.

“Our success would not have occurred without the help of everyone in the cardiovascular community who invested tremendous time and energy in ensuring that lawmakers made stopping the cuts a priority before the New Year.”

Dr. Nissen said that within the last month alone, more than 5,000 calls and emails were generated by ACC members to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“Congress is clearly hearing our message but our work is far from done,” Dr. Nissen continues. “Moving into 2007, we must continue our grassroots momentum. Over the next few weeks, I strongly urge each and every member of the cardiovascular community to take a few moments to thank lawmakers who voted for the payment fix. I also urge you to continue to engage your members of Congress and compel them to find a long-term solution to the payment problem.”

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