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Pete Sessions Asks for Delay in “Doc Fix” Rule; Not Enough, States the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)

/EIN News/ -- TUCSON, Ariz., Aug. 29, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Representative Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) is drafting a letter addressed to CMS acting administrator Andy Slavitt asking for a one-year delay in rules implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which makes sweeping changes in the way physicians will be paid under Medicare. The rules are slated to take effect in January 2017. In response, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) issued the following statement:

“We appreciate Rep. Sessions’s concerns for the enormous burdens that the new payment system places on independent practices. He notes that 87 percent of solo practitioners will likely face a pay cut at the same time that their administrative overhead soars. Many will close their doors, merge with a large practice, or become hospital employees.

“We do not, however, think that delay, stakeholder meetings, and forums will fix the problems, which are inherent in the flawed legislation passed by Congress. MACRA is intent on making a radical change in medical practice and the patient-physician relationship. Physicians are to be paid for collecting and reporting gigabytes of data, performing tasks as dictated by protocol, and denying services needed by patients. For doctors, putting patients first will be a prescription for bankruptcy. Ethical physicians would have to withdraw from the system to avoid this conflict-of-interest situation.

“As a minimum first step, Congress should give all physicians a choice between the new system, with its promise of possibly increased pay, and the system it replaced, the sustained growth rate (SGR) reimbursement cuts.

“Congress should also restore a free market in pricing for nonparticipating physicians on unassigned claims. Physicians and patients would determine the fee, and Medicare would reimburse the patient at the rate determined under the SGR system. This would allow supply and demand to come into balance while not depriving patients of their Medicare benefits, which they must forgo when seeing an opted-out physician. Such a system would constitute payment for value, with value determined by patients rather than by government bureaucrats.”

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in virtually all specialties and every state. Founded in 1943, AAPS has the motto “omnia pro aegroto,” which means “all for the patient.”

Contact: Jane M. Orient, M.D., (520) 323-3110,