ACCC on the Hill: Timing is Everything

by Amanda Patton, Manager, Communications, ACCC

photoMore than 50 ACCC members from 27 states were walking the halls of Congress on March 31 for ACCC’s Capitol Hill Day. With the Senate poised to vote on the SGR patch legislation, the timing was perfect for talking with elected officials about the need for a permanent fix to the sustainable growth rate.

Participants were scheduled for more than 100 visits with House and Senate offices throughout the day.

From first-time meeting attendees to veteran hill day participants, the consensus was that the time spent meeting with elected officials was well worth the effort.

The day was “extremely educational,” said new ACCC member Cindy Krasnecky, director of the cancer center at Harrington Memorial Hospital in Southbridge, Massachusetts. “I was impressed by the level of knowledge and experience of the [Hill] staffers.”

ACCC members focused on four main concerns in their conversations with Hill staff:

  • Finding a permanent solution to the flawed SGR formula
  • Passing oral parity legislation
  • Removing anti-cancer drugs from the Medicare sequester
  • Eliminating the prompt pay discount.

“It felt empowering to have your voice actually heard by someone setting policy,” said Angela Tambini of the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts.

Anecdotally, we heard frustration in many congressional offices over the status of SGR reform and disappointment with an inability to effect more sweeping change.

At the end of the day on Monday, the Senate passed a bill to extend Medicare physician pay rates through March 15, 2015. The legislation will also delay ICD-10 implementation until 2015.

According to BNA Bloomberg this marks the 17th time Congress has acted to prevent scheduled reimbursement cuts due to the SGR since the formula went into effect in 2002.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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