Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013
Act now: Ask your lawmakers to advance SGR repeal work
Following the introduction of a bill to repeal Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula July 31, the August congressional recess is a critical time for physicians to encourage their lawmakers to reform the Medicare payment system in 2013.
The recess gives physicians an important opportunity to reach out to their members of Congress and encourage continued bipartisan legislative efforts, urge improvements to the bill and build momentum toward repeal of the SGR formula.
Physicians can take advantage of the AMA's new congressional recess action kit, which includes updated talking points and analysis of the current legislation, to communicate with their members of Congress. Steps physicians can take include:
- Review the latest talking points on issue developments in Congress.
- Contact lawmakers via the AMA Physician Grassroots Network, either by sending an email or calling through the grassroots hotline: (800) 833-6354.
- Schedule meetings with lawmakers while they are in their home states for the recess. View an archived AMA webinar for tips about setting up such appointments with members of Congress.
- Complete an AMA feedback form following these meetings.
Read more about legislative progress toward repealing the SGR formula and charting a new path for future physician delivery and payment models in a recent blog post by AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD.
How to protect yourself under the Sunshine Act
A new toolkit from the AMA can help physicians navigate the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which took effect Aug. 1.
As required under the newly implemented law, drug and medical device manufacturers began tracking their financial interactions with licensed physicians last week. This data will be reported to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for publication in an online database to go live next year.
The AMA's toolkit offers resources physicians need to promote the accuracy of the data reported about them, including:
- Top tips to ensure accurate reporting
- A free archived webinar
- A free mobile app for tracking financial interactions
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- Information about how to challenge false, inaccurate or misleading reports
The AMA also is developing tools to aid physicians in talking with their patients about the transactions included in the new Sunshine Act database and will continue to update the toolkit with helpful resources.