Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013
This Week's News
This Week's News
HHS secretary: SGR fix needed to end uncertainty for physicians, patients
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (pictured at left) reiterated her support for eliminating Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula during a Tuesday address to hundreds of physicians attending the AMA National Advocacy Conference.
Sebelius' comments came during the second day of the three-day conference, which wrapped up today in Washington, D.C. She said the SGR formula must be repealed if the nation's health care system is to continue to evolve—a position the AMA continues to underscore.
"We remain committed to an SGR fix that will take America's doctors out of a permanent state of limbo," Sebelius said. "[T]emporary extensions are not good enough. We need to bring an end to constant uncertainty for doctors and patients."
Sebelius also pointed to the dozens of new payment and delivery models that are taking shape across the country as next steps in the health care system's evolution. She said physician leadership will continue to be key to improving the system for physicians and patients alike.
"Thoughtful planning is best," she said. "That's why I'm so grateful to the AMA for leading the way on care improvement."
Sebelius was one of several speakers to address physicians during the conference. Others included Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.; Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; R. Gil Kerlokowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; David Walker, founder and CEO of the Comeback American Initiative and a former U.S. comptroller general; and Chuck Todd, NBC News political director and chief White House correspondent.
The conference also featured panel discussions about graduate medical education and delivery and payment reform.
The event is a unique opportunity for physicians to advocate for the profession during visits with their members of Congress and to hear from political insiders and industry experts. Many met their lawmakers today, and more than 300 medical students visited their members of Congress on Monday as part of AMA Medical Student Advocacy Day.
"It's important for us to be here because … we really represent the patient and the doctor-patient relationship," said Robert Hughes, MD, a otolaryngologist in Gansevoort, N.Y. "No one else does that."
The conference also is a time to celebrate medicine's heroes, and Monday night the AMA Foundation honored this year's recipients of the Excellence in Medicine Awards. Presented in association with Pfizer Inc., the awards recognize those who exemplify the highest values of altruism, compassion, leadership and dedication to patient care.
Learn more about the conference, view presentations from select speakers and read coverage of the various sessions.