American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Consumers

Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) Bill Signed Into Law by President Obama

President Obama signed H.R.2, the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act, into law on Friday, April 17, 2015.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is disappointed by Congress' approach to "fixing" the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and is greatly concerned about the impact H.R.2 will have on patient care. ASPS maintains its conviction that the Act is not in the best interest of patients, access to care, nor the quality of patient care delivered by all medical specialties.

ASPS is committed to voicing our concerns throughout the regulatory process, where we hope to make improvements that are in the best interest of our physicians and our patients. We will work to ensure that plastic surgery practices remain open and viable for the communities they serve.

H.R.2, which was advanced as the solution to the sustainable growth-rate formula, contains a new payment system that will eventually result in lower Medicare payments to physicians compared to keeping the SGR formula in place, according to a CMS report released Thursday, April 9, 2015, by the Office of the Actuary.

Additionally, the Act

  • Provides statutory updates that do not keep pace with rising medical practice costs;
  • Creates a flawed quality and performance improvement system;
  • Mandates overly-broad utilization and physician payment disclosure without appropriate context; and
  • Requires physicians to choose quality and performance improvement methods that are often not applicable to their specialty.

On Tuesday, April 14 the Senate passed H.R.2 in a bipartisan vote of 92 to 8. The House of Representatives had previously passed identical legislation, 392 to 37, on March 26.

Medicare will immediately process claims for services provided in April 2015 at the preexisting rates prior to the April 1 SGR deadline. Per H.R.2, the fee conversion factor will increase by 0.5 percent on July 1, 2015 and will increase by another 0.5 percent on January 1, 2016.