By Frank Lewis
U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) this week opposed a temporary delay to looming Medicare physician payment cuts and instead called for a permanent solution for the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).
“We cannot continue to kick the can down the road on something as important as reimbursements that affect access to care for Medicare beneficiaries,” Portman said. “Medicare is a critically important program that millions of Americans rely on and that’s why I support a permanent, paid for solution for SGR that improves the payment model to enhance quality of care. That is why I voted in the Finance Committee for a permanent solution that included important reforms to focus on outcomes rather than volume. Such an approach improves quality of care and gives patients and doctors the certainty they need and deserve.”
Portman is the author of the Medicare Better Health Rewards program; an entirely voluntary program he said is designed to help motivate Medicare beneficiaries to get and stay healthy by providing financial incentives for reaching achievable goals set with their physicians. Portman said it is the first proposal to offer Medicare enrollees financial rewards for reaching health care goals. The rewards would be paid entirely from savings generated by seniors getting healthy and needing fewer health care services.
“We are pleased that the Senate and House of Representatives have moved to stave off cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates,” Randy Arnett, CEO of Southern Ohio Medical Center, said. “However, we are supportive of efforts to replace the annual, temporary fixes with a sustainable and permanent solution. Such a solution would remove uncertainty and be welcome news for hospitals, physicians and patients. We encourage our elected leaders to continue working towards this goal and thank those who have already made it a priority.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.