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Chairman Herger Announces Hearing on Physician Organization Efforts to Promote High Quality Care and Implications for Medicare Physician Payment Reform
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Wally Herger (R-CA) today announced that the Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing to explore physician organization efforts to promote high quality patient care. Understanding these initiatives will inform the Subcommittee as it continues to examine how to reform the Medicare physician payment system. The Subcommittee will hear from organizations representing the physicians who are at the forefront of patient care and therefore most knowledgeable about what may be needed to optimize care for Medicare quality and beneficiary health outcomes. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 10:00 A.M.
In view of the limited time available to hear from witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing. A list of witnesses will follow.
Medicare currently reimburses nearly every physician on a fee-for-service (FFS) basis. While the physician fee schedule generally takes into account the work, time, and effort associated with each service, it does not account for the quality and efficiency of the care provided. Furthermore, the mechanism used to annually update the fee schedule—the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula—limits spending growth to growth in the economy but does not recognize value or quality. There is broad acknowledgement of the shortcomings of the current payment system, including the disruptive role of the SGR, and the growing importance of incentivizing patient-centered, high-quality, and outcomes-oriented care.
Physician organizations generally support the notion of incorporating quality, efficiency, and patient outcomes into the Medicare physician payment system. Many physician organizations, especially those representing the various specialty disciplines, are involved in a range of activities that increase the likelihood that these aims can be accomplished in a meaningful way. Examples of these physician-led activities include establishing evidence-based guidelines for treating common conditions, using information on actual patient encounters to measure health outcomes, and helping physicians organize their practices to be more responsive to patient needs.
In this third in a series of hearings on Medicare physician payment reform, the Subcommittee will learn more about physician-led quality initiatives such as those described above. In previous hearings, the Subcommittee heard about innovative private sector delivery models and payment reform initiatives payers are using to reward high quality and efficient care. Specialty-specific initiatives designed to support practices that are testing different payment models in the private sector can also provide a foundation from which to reform Medicare FFS payments. Recognizing that physician input is key to successfully incorporating quality and efficiency, the Subcommittee seeks to understand what physicians believe is meaningful to measure, what constitutes good practice in the care of patients, and what changes are needed to improve their practice environment.
In announcing the hearing, Chairman Herger stated “The Subcommittee is committed to reforming the Medicare payment system so that it brings more value to beneficiaries while remaining viable for physicians. I am pleased that many organizations representing different physician specialties are far along in establishing quality improvement programs including measures of quality that are important to beneficiaries and fair to physicians. Understanding what physicians have already accomplished in this area, what is underway, and what is on the near horizon will be helpful as we explore how to ensure the Medicare physician payment system incentivizes and rewards the care that results in optimal beneficiary outcomes.”
FOCUS OF THE HEARING:
The hearing will focus on how physician organization efforts to promote quality and efficiency can inform Medicare physician payment reform.
DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:
Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, http://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.” Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.” Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. ATTACH your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Wednesday, August 8, 2012. Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.
The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee. The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines. Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below. Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.
2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased. All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears. A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.
The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested). Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.
Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.