Sustainable Growth Rate finally, amazingly, repealed
After 17 years of kicking the can down the road, both chambers of Congress finally passed, and President Obama signed, a bill to repeal the flawed sustainable growth rate formula (SGR) that is used to calculate physician reimbursement through Medicare.
In addition to preventing a 21% reimbursement cut to physicians, the bill extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and community health centers by two years, funds the National Health Service Corps, and will increase physician reimbursement by 0.5% in the second half of 2015 and by 0.5% each year from 2016 to 2019.
The repeal will cost around $214 billion over the next ten years (as compared to “only” $117-$138 billion a year ago), with $73 million of that offset by requiring high income beneficiaries to pay more for their care and by cutting reimbursement to hospitals and nursing homes.
More thoughts on JAMA breast pathology study
On March 23rd, I wrote an article about the poorly-conceived study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that found the study pathologists were only able to “correctly” diagnose breast biopsies about 75% of the time. Dr. Keith Kaplan over at The Digital Pathology Blog, and Dr. Michael Misialek also wrote very nice articles about the study.
The JAMA study was featured at the New York Times, National Public Radio (both over the radio and in print), PBS News Hour, the Seattle Times, a JAMA press release to the media, the Chicago Tribune, CBS Boston, the Breast Cancer Consortium, Medscape, and others. A reader sent me an email a week after the study was published that said, among other things, patients were already requesting a second opinion of their breast biopsies based on what they had seen/read about the study.
I was curious how the College of American Pathologists (CAP) responded, and found a statement critical of the study from CAP president Dr. Gene Herbek on the CAP website, a “CAPcast” featuring Dr. Jean Simpson, and a CAP-sponsored Twitter chat.