KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

House GOP Seeks To Change Medicare Doctor Payment Formula

The chairmen of the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees want a permanent change to the current system that repeatedly threatens to cut doctor payments unless Congress steps in.

Medpage Today: Bill Near To Repeal SGR?
House Republicans are launching a renewed effort to repeal Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) reimbursement formula, reaching out to Democrats and the medical community in favor of replacing yearly "fixes" with a permanent change in the system. Repealing and replacing the SGR is a priority for the law's two authorizing committees in the House -- the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, an Energy and Commerce aide said Thursday. In a sign of how important this issue is, the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommitee's first hearing this year will be on the SGR. It's slated for Feb. 14, although a witness list hasn't yet been finalized (Pittman, 2/7).

Meanwhile, a hospice in San Diego faces financial difficulties after Medicare officials questioned whether it was adhering to their rules.

Kaiser Health News: San Diego Hospice Files For Bankruptcy
Hobbled by a federal investigation into its practice of treating patients who had more than six months left to live, one of the biggest hospices in the country has filed for bankruptcy as it tries to continue operating. A local hospital chain is heeding San Diego Hospice's plea for help, however, and promising to provide services for as many patients as need it (Dotinga, 2/7).

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