This is, however, one of those silver linings with a dark cloud around it, because each time the cut is put off—and Congress has done so annually for more than a dozen years—the size of the cut increases. Unless there is another postponement, January's average cut jumps to 32 percent. The physician fee adjustments, which usually involve cuts, are mandated by the complex formula known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) in which increases in the costs in one or more parts of the Medicare program must be offset by cuts elsewhere in its budget. APA and the AMA have for years urged Congress to throw out the SGR and develop a new, fairer system for setting Medicare reimbursements, but with such a daunting task, lawmakers have found it easier to just vote another postponement.
Read more about the SGR and physician Medicare fees in Psychiatric News here and here.