House Approves SGR Deal With Major Health IT Provisions

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In March 2015, "the House approved legislation that would permanently replace the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and could bolster the use of health IT"[1], reports Tahir in Modern Healthcare.

The House voted 392-37 to pass the measure[2]. However, Senate Republican and Democratic leaders early Friday said that they would not consider the measure until they return from recess on April 13[3].


This article ([4]) points out that Congress last year approved a short-term delay to Medicare physician reimbursement rates (a 21% reduction in Medicare reimbursement rates unless Congress acts by April 1, 2015.). however, the lawmakers introduced the bipartisan legislation to replace the SGR last week (iHealthBeat, 3/20).The legislation, according to this article, includes several health IT provisions in the areas of interoperability, meaningful use and other health IT, all of which are summarized below.In addition, the article points out that the bill would require eligible professionals to not only demonstrate that they have not restricted interoperability of the certified EHR technology but encourage them to use EHR even if they’re not eligible for meaningful use program incentives.


Summary of Interoperability Provisions include widespread exchange of health information through interoperable EHR technology nationwide by December 31, 2018. (health data management, 03/20).

Summary of Meaningful Use Provisions include A single value based payment reporting system (a consolidation of several incentive programs including meaningful use program) and also sunset meaningful use penalties and replace them with payment adjustments (4% minimum penalty or bonus in 2019 to 9% minimum penalty or bonus in 2022).

Summary of Other Health IT Provisions include Incentivization of telehealth services and remote patient monitoring by including them as clinical practice improvement activities (iHealthBeat, 3/20).


It is clear that the federal government is doing everything in its power to get various health care systems certified and working together. There is a willingness on the federal government's part to commit funds and oversight when necessary and a willingness to impose penalties to make it happen.


  2. Steinhauer, Pair. "House Approves Bill on Changes to Medicare", 2015-03-27. New York Times.
  3. Lawder. "Senate delays vote on Medicare payment fix for two weeks", 2015-03-27. Reuters.