How the SGR repeal law affects medical liability

AMA Wire
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The new law that repealed Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula does more than you might realize. One provision provides important medical liability protections.

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) has a variety of provisions, including payment and penalty changes and incentives for physicians who participate in alternative payment models. This second post in a series that examines what physicians need to know about the MACRA looks at a provision that prevents federal health care reform laws and regulations from being used as grounds for medical liability.

The MACRA incorporates the Standard of Care Protection Act, which prevents quality program standards and measures (such as the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) or the electronic health record meaningful use program) from being used as a standard of care in medical liability actions.

For example, a plaintiff won't be able to use the fact that a physician didn't earn an incentive under PQRS as the basis for a medical liability lawsuit.

“Physicians should not have to worry about potential new causes of action or liability exposure in an age of developing and implementing new ways to improve the quality and efficiencies of care,” the AMA said in a 2013 letter (log in) to Congress supporting the act.

Find more information about the AMA’s medical liability reform efforts.

Learn more about the MACRA, access FAQs (log in) about the new legislation and read the first post in this series at AMA Wire. Watch for future posts on the many facets of the MACRA and how they’ll affect how physicians practice in years to come.

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