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The sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula has drawn seemingly limitless criticism from cardiologists and other physicians, but it may have a silver lining of sorts. It has served as a persistent reminder that physicians or their representatives need to be involved in the shaping of legislation that affects reimbursement and patient care. To be effective, cardiology’s advocates must choreograph and execute a delicate dance between persuasion, politics and what could be seen as self-interest.
Turn the calendar back several years, to the time when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled what cardiologist M. Eugene Sherman, MD, likened to “ripping the guts out” of the specialty. Rule changes ranged from 10 percent to 40 percent phased-...