The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was unable to reach a bipartisan deficit reduction agreement to trim $1.2 trillion over 10 years, leaving physicians up against a 27% cut in the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, scheduled for January 1, 2012.

"The failure of the deficit committee forces our nation to continue on an unsustainable path that puts current and future generations of Americans at risk for harsh consequences,” said Peter W. Carmel, MD, president, American Medical Association. "The AMA is deeply concerned that continued instability in the Medicare program, including the looming 27 percent cut scheduled for January 1, will force many physicians to limit the number of Medicare and TRICARE patients they can care for in their practices.”

Despite the setback, “Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress have publicly stated their commitment to take action this year to avert the 27 percent cut,” according to the AMA.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is encouraging members to contact their Representatives about the cuts. To support members’ efforts, the academy issued a template letter for members to employ when contacting their Representatives.