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Patient care under continued threat in proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule

By Admin | July 29, 2021

The proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for the calendar year 2022 (CY2022) released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) fails to address pending cuts to surgical care and therefore continues to threaten patient care by reaffirming these previously imposed misguided cuts, argues the Surgical Care Coalition. 

CMS is proposing to cut the Medicare conversion factor—the basic starting point for calculating Medicare payments—for CY2022 by 3.75%. This year's cut is reinstating the cut that Congress prevented last year, which further emphasizes the need for continued congressional intervention to protect patient care.

Updates to the conversion factor have failed to keep up with inflation. The result is that the conversion factor is only about 50% of what it would have been if it had been indexed to general inflation as it had been prior to 1998. 

"While CMS is taking notable strides to improve health equity and access to care, today's proposed rule maintains the cuts to surgical care that Congress stopped last year. These cuts harm the care patients need and deserve, which is the opposite of what CMS is trying to achieve," said David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, American College of Surgeons Executive Director. "Without congressional action, surgical care faces a significant payment cut and threatens patient access to critical treatments and procedures. All patients deserve a health care system that invests in surgical care and does not create uncertainty year after year."

"The Surgical Care Coalition stands ready to work with Congress to stop these devastating cuts and begin working toward a sustainable, long-term solution that protects patients without pitting doctors against each other," said John K. Ratliff, MD, American Association of Neurological Surgeon/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Washington Committee Chair.

"By acting to mitigate reimbursement cuts for surgical care, Congress acknowledged how misguided and devastating CMS's policies are to patients," said Alan M. Speir, MD, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Council on Health Policy and Relationships Chair. "Congress must intervene again to ensure that patients are able to access the lifesaving surgical care they need."

"CMS' proposed 2022 Medicare Fee Schedule has a huge effect on ophthalmology's ability to run a successful ophthalmology practice, which has one of the highest Medicare beneficiary bases," said George A. Williams, MD, American Academy of Ophthalmology Senior Secretary for Advocacy. "The Academy is proud to partner with the Surgical Care Coalition and will work over the next few months in an effort to ensure that the final version of the rule is...(More)

For more information please read, Patient care under continued threat in proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, by PRNewswire

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