The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has released the final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS). This doubles the 3.75 percent harmful cut to surgeons and surgical practice that will negatively impact patient access to care.
John K. Ratliff MD, American Association of Neurological Surgeons Washington Committee Chair, stated, “In the midst of the ongoing pandemic it’s crucial now more than ever to protect patients by stopping the cuts and working towards a long-term resolution to stabilize the healthcare system.” Due to COVID-19, patients have delayed vital preventative care such as cancer screenings. These cuts will delay further care for our seniors.”
Combining this 3.75 percent reduction with automatic Medicare cuts, it will reduce Medicare payments to surgeons by almost nine percent starting January 1, 2022. These cuts will continue to put pressure on the health care system across the country, as COVID-19 and hospitalizations have already caused Americans delay necessary care.
“Our patients trust us to give them the best care. But it’s becoming more clear that they don’t trust the system that’s supposed be there to support them,” stated David B. Hoyt MD, FACS, American College of Surgeons Executive director. “These Medicare cuts will only exacerbate the already-strained healthcare system due to pandemics and delay care for those who most need it.”
Representatives Ami Bera (D-Calif.), and Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.). Recently, a bipartisan letter was sent to Nancy Pelosi (D.Calif.) by Larry Bucshon (R.Ind.). It was signed by 247 U.S. citizens. Representatives, and 135 national medical organizations, to urge them to end these harmful cuts. The Surgical Care Coalition will continue to lobby Congress for protection of patients and the care that they require over the next few weeks.
CMS decided to implement policies that would further limit patient access to surgical care, despite hospital overcrowding and a shortage of health professionals, as well as a backlog of 5 million cases, and a fragile recovery after COVID-19. John H. Calhoon MD, First Vice President of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. “Our health system has already reached breaking point. We call on Congress to take action for the benefit of our patients.
George A. Williams MD, Senior Secretary for Advocacy, American Academy of Ophthalmology, stated that over the years, ophthalmologists have been faced with Medicare payment uncertainty and severe payment cuts. This has profoundly affected our ability run our practices and care patients. “The release of CMS’ final fee schedule for 2022 will, as expected, require Congress to intervene to stop this year’s payment cuts. We will continue to press Congress for long-term solutions to physician payment reform.
“We provide comprehensive care for a predominant elderly, sick, or vulnerable population as vascular surgeons,” stated Ali AbuRahma MD, President of the Society for Vascular Surgery. These cuts will put the most vulnerable patients at greatest risk of losing access to essential services and further strain an already fragile health care system.
Richard S. Hoffman MD, President of American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, stated that “in light of the pandemic’s negative impact upon medical practices, further cuts in physician reimbursement pose an unsustainable threat to patient access to care.” This is particularly true for patients who have sight-restoring cataract surgery. It is one of the most popular and commonly performed Medicare procedures.
These cuts to surgical care are harmful for patients because they limit resources and make it difficult for surgeons to be trained. These policies continue to reduce specialty care, which not only affects the doctor who provides it but also the patient,” stated Christopher A. Reeder D.O. FACOS FACS, FACOS, President American College of Osteopathic Surgeons. “Our patients should have access to high-quality surgical care so that they can get the care they need when they need it,” said Christopher A. Reeder, D.O., FACOS, FACS, American College of Osteopathic Surgeons President.