Act Now: Help Protect Patient Access to Medicare Services

On Jan. 1, 2022, physician practices face an array of significant reductions due to a series of statutory and regulatory cuts. These potential reductions exacerbate financial uncertainty and further threaten patient care at a time when cardiovascular clinicians are still on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and have seen many patients forgo or delay non-COVID care over the past 18 months.

Act Now: Help Protect Patient Access to Medicare Services

Individually, each of the following reductions would be painful; taken together, they would be devastating.

  • Expiration of the current reprieve from the 2% Medicare sequester created by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which now is expected to continue into 2031, despite being originally slated for sunset in 2021.
  • Imposition of a 4% Statutory PAYGO sequester resulting from passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
  • Expiration of the congressionally enacted 3.75% temporary, public health emergency-linked increase in the Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) conversion factor to avoid payment cuts associated with budget neutrality adjustments resulting from Medicare policy changes.
  • Substantial reduction of roughly 25% for electrophysiology ablation services resulting from updated physician work values included in the proposed 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS).
  • Practice expense decreases ranging from 5% to 20% for services such as echocardiography, advanced imaging and office-based vein therapies resulting from a necessary adjustment to clinical labor rates included in the proposed 2022 PFS.

The ACC has been actively engaged in communicating with Congress to convey how detrimental these cuts will be to patient care. Hearing the concerns of the physician community, several members of Congress have authored a sign-on letter, imploring their colleagues to take action to mitigate the impact of these draconian cuts.

ACC members are encouraged to contact their members of Congress and urge them to join the Bera/Bucshon letter to avoid sudden and drastic cuts to cardiovascular care within Medicare. Act now.

Clinical Topics: Arrhythmias and Clinical EP, Cardiovascular Care Team, Noninvasive Imaging, Implantable Devices, SCD/Ventricular Arrhythmias, Atrial Fibrillation/Supraventricular Arrhythmias, Echocardiography/Ultrasound

Keywords: Medicare, Public Health, COVID-19, Fee Schedules, Pain, Physicians, Budgets, Patient Care, Policy, Echocardiography, Electrophysiology, ACC Advocacy

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