Here’s the first, but certainly not the last, step you can take to start fighting the proposed 9% cut in 2021 Medicare payments. Click here to ask your Representatives to sign onto the Dear Colleague letter that Rep. Bobby Rush is circulating. The letter requests that House leadership include a two year waiver of budget neutrality for the E&M codes in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) in the next COVID-19 package. Waiving the budget neutrality requirements within the MPFS would prevent the 9% cut proposed by CMS. (The reason the payment for PT/OT/SP would be cut is to pay for the increases in E&M codes for physicians.) This is a reasonable step, especially in the light of the pandemic.
The deadline for signature by your Congressperson is this Friday, Aug 7, 3 p.m. Eastern, so you need to let them know now! Please take just a few minutes to click here to show overwhelming support for this provision.
Here is a portion of the letter from Congressperson Rush to Congressional Leadership:
- …It has come to our attention that many specialists are being targeted for ill-conceived and sizable cuts that simply no longer make sense to implement. CMS’ final CY2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rule published in November 2019 increased rates for E/M codes. Due to the requirement for budget neutrality, this would result in a significant cut for many providers, across multiple specialties, beginning on January 1, 2021. If these cuts go into effect, they will be devastating for providers and will ultimately result in decreased access to care for patients. Our healthcare system is already under tremendous financial strain, as it continues to grapple with both the economic and health consequences of the coronavirus. Now is not the time to implement these reckless cuts.
Since CMS did not reconsider its policy in the recently released CY 2021 MPFS proposed rule, we ask that, in any upcoming and relevant legislation moving through the House, you waive budget neutrality for Calendar Years 2021 and 2022 for the E/M codes scheduled for implementation on January 1, 2021 as described in the final rule (84. Fed. Reg. 62568, 62847-62860) until after CMS reports to Congress on the overarching effects of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Specifically, Congress should require CMS to study how COVID-19 has impacted access to critical health services in underserved urban and rural Health Professional Shortage Areas, as well as the impact on providers of failing to waive budget neutrality associated with the E/M policy.
Together we can make a difference.