Action Center

Prevent steep Medicare payment cuts in 2021 by passing H.R. 8702
Unless Congress takes action Medicare reimbursement rates for services provided by psychologists and many other healthcare providers will be cut sharply next year, as a result of changes that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have proposed making in how Medicare pays for routine physician office visits.   
Legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives to prevent these cuts—H.R. 8702, the “Holding Providers Harmless From Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act of 2020”, introduced by Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN).  The legislation would protect psychologists and other Medicare providers from cuts by providing temporary supplemental payments for the next two years to ensure that reimbursements for services were no lower than 2020 levels. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2021 includes a new, updated coding structure for routine outpatient visits—known as evaluation and management (E/M) services—provided by physicians and certain nonphysician providers.  The new E/M billing codes will be simplified and paid at a higher rate.  Because federal law requires budget neutrality in Medicare payment policy changes, CMS proposed deep cuts in a wide range of services in 2021 to offset the increased payments for outpatient E/M services. 
Our nation’s health care system and its patients and providers are struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.  H.R. 8702 would provide a critical reprieve for psychologists and many healthcare providers from substantial payment reductions in the coming months. 
We urge psychologists to ask their House members to cosponsor H.R. 8702, and to ask their Senators to work to enact similar legislation before the year ends.
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