The worsening COVID-19 health crisis has put a massive strain on the health care system in our country, including the physicians who are on the front lines of the pandemic and now is not the time to cut physician Medicare payments.
Under current law the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is required to make budget neutrality adjustments to the Medicare physician payment schedule whenever changes in relative value units (RVUs) generates a payment increase or decrease by $200 million. The current pandemic has helped to trigger such an adjustment this year that would result in dramatic cuts for frontline physicians and unfortunately, without Congressional action before January 1, 2021, this nightmare scenario will become reality.
Thankfully, Congress is listening! As we have reported in previous alerts, bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House to address these concerns and now a group of Senators led by Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate. The “Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act” (H.R. 8702/S. 5007) would freeze payments at 2020 rates for services scheduled to be cut in 2021 for a period of two years, while allowing the scheduled E/M increases to take place. Analyses of this approach show improved overall impact numbers for all physician specialties
Momentum is building but time is running out - If Congress does not act in the next few days these budget neutrality adjustments will negatively impact many physician practices across the country!
Please contact your Senators and member of Congress, ask them to support the “Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act” (H.R. 8702/S. 5007), and request the bill’s inclusion in a larger, end-of-the-year legislative package today!