To prevent pay cuts to physicians, last week, Representatives Ami Bera, MD, (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD, (R-IN) encouraged more than 245 Members of Congress to sign a letter urging House Leadership to address looming Medicare payment cuts and to implement reforms to the Medicare payment system.

“As an internal medicine doctor by training, I know that cutting payments for physicians during this global pandemic will further strain our health care system and the ability for health care professionals to provide the best care for their patients,” wrote Dr. Bera in a bipartisan letter. “I also want Congress to reform Medicare provider payments to ensure we have policies that are stable in the long term and move our system towards one based on value, not volume.” Dr. Bucshon added, “As a practicing surgeon for nearly 15 years, I believe that no doctor should have to worry about the uncertainty of looming reimbursement cuts while battling COVID-19 on the front lines….Now is not the time to ask them to take a reimbursement cut.”

For latest news and updates

Last year, significant Medicare payment cuts to most healthcare professionals were finalized by the CMS. To mitigate these cuts, Congress included a 3.75% payment increase in 2021. Dr. Bucshon called for an amendment to extend, for a year, this 3.75% payment adjustment. Relief ends this year unless Congress acts. In addition, payment provisions for 2022 have not yet been finalized by CMS, leading to more uncertainty.

As a result, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) has launched a grassroots campaign asking society members to contact their Congressperson and urge them to support the Bera-Bucshon letter. At the same time, SCAI, numerous other physician organizations, and some lawmakers have pressed CMS to stop the proposed Medicare cuts. Estimates related to the CMS proposed 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule suggest that certain physicians could experience nearly a 10% cut just from the CMS proposed rule alone. Additional pay cuts are expected in 2022, due to a variety of policies, which could threaten physician practices and their patients.