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CardioVascular Coalition Expresses Concern with CMS Decision to Finalize Deep Cuts to Specialty Services Despite COVID-19 Pandemic, Widespread Opposition

Dec 8, 2020

Vascular care providers call on Congress to pass legislation in year-end package to block 2021 payment cuts and protect patient access to specialty care

WASHINGTON – The CardioVascular Coalition (CVC) – a coalition of physicians, care providers, advocates, and manufacturers working to improve awareness and prevention of peripheral artery disease (PAD) – today expressed disappointment in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) decision to finalize deep cuts to specialty providers in the Final Physician Fee Schedule Rule for CY2021.

Despite vocal opposition from patients, providers, and bipartisan lawmakers, CMS’ decision to slash Medicare reimbursement rates for “vascular surgery” (-7%), “cardiac surgery,” (-9%) and “interventional radiology” (-9%) – among other specialties – undercuts providers’ ability to remain viable during the unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic. If not addressed by Congress before the PFS rule goes into effect on January 1, 2021, these devastating cuts will ultimately impact patient access to the vital specialty services they need.

“The severe Medicare cuts finalized by CMS are deeply troubling for both patients and providers,” said Dr. Jeffrey Carr, co-founder of the Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society (OEIS) and a member of the CVC. “With America’s healthcare system under unprecedented stress by the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the absolute worst time to push through new payment cuts. In order to protect patients’ continued access to specialty services, we urge Congress to advance a legislative solution in the next relevant year-end legislative package.”

Bipartisan Members of Congress have consistently spoken out against the now-finalized cuts, introducing two pieces of legislation to address the cuts, H.R. 8702 and H.R. 8505, which would both provide a necessary reprieve for the dozens of specialty providers that are scheduled to see reimbursement reductions in 2021. The CVC supports legislative action to protect a wide array of specialties including “vascular surgery,” “cardiac surgery,” and “interventional radiology” from being cut without affecting the much-needed payment increases for evaluation and management (E/M) services from going into effect.

“The clock is ticking. Without quick Congressional action, these deep cuts will start impacting America’s specialty providers on January 1,” continued Dr. Carr. “In the interest of protecting Medicare beneficiaries’ health and safety—especially during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency—we urge Congress to swiftly pass legislation to stop these harmful cuts.”

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