Nov 22, 2021
Vascular care leaders commend bipartisan legislation to protect patient access to specialty care for Medicare’s most at-risk patients
Washington, D.C. –– 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 commended the introduction of the Medicare Stability for Patients and Providers Act (H.R. 6048). The bipartisan legislation – sponsored by Congressmen Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) – prohibits the implementation of certain clinical labor price updates included in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Final Rule for CY 2022.
The main driver of payment cuts in the 2022 PFS Final Rule is CMS’ updates to clinical labor data. The hardest hit specialties are cardiology, vascular surgery, venous, radiation oncology, and radiology practices. If left unaddressed, CMS’ changes to the clinical labor policy will result in massive cuts of up to 22% over four years to critical revascularization services at a time when patients are choosing to access health services in outpatient facilities that are convenient and less costly. The ability to access revascularization services in a less expensive site that is closer to home can often mean the difference between saving – or amputating – a patient’s lower limb.
“We applaud Congressmen Rush and Bilirakis for their leadership in sponsoring this legislation to protect patient access to specialty care in the outpatient setting and preserve the stability of independent physician and specialty practices across the country,” said Jeffrey G. Carr, MD, FACC, a CVC member and co-founder of the Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society (OEIS). “Bipartisan lawmakers and providers agree that CMS’ clinical labor cuts will do nothing more than limit patient choice, stifle efforts to advance health equity and drive further consolidation of the healthcare marketplace.”
Limiting patient access to revascularization services for patients living with vascular disease could lead to higher amputation rates and exacerbate inequities that already exist, particularly in America’s communities of color. According to the Dartmouth Atlas, amputation risks for African Americans living with diabetes are as much as four times higher than the national average.
On September 13, Representatives Rush, Bilirakis and 73 of their House colleagues sent a letter to CMS urging the agency not to finalize the cuts to specialty care providers included in the proposed 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS). The lawmakers expressed particular concern on the cuts’ impact on minority health.
About the CardioVascular Coalition (CVC)
Our mission is to advance patient access to care for peripheral artery disease (PAD). Physicians, care providers, advocates, and manufacturers who comprise the CVC are dedicated to community-based solutions designed to improve awareness and prevention of PAD, reduce geographic disparities in access to care, and secure patient access to high-quality, cost-effective interventional treatment across America. Learn more at cardiovascularcoalition.org.