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CVC Commends Introduction of Bipartisan Bill to Protect Specialty Care from Severe Medicare Reimbursement Cuts

Oct 23, 2020

H.R. 8505 would block severe payment cuts to over 30 healthcare specialties including vascular surgery, cardiac surgery, interventional radiology and  interventional cardiology

Washington, D.C. –– The CardioVascular Coalition (CVC) – a consortium of physicians, care providers, advocates, and manufacturers working to improve awareness and prevention of peripheral artery disease (PAD) – today praised House lawmakers for introducing H.R. 8505. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Reps. Michael Burgess (TX-26) and Bobby Rush (IL-1) is intended to prevent severe Medicare reimbursement cuts to a slew of specialty providers from going into effect on January 1, 2021. By waiving budget neutrality rules for one year, the legislation would allow the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow scheduled evaluation and management (E/M) increases to go into effect without requiring Medicare to curtail reimbursements from 33 specialty providers, including vascular surgery, cardiac surgery, interventional radiology and interventional cardiology.

According to the CY2021 Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule issued in early August, CMS intends to cut vascular surgery by seven percent (-7%), cardiac surgery, by nine percent (-9%) and interventional radiology by nine percent (-9%) as well as interventional cardiology in order to offset the costs involved with increasing increases to E/M services. Unless Congress waives Medicare’s budget neutrality requirement, the deep cuts will go into effect on January 1, drastically increasing the financial strain that specialty providers face as they continue to deal with the fallout stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. In turn, the cuts threaten to seriously reduce Medicare beneficiaries’ access to these critical services—an outcome that would be devastating for America’s seniors.

“Patient access is paramount for proper treatment and amputation prevention for individuals with peripheral artery disease (PAD),” said Dr. Jeffrey Carr co-founder of the Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society (OEIS) and a member of the CVC. “At a time when the entire healthcare system is under unprecedented strain from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is completely irresponsible for CMS to push forward with severe specialty cuts that threaten to undermine Medicare beneficiaries’ access to dozens of critical services.”

“We applaud Reps. Burgess and Rush for their commitment to ensuring America’s seniors continue uninterrupted access to specialty care, and urge Congress to quickly pass the bipartisan H.R. 8505,” continued Dr. Carr.

A substantial number of bipartisan lawmakers have voiced concerns about Medicare’s proposed cuts and have called for budget neutrality requirements to be waived. In late September, more than 160 lawmakers, led by Representatives Roger Marshall (KS-1) and Bobby Rush (IL-1), sent a letter to CMS expressing deep concern about slashing support to specialty providers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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