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Vascular Care Leaders Commend Lawmakers for Supporting Legislation to Address Dramatic Payment Cuts in 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule

Dec 8, 2020

Despite Congressional and stakeholder opposition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalized sharp payment cuts to specialty providers including vascular surgery, cardiac surgery and interventional radiology

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) – commends bipartisan lawmakers in both chambers of Congress for recently sending a series of letters to House and Senate leadership urging support for legislation to address deep payment cuts to specialty providers in the CY2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS).

Specifically, 50 Members of the U.S.  Senate, 26 Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and 19 physicians in the U.S. House of Representatives united to urge Congressional leaders to include legislation in any end-of-the-year legislative package to protect American seniors and our nation’s healthcare system by blocking planned cuts to more than 30 specialty provider services scheduled to take effect January 1, 2021. 

Despite thousands of comments opposing the cuts made by providers, patients and bipartisan Members of Congress, Medicare maintained harmful cuts in the final PFS rule for 2021, including cuts to  “vascular surgery” by -7%, “cardiac surgery” by -9% and “interventional radiology” by -9%.

Two pieces of bipartisan legislation have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to mitigate the cuts, including H.R. 8702, which would hold any codes receiving a cut harmless for two years, and H.R. 8505, which would provide a one-year waiver of budget neutrality adjustments under the PFS.

The bipartisan group of Senators, led by Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI),  asserts, “The payment cuts proposed by CMS would pose a threat to providers and their patients under any circumstances, but during a pandemic the impact is even more profound.”

In expressing their opposition to the sharp specialty provider cuts, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) lawmakers wrote, “We are aware of solutions to either waive budget neutrality requirements (H.R. 8505) or to hold specialists harmless (H.R. 8702). While not perfect, either of these solutions would give healthcare specialists the financial security they need to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, we urge you to include a provision in the end of year spending package to prevent these reckless cuts from taking effect, while allowing the increases to proceed as scheduled on January 1, 2021.”

In their letter to leadership, the House physicians added, “As Members of Congress who directly care for patients, we understand the consequences that the upcoming reimbursement cuts will have on patient care and patient access to care. We look forward to working with you to prevent the harm that will inevitably arise if the impending cuts in the PFS go into effect on January 1, 2021.”

To view the Senate letter, click here.

To view the CBC letter, click here.

To view the House physician letter, click here.

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