August 4, 2022 -- A coalition of groups representing the medical imaging industry are pushing back against proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for 2023, urging members of the U.S. House of Representatives to take action to forestall the cuts.
The August 1 letter was prompted by the release in July of the proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) for 2023, which the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) uses to set reimbursement rates for medical procedures. CMS is proposing a 4.5% cut in the conversion factor used to calculate payment rates.
In their letter, the coalition notes that the 2023 MPFS cut would come on top of other reimbursement reductions that are already scheduled to hit healthcare providers next year. These include the expiration this year of a moratorium on the 2% sequestration cut and a 4% cut to comply with federal rules on deficit reduction, commonly called "PAYGO."
Taken together, these cuts could result in double-digit reductions in payments for healthcare providers in 2023. The groups fear a return to the environment before 2015, when the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) was passed to eliminate annual cuts to payments required by the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.
"But now the perennial fight to avoid catastrophic damage to clinicians' ability to provide care has returned," the groups write in their letter.
The groups state that healthcare providers have faced significant challenges in recent years, including supply chain disruptions, rising costs due to inflation, and a global pandemic. The 2023 MPFS proposal "only will make matters worse."
As a positive example, the groups cite Congressional intervention at the end of 2021 with the Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act, which staved off a similarly large proposed cut in Medicare reimbursement.
The letter was sent to ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee, the Ways and Means Committee, and the Energy and Commerce Committee. It was signed by the American College of Radiology, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, the AHRA, the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance, the Radiology Business Management Association, Rayus Radiology, Shields Healthcare Group, and the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.