Groups urge action on Medicare cuts

2019 07 31 17 01 7432 Medicare Puzzle 400

Nearly 400 national, regional, state, and local medical organizations as well as 329 members of the U.S. Congress are urging action to stop cuts in Medicare reimbursement to healthcare providers.

The final 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rule (MPFS), set to take effect January 1, may cause practice closings, service reductions, job losses, and decreased access to care for seniors, according to the groups. The 2021 rule establishes new office and outpatient evaluation and management (E/M) coding changes, which will increase E/M payments to primary care and other office-based providers, but more than 1 million healthcare providers face payment cuts as high as 10%.

Bipartisan lawmakers in both the House of Representatives and the Senate think the cuts could be devastating for patients, communities, and providers. To date, 278 House members have cosponsored legislation and/or signed letters urging their leadership to act before the January 1 deadline. Likewise, 51 senators have also signaled their support.

Healthcare professionals are urging congressional leaders to include the Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act, or similar language, in any must-pass, year-end legislative package. Failure to do so will only result in more practices and institution-based providers furloughing or cutting staff or closing their doors, the groups said.

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