The AAMC joined more than 100 health care stakeholder groups on July 23 in a letter urging congressional leaders to avoid cuts in payments to health care providers by maintaining a 3.75% increase in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Conversion Factor (CF) through at least calendar years 2022 and 2023.
The letter, which was sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), thanked Congress for mitigating pending cuts within the MPFS that were scheduled to take effect in 2021.
Congress avoided these cuts in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-260) by providing a one-time, one-year increase in the Medicare physician fee schedule of 3.75%, and delaying the implementation of an inherent complexity add-on code for evaluation and management services [refer to Washington Highlights, Dec. 23, 2020]. However, as the letter noted, “this temporary measure did not address the ongoing structural problems with the MPFS,” because the steep cuts are scheduled to return in 2022 without congressional action.
The letter also urged congressional leaders to consider reforms to the MPFS system including “addressing the budget neutrality requirement, which can lead to arbitrary reductions to reimbursement unrelated to the cost of providing care.” The letter stated that this requirement often results in providers being “forced into an adversarial role when fee schedule payment policies are developed and/or implemented” and ultimately that patients “suffer as providers adjust to unpredictable and excessive reductions to reimbursement that inhibit their ability to ensure beneficiaries have access to the care they need; services that improve outcomes and lower costs.”
“We remain committed to partnering with Congress to identify and advance these critical reforms and appreciate your continued support of the health care providers on which older Americans rely,” the letter concluded.