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AAMC Joins Letter of Support for Halting Medicare Physician Payment Cuts

November 13, 2020

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CONTACTS
Allyson Perleoni, Senior Legislative Analyst

The AAMC joined over 70 other hospital, provider, and health care organizations in a Nov. 11 letter supporting the Holding Providers Harmless From Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act of 2020 (H.R. 8702).

The bipartisan legislation would halt pending evaluation and management (E/M) services payment cuts, which were authorized in the most recent proposed calendar year (CY) 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) rule, for two years [see Washington Highlights, Aug. 7].

The changes as proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would increase payment for E/M services in 2021, but due to statutory budget neutrality provisions, they would require payment reductions for other services in order to offset the cost. The AAMC has expressed concern with the proposed reductions, as they would amount to a 10.61% budget neutrality cut for some services [see Washington Highlights, Oct. 9].

The letter to the original sponsors of H.R. 8702 — including Rep. Ami Bera, MD, (D-Calif.) and Rep. Larry Bucshon, MD, (R-Ind.) — highlights the importance of the legislation, which would provide two years of “much-needed stability for Medicare providers as they continue to strive to meet the needs of patients during this public health emergency” by holding harmless the services that the CMS proposed cutting in the CY 2021 MPFS rule while also maintaining the increases for E/M payments.

The letter thanks the legislators for recognizing the “importance of allowing significant scheduled pay increases to primary care and others who primarily provide E/M services to take effect while also avoiding the devasting corresponding cuts for physician and non-physician providers that will occur because of Medicare’s budget neutrality requirements.”

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