Lawmakers call for policies to waive budget neutrality requirements in E/M codes and block planned specialty provider cuts before January 2021
WASHINGTON – The CardioVascular Coalition (CVC) – a consortium of physicians, care providers, advocates, and manufacturers working to improve awareness and prevention of peripheral artery disease (PAD) – today commended Congressman Bobby Rush (IL-1) and 92 of his bipartisan colleagues in the U.S. House for sending a letter to House leaders asking them to waive budget neutrality in any relevant or upcoming legislation for Calendar Years 2021 and 2022 for the E/M codes scheduled for implementation on January 1, 2021.
“If these cuts go into effect, they will be devastating for providers and will ultimately result in decreased access to care for patients. Our healthcare system is already under tremendous financial strain, as it continues to grapple with both the economic and health consequences of the coronavirus. Now is not the time to implement these reckless cuts,” the bipartisan lawmakers write.
In the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Proposed Rule for CY2021 issued on August 3, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to deeply cut payments to specialty providers – including “vascular surgery,” “cardiac surgery,” and “interventional radiology” – in 2021. Specifically, Medicare plans to cut “vascular surgery” by seven percent (-7%), “cardiac surgery,” by nine percent (-9%) and “interventional radiology” by nine percent (-9%).
“We ask that, in any upcoming and relevant legislation moving through the House, you waive budget neutrality for Calendar Years 2021 and 2022 for the E/M codes scheduled for implementation on January 1, 2021 as described in the final rule (84. Fed. Reg. 62568, 62847-62860),” the lawmaker letter continues.
The CVC stressed that the impact of such deeps cuts would be magnified as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), particularly on minority populations who are at greatest risk for peripheral artery disease (PAD) and other forms of vascular disease, and whom have already suffered disproportionately from the COVID-19 crisis.
“We applaud Congressman Rush for his leadership on this issue and thank all 93 bipartisan lawmakers for lending their names to this important patient care issue,” said Dr. Jeffrey Carr, founding and past president of the Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society (OEIS) and a member of the CVC. “CMS should not proceed with any specialty provider cuts while we are in the middle of a public health crisis. Doing so will be harmful to both vulnerable older Americans and their healthcare providers.”
To read the letter to House leadership, click here.