End-Of-Year Spending Package is Good First Step by Providing One-Year, 3.75% Increase to the Physician Fee Schedule, Delaying Add-On Code for Three Years
WASHINGTON – The CardioVascular Coalition (CVC) – a coalition of physicians, care providers, advocates, and manufacturers working to improve awareness and prevention of peripheral artery disease (PAD) – today commended Congress for taking action to ease the severe Medicare payment cuts that were set to go into effect on January 1. In the end-of-year spending package that passed with strong bipartisan support, Congress delayed the reimbursement cuts and added $3 billion in funding into the CY2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), reducing cuts to vascular surgery, cardiac surgery, and interventional radiology by approximately two-thirds. The legislative package also suspends the 2 percent sequester cuts for three additional months.
While a temporary fix that does not fully eliminate the PFS cuts in 2021, this legislation will offer much-needed relief to the more than 30 specialty providers slated for deep reimbursement reductions. If implemented as scheduled, the cuts to “vascular surgery” (-7%), “cardiac surgery,” (-9%) and “interventional radiology” (-9%) would have hampered providers’ ability to remain stable during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.
“Recognizing the severe strain that specialty providers are facing, we are pleased that Congress took decisive action to ease the deep Medicare cuts slated to go into effect on January 1,” said Dr. Jeffrey Carr, co-founder of the Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society (OEIS) and a member of the CVC. “Healthcare practitioners who offer specialty services – including vascular surgery, cardiac surgery, and interventional radiology – will be in a better position in 2021 to preserve continued patient access to the care they need, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we know there is still more work to be done and we look forward to working with Congress and the Administration next year to further advance policies that will provide payment stability to PFS services over the long-run.”