Washington, D.C. – 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 applauded 63 bipartisan lawmakers in the U.S. House – led by Congressmen Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) – for urging Congressional leadership to include relief for office-based specialists in any upcoming omnibus appropriations package.
In a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the 63 lawmakers voiced their concerns regarding the viability of office-based specialists – including cardiology, radiology, and vascular surgery— given recent changes to the 2022 Physician Fee Schedule. While S.610, the Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act (PL 117-71), temporarily relieved most of the 3.75 percent cut to the conversion factor scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2022, lawmakers expressed disappointment that the extensive cuts of more than 20 percent for office-based specialists were left unaddressed.
“These ‘clinical labor’ cuts are the most significant negative impact of the 2022 Physician Fee Schedule by far and are expected to cut reimbursement by more than 20 percent for some specialties. Frankly, these cuts threaten to undermine efforts to address health inequity, accelerate health system consolidation, and weaken our ability to deal with the pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote.
The groups on the letter warned that with office-based specialists already seeing 20 to 40 percent cuts since 2006 and the accelerated rate at which hospitals and corporate entities are acquiring physician practices, another round of Physician Fee Schedule cuts will cause many of the remaining office-based centers to close – a potentially leaving Medicare patients with limited access to care. With hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, office-based care is critically important for patients dealing with cancer, end-stage renal disease, limb salvage, and other issues.
“The CVC commends Rep. Rush and Rep. Bilirakis for their continued leadership in addressing these cuts and thanks the 61 other lawmakers in Congress for joining them in urging action to protect office-based specialists and the patient populations they serve in any future omnibus appropriations legislation,” said Interventional Cardiologist and Endovascular Specialist Jeffrey G. Carr, MD, a CVC Board member.
To read the full letter, CLICK HERE.
About the CardioVascular Coalition (CVC)
Our mission is to advance patient access to care for peripheral artery disease (PAD). Physicians, care providers, advocates, and manufacturers who comprise the CVC are dedicated to community-based solutions designed to improve awareness and prevention of PAD, reduce geographic disparities in access to care, and secure patient access to high-quality, cost-effective interventional treatment across America. Learn more at cardiovascularcoalition.org.