SNMMI and Coalition Support Bill Waiving Budget Neutrality, Increasing Proposed Physician Reimbursement for 2021

November 11, 2020

Today, SNMMI and a coalition consisting of 73 medical societies sent a letter to Congress in support of H.R. 8702, a bill to halt pending Medicare payment cuts resulting from the planned evaluation and management (E/M) code changes slated for implementation on January 1, 2021.

Although SNMMI agrees with the adoption of the new E/M coding structure recommended by the American Medical Association (AMA), this will result in significant payment reductions to nuclear medicine (~8%) and radiology (~11%) services unless the government removes the budget neutrality requirements. The planned decrease in the 2021 conversion factor will be below the 1994 conversion factor of $32.9050 — which is worth approximately $58.02 today. The MPFS proposed rule will also negatively impact our membership who, to a large extent, provide few E/M services. 

This critical legislation recognizes the importance of allowing significant, scheduled increases in reimbursement for primary care physicians and others who primarily provide E/M services while also avoiding the devastating corresponding cuts for physician and non-physician providers that would occur because of Medicare’s budget neutrality requirements. Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to halt the implementation of any payment reductions that could inadvertently limit patient access to care as well as further exacerbate the financial instability of health care provider practices. 

SNMMI and the coalition support H.R. 8702, 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.

Individuals may contact their members of Congress through an easy-to-use template letter found here. A bill summary may be found here. The CY 2021 proposed Medicare physician fee schedule chart may be found here.