With a New Bill, SNMMI Urges Congress to Avert Cuts to Physician Reimbursement

December 1, 2021

Once again, SNMMI and more than 300 medical societies voiced their support for averting the looming cuts to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS). In October, nearly 250 bipartisan House members signed a “Dear Colleague” letter — spearheaded by Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN). SNMMI, along many of its sister societies, including the American College of Radiology (ACR), was instrumental in engaging members of Congress to support extending the 3.75% payment adjustment through at least CY 2022. The society also has its own letter-writing campaign, which may be found here. SNMMI members, patient advocates, and concerned citizens are encouraged to send a letter of support to avert the looming physician reimbursement cuts.

Following the release of the CY 2022 MPFS Rule that indicated the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will allow this payment adjustment to expire at the end of 2021, Reps. Bera, MD and Bucshon, MD introduced H.R. 6020. Their bipartisan legislation would extend the 3.75% update to the conversion factor for an additional year. Millions of seniors rely on the Medicare program, and we must work to ensure it remains a robust and dependable option for those who need it the most.

The MPFS has failed to keep up with inflation and larger increases to some providers must be offset by cuts to other providers, due to a budget neutrality provision in statute, further contributing to the financial pressure on health care professionals. Additionally, health care professionals are facing imminent payment cuts stemming from MPFS adjustments as well as the Medicare sequester and the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) Act.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, enacted on December 27, 2020, contained a 3.75 percent payment adjustment for all PFS services in CY 2021 as part of the congressional relief provided for the impending payment cuts. This payment adjustment afforded some short-term stability for health care professionals struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This critical piece of congressional relief is expiring at the end of the calendar year and adds to impending cuts resulting from the expiring moratorium on the 2 percent Medicare sequester and the 4 percent Medicare payment cut due to PAYGO, which was triggered by the passage of the American Rescue Plan. The combined impact of the MPFS cut, Medicare sequester, and PAYGO means that all health care professionals are likely facing at least 9 percent in cuts to Medicare payment, unless Congress takes action.

Please encourage your member of Congress to take action by sending a customizable letter through this link.

A current version of the MPFS may be viewed here.