URGENT ACTION NEEDED: CMS is scheduled to cut Medicare payments by double digits starting 01/01/2021

By Sharon Kneebone posted 12-16-2020 16:25


CMS is scheduled to cut Medicare payments by double digits starting January 1, 2021. Specifically, the proposed 10.6% cut to the Conversion Factor will affect dermatopathologists in a devastating way.


Thankfully, Congress is listening. The American Medical Association’s Physicians Grassroots Network reported in previous alerts that bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House to address these concerns. Now, a group of Senators led by Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate. The “Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act” (H.R. 8702/S. 5007) would freeze payments at 2020 rates for services scheduled to be cut in 2021 for a period of two years while allowing the scheduled E/M increases to take place. Analyses of this approach show improved overall impact numbers for all physician specialties.


However, if Congress does not act in the next few days, these budget neutrality adjustments will negatively impact many physician practices across the country. Please contact your Senators and member of Congress, ask them to support the "Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act" (H.R. 8702/S. 5007), and request the bill’s inclusion in a larger, end-of-the-year legislative package today.


Under current law, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is required to make budget neutrality adjustments to the Medicare physician payment schedule ( technical component included) whenever changes in relative value units (RVUs) generates a payment increase or decrease by $200 million. The current pandemic has helped to trigger such an adjustment this year that would result in dramatic cuts for frontline physicians. Unfortunately, without Congressional action before January 1, 2021, this scenario will become a reality.