The AAMC joined more than 100 health stakeholder groups on July 23 in a letter urging congressional leaders to avoid cuts in payments to health care providers by maintaining a 3.75% increase of Medicare Fee Schedule (MPFS) Conversion Factor (CF) until less than calendar years 2022 and 2023.
The letter, which was sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.), And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), thanked Congress for easing ongoing cuts in the MPFS that were due to take effect in 2021.
Congress avoided these cuts in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (PL 116-260) by providing a one-year, one-year increase in the Medicare physician fee schedule of 3.75% and delaying the implementation of a complementary code of inherent complexity for assessment and management services [refer to Washington Highlights, Dec. 23, 2020]. However, as the letter noted, “this temporary measure has not resolved the continuing structural problems of the MPFS,” as the steep cuts are expected to return in 2022 without congressional action.
The letter also urged congressional leaders to consider reforms to the MPFS system, including “meeting the requirement of budget neutrality, which may result in arbitrary reductions in reimbursement unrelated to the cost of providing care.” The letter noted that this requirement often results in providers being “forced into an adversarial role when fee schedule payment policies are developed and / or implemented” and, ultimately, patients “suffer when providers adapt to unpredictable and excessive reimbursement cuts that prevent ensuring that beneficiaries have access to the care they need; services that improve results and reduce costs.
“We remain committed to partnering with Congress to identify and advance these critical reforms and appreciate your continued support for the health care providers that older Americans rely on,” the letter concludes.