SVS: Impact of Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule remains threat to patient care

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SVS President Ali AbuRahma

The Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) final rule released Nov. 2 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) doubles down on the 3.75% cut to surgeons and surgical practices that will harm patient access to care, the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) said in a press release

An early analysis shows the cut—combined with automatic Medicare cuts—will slash Medicare payments to vascular surgery by 12.75%, the SVS release pointed out.

“Five percent of the cuts, related to changes in payment for clinical labor, will be phased in over four years, but 9% are slated to be put into effect on January 1, 2022,” the Society stated. “As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have already caused Americans to delay needed care, these cuts will only further exacerbate the strain on health care systems nationwide.”

While the SVS was “successful in mitigating some of the more immediate impacts of the cuts proposed in the initial rule for 2022,” the release continued, “the impact over time remains unchanged.”

The Society urged vascular surgeons to remain united in urging Congress to take action to stop the cuts, which are set to take effect in less than two months.

“As vascular surgeons, we provide comprehensive care to a predominantly elderly, sick, and vulnerable population,” said Ali AbuRahma, MD, SVS president. “These cuts will further strain a healthcare system already on the brink of breaking, and will place the neediest patients in the greatest jeopardy for losing access to medically necessary services.”

Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-Calif.), and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-Ind.), recently led a bipartisan letter to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), signed by 247 U.S. representatives and supported by 135 national medical groups, urging them to stop these harmful cuts.

In these next few weeks, the SVS, alongside the Surgical Care Coalition, plans to continue advocacy efforts by urging Congress to protect patients and the care they need.

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