Groups lobby for 3.75% Physician Fee Schedule payment adjustment

More than 200 medical associations, including the American Medical Association and the Medical Group Management Association, have co-signed a letter seeking Congressional action on the issue before the end of the year.

More than 200 professional medical associations, spearheaded by the Medical Group Management Association, sent a letter to Capitol Hill, urging Congress for a 3.75% payment adjustment for all services to the Physician Fee Schedule for Medicare for 2022.

According to a press release, the letter was co-signed by more than 200 professional medical associations, including the America Medical Association (AMA), American College of Physicians (ACP), and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

In the press release, MGMA noted the 3.75% adjustment for 2022 is necessary to provide stability and avoid disruptions to Medicare, especially as the pandemic continues to impact care.

Without the increase, MGMA argues that Medicare patients could lose timely access to essential health care services. A 3.75% adjustment was made for 2021, but it was only temporary, and will soon expire.

“Our organizations would welcome the opportunity to work with Congress to address long-term challenges associated with Medicare payment policy, especially the budget neutrality provision in the MPFS that has precipitated these steep cuts,” the letter stated.

To lend support to the issue, about 250 House members from both sides of the aisle signed a “Dear Colleague” letter (finalized October 2021) — spearheaded by Reps. Ami Bera, MD, D-Calif., and Larry Bucshon, MD, R-Ind., — calling on Congress strike these and other automatic Medicare payment cuts before the end of the year.

After CMS indicated it will allow the 2021 payment adjustment to expire at the end of the year, Bera and Bucshon ultimately introduced H.R. 6020, bipartisan legislation to extend the 3.75% update to the conversion factor for an additional year.

In the letter, the organizations urged Congress to address the cuts by extending the payment adjustment at least through the next year.

“Maintaining this level of funding will provide much-needed stability for physician and non-physician providers, as well as their patients, and provide an opportunity for renewed discussions regarding long-term systemic reforms in the New Year,” the letter added.

AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD, pointed out that as doctors continue to risk their health and face financial turbulence amid the pandemic, Congress is slated to allow a 10% Medicare cut to take effect.

“These cuts are unsustainable during normal times, and they are reckless during a public health emergency,” he said in a statement. “The result of congressional inaction is that Medicare patients are certain to experience reduced access to care.”

Harmon added in the statement that there is plenty of blame to go around for this situation.