APTQI Joins Letter Urging CMS to Stop Medicare Cuts
This week, APTQI signed on to a letter with 15 healthcare organizations urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to not finalize the 2022 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) proposed rule that would see payment cuts of more than 20% for specialty providers as a result of Medicare’s clinical labor policy.
For physical and occupational therapy, the proposed rule also includes plans to levy a 3.5% cut in CY2022, eventually adding up to a steep 9% payment cut by 2024.
The letter was signed by organizations representing hundreds of thousands of specialty physicians and healthcare providers across the country and emphasized how devasting these cuts could be in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter also asks that CMS work with Congress to implement legislative reforms to minimize the impact of the troubling cuts and implement fundamental reforms to the PFS.
“Successive, cumulative cuts to specialists under the PFS are resulting in reimbursement ever more out of touch with actual resource needs as well as increased healthcare consolidation and healthcare costs, greater health inequities, and a healthcare system unable to meet the challenges of an ongoing pandemic,” the letter states.
The proposed payment cuts are a part of the “budget neutrality” policy that is supposed to rebalance the PFS away from higher-paid providers toward lower-paid providers. Unfortunately, that is not how the policy has been carried out with physical therapists— one of the lowest-paid providers.
While Congress can work to address long-term issues with this payment policy, CMS still has time to protect physical, occupational, and speech therapists from these drastic cuts by making changes to the final PFS rule.