Efforts to Prevent 2021 Specialty Cuts from Going Into Effect Gains Traction in Congress
With the clock counting down to the end of the 116th Congress, bipartisan lawmakers in the House and Senate recently sent a trio of letters to congressional leadership urging them to support legislative efforts to prevent harmful Medicare cuts to specialty providers from going into effect on January 1.
Concerned over the severe reimbursement reductions pending for more than 30 specialties – including physical, occupational and speech therapy – the lawmakers highlighted the urgent need to protect patient access to these vulnerable services especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, budget neutrality rules forced Medicare to slash payments for specialty providers in the recently-released CY2021 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) final rule in order to fund a welcome increase in funds for evaluation and management (E/M) services.
Three groups of lawmakers sent letters expressing strong, bipartisan opposition to these harmful payment cuts and urging support for legislation to mitigate the reimbursement reductions. Specifically, the respective letters were sent by:
- 26 Members of the Congressional Black Caucus
- 50 Members of the United States Senate
- And 19 health care practitioners in the House of Representatives
To address these issues, the Members of Congress highlight several high-priority pieces of legislation including H.R. 8702, which APTQI strongly supports. If passed, the bill would hold any codes receiving a cut harmless for the next two years through Treasury general revenues.
In order to avoid the devastating 9% cut to physical, speech and occupational therapy services planned on January 1, Congress must act quickly by including H.R. 8702 in the year-end legislative package.
The most important voice in this fight is you.