APTQI Applauds Bipartisan Push to Prevent Severe Medicare Cuts, Provider Instability

247 Members of Congress urge House leadership to begin working on long-term reform to prevent impending cuts and bring stability to the Medicare payment system

Washington, D.C. –– The Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (APTQI) today commended bipartisan Members of Congress for urging House leadership to begin collaborating to draft legislation to prevent Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) cuts and create long-term reforms that bring stability to the Medicare payment system.

In a letter organized by Reps. Ami Bera (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and signed by 247 Members of Congress, the bipartisan group of lawmakers call on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to work quickly to address the impending payment cuts facing specialty healthcare professionals – including physical, occupational, and speech therapists. In addition to encouraging long-term payment reform, the letter highlights the immediate need to avert cuts scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2022 by extending the 3.75% payment adjustment that Congress passed in last year’s Consolidated Appropriations Act.

The letter notes that the MPFS has failed to keep up with inflation over the years and that the budget neutrality provision in existing law further adds pressure to certain healthcare providers because any increase in payments must be offset by cuts, even if there is no evidence that Medicare is overpaying them. While the lawmakers praised increased payments to physicians engaged in primary care and complex office-based care, they cautioned that the offsetting cuts to specialty providers could jeopardize the stability of America’s healthcare delivery system and disrupt patient access to the care they need.

“With America’s specialty providers – including physical, occupational, and speech therapists – once again on the chopping block during the COVID-19 pandemic due to outdated technical rules, now is the time to start working on long-term reform to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule,” said Nikesh Patel, PT, Executive Director of APTQI. “We commend Reps. Bera and Bucshon, and all of the bipartisan Members of Congress who are calling on House leadership to address the looming cuts. With wide recognition of the severity of the problem and close collaboration across the aisle, we are hopeful that Congress will extend the 3.75% payment adjustment to help ensure provider stability and protect patient access to therapy services.”

One hundred thirty-nine national organizations – including APTQI – formally shared their support for the letter, as did 62 state organizations.

Hundreds of lawmakersa large coalition of specialty healthcare providers and thousands of APTQI advocates have repeatedly voiced their opposition to specialty provider cuts to CMS and Congress. Given the widespread opposition to the proposed MPFS cuts—as well as the severe negative impacts that a reduction in patient access to care would cause—it is critical for Congress to work quickly to avert the cuts and extend the 3.75% payment adjustment for specialty providers.

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