APTQI Disappointed by CMS’ Proposed Continuation of Disruptive Payment Cuts to Specialty Services
The Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Proposed Rule for CY2022, again proposes deep, across-the-board payment cuts to physical, occupational and speech therapy despite bipartisan lawmaker and broad healthcare stakeholder opposition
Washington, D.C. –– The Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (APTQI) expressed serious concern and disappointment today in response to the recently-released Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Proposed Rule for CY2022, which once again includes deep, across-the-board payment cuts to physical, occupational and speech therapy despite bipartisan lawmaker and broad healthcare stakeholder opposition. After years of reducing reimbursement for therapy services, the proposed rule includes plans to levy a 3.5 percent cut to providers in CY2022, eventually adding up to a steep 9 percent payment cut by 2024. Since originally proposed and then implemented by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on January 1, 2021, the APTQI has warned that continued cuts to specialty Medicare services will undermine the ability of vulnerable seniors to access the vital therapy services they need to manage their post-operative care, pain, immobility and risk of falling.
“Despite widespread opposition from lawmakers and stakeholders alike – and the very real fear that these severe cuts risk disrupting seniors’ access to necessary, timely care – it is disappointing that CMS has once again proposed reducing reimbursement rates to physical, occupational and speech therapy providers,” said Nikesh Patel, PT, Executive Director of APTQI. “Recognizing these cuts will total a full 9 percent by 2024, and the serious implications these cuts will have on providers and patient access, APTQI urges CMS to change course and not finalize this concerning proposal.”
In 2020, hundreds of lawmakers, a large coalition of specialty healthcare providers and more than 65,000 APTQI advocates voiced their opposition to specialty provider cuts to CMS and Congress. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, which has created unprecedented challenges for patients and providers, cuts to America’s healthcare professionals will only create additional patient barriers to care and put providers at greater financial risk.
Data show American seniors largely supported previous efforts in Congress to prevent the specialty cuts from taking effect in 2021. Further, more than three-fourths (76%) of senior voters polled would support Congress taking action to pass long-term reform to stabilize funding for primary care and medical specialists. And more than nine in 10 seniors (93%) said they believe it is important to have access to Physical Therapy Centers, where patients with pain, injuries or disabilities can receive treatment and recover from surgery. Recognizing the importance of this issue, Congress passed bipartisan legislation in December 2020 to ease the severity of the funding cuts to specialty providers – including physical, occupational, and speech therapists – which went into effect on January 1, 2021.
“Late last year, APTQI commended Congress for passing a bipartisan bill to alleviate cuts to specialty providers, including the physical, occupational, and speech therapy communities,” continued Patel. “While we welcomed the relief from Congress in 2021, the proposed 3.5 percent cut for CY2022 still puts providers at risk of incurring a full 9 percent payment cut by 2024. We look forward to again working with our champions in Congress to protect patients against these cuts and advance Medicare policies that protect America’s specialty care patients and providers.”
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