Physical Therapy Providers Call for Long-Term Solutions as 2023 Medicare Payment Cuts Take Effect

While Congress passed partial, temporary relief in the 2022 year-end omnibus, specialty providers seek policies to stabilize the sector in year ahead  

Washington, DC – While commending lawmakers in Congress for passing bipartisan legislation to ease the impacts of payment cuts to specialty providers in 2023—including physical, occupational, and speech therapists—the Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation stressed the need for long-term reforms to stabilize providers in 2023 and beyond as lawmakers return to Washington.

Congress provided partial relief to the scheduled -4.5% Medicare cuts to physicians and other Medicare providers by reducing the cut to -2.5% in 2023, which went into effect January 1. Congress also delayed the implementation of the -4% PAYGO sequestration cut, providing temporary reprieve to providers under serious financial pressure amid rising inflation, high labor costs, and the continued negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While Congress took action to mitigate the steep -4.5% payment cut to Medicare providers in 2023, lawmakers failed to address the urgent need for more long-term solutions to Medicare payment for the good of patients and their care providers,” said Nikesh Patel, PT, Executive Director of APTQI. “The fact remains that providers cannot continue to operate under the stress of annual payment cuts. We look forward to working with the new Congress to finally advance policies to ensure the stability therapy practices need to continue providing care to older Americans and Medicare beneficiaries.”

APTQI, its member organizations, and its coalition partners broadly supported bipartisan legislation (H.R. 8800) to prevent these most recent Medicare cuts to physicians and specialty providers by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule in 2023.

“As the 118th Congress is sworn in this week, APTQI echoes our message to lawmakers that we simply cannot continue to operate under the weight of these harmful cuts without making adjustments to patient care,” continued Patel. “It is incumbent upon this new Congress to advance the long-term Medicare reforms the broader healthcare community has been calling for since the conversation rate policy was originally applied.”

Polling from Morning Consult and APTQI in 2022 found that nearly nine-in-ten voters are concerned about physical and occupational therapy closures and limiting options beyond nursing homes, underscoring Americans’ deep concern about the impact of these dangerous payment cuts.