Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Patient Access to Surgical Care

Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Patient Access to Surgical Care

Without congressional action, harmful Medicare cuts are set to take effect in just six weeks

WASHINGTON, November 19, 2021 – Representatives Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) introduced legislation today that will protect patient access to surgical care by reversing the harmful payment cuts to surgeons and surgical practices set to take effect on January 1, 2022. The Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2021 (H.R. 6020) reflects the urgency in Congress as representatives realize time is running out to stop these significant cuts to patient care.

“The American College of Surgeons strongly supports the Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2021, which would extend critical relief to surgeons who are facing drastic Medicare payment cuts,” said American College of Surgeons Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS. “We applaud Representatives Bera and Bucshon for their continued leadership and their tireless efforts to ensure patients maintain access to the surgical care they need.”

“Congress needs to create stability in the health care system by stopping the immediate payment cuts to surgeons and other health care professionals while considering longer-term reforms to the payment system,” said American College of Surgeons Incoming Executive Director Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS. “Without action, the irresponsible cuts, set to take effect in less than two months, will jeopardize patient access to medically necessary services.”

The full text of the bill can be viewed here.

Background
· The Surgical Care Coalition believes the payment cuts to surgeons and surgical practices will harm patient access to care through an increase in retirements, office closures, staffing shortages, etc.

· The cuts to surgical care are set to take effect on January 1, 2022, meaning Congress has just six weeks to stop these cuts.

· A recent survey found that 57% of surgeons say the Medicare payment cuts to surgeons and surgical specialties will result in longer wait times for patients, and 56% of surgeons say that cuts will result in delays to patient care. On top of the delays to care, the survey found that 76% of surgeons say shortages caused by the pandemic have made an impact on surgical practices’ ability to provide top quality care.

About the Surgical Care Coalition

The Surgical Care Coalition advocates for access to quality surgical care for all Americans. The Surgical Care Coalition is comprised of 13 surgical professional associations that proudly represent the more than 150,000 surgeons working across the country with a common goal of improving the quality of care, and quality of life, for all patients.