01 Nov Medicare cuts harming seniors’ access to surgical care set to take effect in less than two months
Surgical Care Coalition urges Congress to protect patients by passing H.R. 8800, the Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2022
WASHINGTON, November 1, 2022 – The 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) confirms the nearly 4.5 percent cut to surgeons and anesthesiologists, harming patient access to needed surgical care, the Surgical Care Coalition said today.
“At a bare minimum, Congress must pass H.R. 8800 to prevent these cuts whose effects would be to harm Americans most in need of care,” said Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS, American College of Surgeons Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. “Without Congressional action, vulnerable seniors’ nationwide access to timely, high quality, and essential surgical care will be negatively impacted. If allowed to go into effect, these reductions will be yet another blow to an already stressed healthcare system. The ACS has always been willing to work with Congress to find permanent solutions to this issue in the long term, but we must act now to preserve critical access for patients.”
Combined with a 4% Medicare cut stemming from the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, surgical care will face a nearly 8.5% Medicare cut on January 1, 2023. Meanwhile, significant medical inflation, along with staffing and supply chain shortages, continues to harm surgical care teams across the country.
Congress must take immediate action to protect patient access to surgical care by passing H.R. 8800, the Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2022.
“Patients deserve a more stable and durable Medicare system. Though more robust solutions are needed to create that reality, this bill would be a step in the right direction,” said John Ratliff, MD, American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Washington Committee Chair.
“The final rule comes amid surging medical inflation and staff retention challenges practices are experiencing across the country,” said George Williams, MD, American Academy of Ophthalmology Senior Secretary for Advocacy. “As the value of Medicare physician payments continues to plummet on an inflation-adjusted basis, the cuts will further diminish the financial support which surgical practices around the country rely on at a time when they need it most.”
“The myriad pressures facing our country’s health care system grow with each year, yet instead of pursuing long term-reform to stabilize the system, the annual cuts to Medicare further exacerbate the issue,” said Joseph Cleveland Jr., MD, Chair of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Council on Health Policy and Relationships.
“H.R. 8800 would provide invaluable support to patients in need of life-saving surgeries that remove and substantially reduce the risk of breast cancer,” said Nathalie Johnson, MD, FACS, American Society of Breast Surgeons President. “As breast cancer rates continue to rise, impacting millions of women each year, preventing the cuts scheduled to take effect in the new year through H.R. 8800 is vital to help breast surgeons continue to provide women with the care they need.”
“Millions of beneficiaries depend on Medicare to access sight-saving and sight-restoring procedures that are critical to improving their livelihoods and quality of life,” said Douglas Rhee, MD, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery President. “Further cuts to reimbursement are unsustainable. Congress must act now to stop the cuts to ensure seniors continue to have access to medically necessary procedures.”
“Congress should not allow politics to come in the way of protecting seniors from losing access to critical surgical care,” said Michael Champeau, MD, FASA, American Society of Anesthesiologists President. “Anesthesiologists stand with the surgical care community and over one million physicians and other health care professionals who support H.R. 8800 and the broader work that must be done to reform our healthcare system.”
“Congress must urgently pass H.R. 8800 and signal to millions of patients they deserve better than an unsustainable Medicare payment system which is out-of-touch with their needs,” said Michael Dalsing, MD, DFSVS, Society for Vascular Surgery President.