The ISMA this month joined the AMA and medical societies from all other states and the District of Columbia in a letter asking Congress to halt a nearly 4.5% cut to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Conversion Factor (CF) set to take effect Jan. 1. And, a legislative action alert to ISMA members resulted in hundreds of messages to Indiana’s congressional delegation.
Nearly 8.5% in total cuts to physician payments were detailed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in its final rule for the 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. The rule cuts the CF by $1.55 to $33.06 or nearly 4.5% from current levels. The decrease stems from the combination of an expiring 3% increase to the conversion factor previously enacted by Congress and a new 1.5% budget neutrality reduction related to payment changes for E/M services in non-office settings. A “PAYGO” waiver of 4% is also scheduled to go into effect to offset other government spending.
The Dec. 1 letter to congressional leaders from the AMA and state medical societies said halting the cuts in their entirety was necessary to provide financial stability for already struggling practices until permanent bipartisan reforms could be passed.
“The impending 4.5% Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) payment cut comes as medical practices throughout the country are experiencing pressures stemming from rising rates of inflation,” the letter said. “All health care stakeholders struggle to endure steep, annual payment reductions; however, the negative impact of such policy decisions is exacerbated by the fact that physicians are the only providers whose Medicare payments do not automatically receive an annual inflationary update.
“Burnout, stress, workload, and the cumulative impact of COVID-19 are leading 1 in 5 physicians to consider leaving their current practice within two years,” the letter continued. “Payment cuts will only accelerate this unsustainable trend and undoubtedly lead to Medicare patients struggling to access health care services.”
An ISMA VoterVoice alert emailed to members Thursday, Dec. 8, resulted in at least 450 messages sent to Indiana Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun and to Indiana’s nine U.S. House districts.
Congress was expected to take up the matter of halting the Medicare physician reimbursement cuts by Dec. 16, just after publication of this issue of ISMA Reports. ISMA will continue to keep members informed on developments related to these cuts.