New Legislation Protects Surgeons from Devastating Medicare Payment Cuts
Legislation recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives will protect SGO members and other surgical specialties and health care professionals from the devastating Medicare payment cuts the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be implementing to offset the costs of providing payment increases for office-based Evaluation and Management (E/M) services and other complex office-based care. H.R. 8702, The Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act of 2020, is bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA-7th) and Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN-8th) that will prevent the Medicare physician payment cuts from taking place on Jan. 1, 2021—with an estimated 4.5% – 5% in payment cuts for gynecologic oncology. This legislation will hold harmless surgical care and other health care professionals from payment cuts for two years while CMS moves forward with implementing the payment increases for office E/M codes and complex office-based care.
Joining Reps. Bera and Bucshon as original co-sponsors of H.R. 8702 are Rep. Brendan Boyle, [D-PA-2nd], Rep. George Holding, [R-NC- 2nd], Rep. Raul Ruiz, [D-CA-36th], Rep. Phil Roe, [R–TN-1st], Rep. Abby Finkenauer, [D-IA-1st], and Rep. Roger Marshall, [R-KS-1st].
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill need to hear from SGO members to understand that if implemented, the Medicare payment cuts will jeopardize the viability of many surgical practices struggling to regain financial stability and meet the needs of patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic. New Medicare payment reductions could not come at a worse time, especially given the current surge in coronavirus cases in areas around the country. Passage of H.R. 8702 would prevent the 4.5% – 5% payment cuts for gynecologic oncology scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1 and help preserve patient access to quality gynecologic oncology care in these challenging times.
All SGO members are strongly urged to visit the SGO website to send a prewritten email message to your U.S. Representative requesting co-sponsorship of H.R. 8702. The lame duck session of Congress is the last opportunity to block the Medicare cuts before they take effect on Jan. 1, so time is of the essence to put pressure on lawmakers to resolve this issue. This Bera-Bucshon legislation will only pass Congress in this short timeframe if it can secure overwhelming bipartisan support. Please visit the SGO website Washington Alert to send an email message to your U.S. Representative to co-sponsor this important bill and block the Medicare payment cuts.