American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Bulletin Advocacy Brief: November 5

Legislation to Prevent E/M Cuts from Taking Effect Introduced in House of Representatives

Last week, U.S. Representatives Ami Bera, MD (D-CA); Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN); Brendan Boyle (D-PA); George Holding (R-NC); Raul Ruiz, MD (D-CA);  Phil Roe, MD (R-TN); Abby Finkenauer (D-IA); and Roger Marshall, MD (R-KS), introduced the Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act of 2020 (H.R. 8702), which would provide a critical lifeline for two years to specialties facing drastic Medicare payment cuts on January 1, 2021.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services calendar year 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule affirmed new policy changes that are detrimental to surgeons and surgical patients. Starting in the new year, CMS plans to increase the payment levels for stand-alone office and outpatient E/M codes, which will result in payment cuts to specialty medicine due to statutory requirements for budget neutrality under the MPFS. This bipartisan legislation would provide a payment adjustment to surgeons and other medical specialties, ensuring surgeons will not see payment cuts next year. The ACS and a group of 22 surgical organizations sent letters expressing strong support for the legislation

Visit SurgeonsVoice to take action and urge your Member of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 8702!

For more information on this legislation, please contact Carrie Zlatos, ACS Senior Congressional Lobbyist, at czlatos@facs.org.

Join the Surgical Care Coalition for Webinar on How Medicare Payments Cuts will Affect Rural Access to Surgical Care

Planned Medicare payment cuts will affect rural surgeons, many of which rely on Medicare payments to run their businesses. As private practices continue to grapple with the changing health care landscape and fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, our research shows that one in three private practice surgeons has already considered shutting down their practice. Furthermore, our most recent survey data also shows that one in three surgeons may need to reduce their Medicare patient intake because of the CMS rule. Find out what this means for rural populations by registering for a Surgical Care Coalition webinar now!

The webinar will take place on 7:00–8:00 pm Tuesday, November 10 and will feature three panelists from different Surgical Care Coalition member groups including:

  • Sharmila Dissanaike, MD, FACS, FCCM, chair, department of surgery, Texas Tech, Lubbock
  • J. David Richardson, MD, FACS, STS, professor and vice-chair of surgery, University of Louisville, KY, and ACS Past-President
  • Misty Humphries, MD, FACS, SVS, vascular surgery specialist and associate professor of surgery, UC Davis Health

The panel also will be joined by Brock Slabach, senior vice-president for member services at the National Rural Health Association, who will lend his expertise on the issue of rural medicine across the country. Find out what this means for rural populations by registering for this webinar, scheduled for Tuesday, November 10, 7:00–8:00 pm ET.

Register for the webinar today!