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

Legislative and Regulatory Updates

*New* More than Half the U.S. House of Representatives Urge Leaders to Act to Protect Patient Access to Surgical Care

Representatives Ami Bera, MD (D-CA); Larry Bucshon, MD, FACS (R-IN); Brendan Boyle (D-PA); George Holding (R-NC); Raul Ruiz, MD (D-CA); Roger Marshall, MD (K-RS); Abby Finkenauer (D-IA); Brad Wenstrup, DPM (R-OH) and 221 colleagues, sent a letter on October 19, 2020 to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging them to protect patients by stopping planned Medicare cuts that will impact physicians across the country.

The bipartisan letter outlines the impact these cuts will have on the health care system and calls for Congress to act and stop them from taking effect on January 1, 2021.

"Payment cuts of this magnitude will surely strain a health care system that is already stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic and could jeopardize patient access to medically necessary services," write Reps. Bera and Bucshon. "In order to safeguard beneficiaries' access to care during this pandemic, we as Congress should examine possible bipartisan solutions to address excessively steep cuts. We encourage you to incorporate the resulting policy changes in any upcoming legislation moving through the House."

Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a new Medicare Physician Fee Schedule set to take effect on January 1, 2021, which will cut Medicare payments for surgical care by up to 9 percent for some specialties. This rule would be harmful without COVID-19 but is especially reckless given the pandemic. It will force surgeons around the country to make tough decisions, such as deciding between keeping their practice open and cutting costs like new staff, Medicare patient intake and new surgical technologies.

"Now is not the time to cut Medicare payments for any health care providers, which could jeopardize the care of older Americans," said ACS Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS. "We are grateful to Reps. Bera and Bucshon, who are also physicians, for their leadership and support in ensuring patients continue to have access to surgical care they need."

The ACS continues its efforts to advocate on behalf of surgeons and stop the Medicare cuts. This letter is an example of that advocacy, but we continue to need your help! In just five minutes, you can write to Congress and urge them to act now to stop the cuts—click here!

All It Takes Is Three Clicks—Tell Your Congressman to Say "No!" to Medicare Cuts

With the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services planning to implement payment cuts of up to 9 percent for surgical specialties in the next calendar year—jeopardizing operations for medical institutions and patient access to care while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread—it is critical that Congress take action to prevent these decreases. And as a surgeon whose perspective is highly valued by your representatives, your voice could be just the thing to get them to act.

You can tell your representative to say "No!" to Medicare cuts in just three clicks—go to SurgeonsVoice, fill out your information and submit your letter. This simple action could make all the difference in helping maintain patient access to vital surgical care.

Act now!