Medicare Reimbursement Cuts Threaten Medical Practices

Medicare Reimbursement Cuts Threaten Medical Practices

Staff Report
Staff Report
|
July 19, 2023

The way Medicare reimburses physicians who treat our vulnerable – and valuable – senior population is in urgent need of reform.

For two decades, physicians have endured seemingly endless cuts to their reimbursements. While the cost of running a practice, after adjusting for inflation, has increased by nearly half since 2001, reimbursements have been slashed by 26%.

Because running a practice continues to get more expensive an increasing number of physicians are being forced to reduce their staffs and, in extreme cases, quit Medicare altogether.

A new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposal could make it much worse. CMS just proposed an additional 3.3% cut to physician reimbursements, an announcement that shocked providers and which the American Academy of Family Physicians said, “could threaten practice stability and undermine physicians’ goals of increasing access to primary care.”

The real burden ends up falling on seniors, who could lose access to quality physician care, especially in rural communities where access is already limited.

That’s why it’s all the more important that Congress accelerates its efforts to pass H.R. 2474, the Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act.

This bipartisan measure would apply a permanent inflation-based adjustment to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) conversion factor, the formula that determines how doctors get reimbursed for treating patients with Medicare. It would allow the MPFS to keep pace with the rising costs of operating practice and ideally prevent more physicians from walking away from Medicare.

It will also free Congress from the drudgery of continually negotiating temporary patches to the MPFS, which are always short-term and often insufficient.

Will Congress finally take seriously the slow-motion Medicare crisis unfolding before our very eyes?

Congress can no longer watch as physician payments continue to fall, doctors continue to leave Medicare, and patients continue to lose access to care.

This issue should be of special importance to Florida’s congressional delegation. The Sunshine State is home to the second-largest population of Medicare beneficiaries in the country – more than 4.8 million

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