WASHINGTON, DC— Following the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on H.R. 3674, physicians and patients are speaking up about the need for Congress to act quickly on the Providing Relief and Stability for Medicare Patients Act of 2023.
H.R. 3674 is bipartisan legislation that aims to stop ongoing cuts to office-based specialists for the next two years. By doing so, it helps prevent major disruptions in patient access to care while addressing concerns about the future of Medicare physician payments. Watch the explainer video on H.R. 3674 HERE.
Pastor Fred Hill of Lyman, South Carolina said, “Patients need certainty now. I like my local provider and the care I receive is excellent. Congress needs to know that patients like me count on office-based providers keeping their doors open. The last thing I want to do is have to drive further away and get treated in a crowded hospital.”
“The impact of these cuts is real for physicians who care for Medicare beneficiaries in a community-based, office setting, and will increasingly result in diminished access to care for Medicare patients seeking a variety of critical services in their neighborhood,” said Dr. Megan Tracci, Chair of the Society for Vascular Surgery’s Advocacy Council. “H.R. 3674 is a critical step to provide desperately needed stability for those most impacted by the clinical labor update policy.”
Legendary Harlem Globetrotter and PAD Amputee, Larry “Shorty” Coleman of Lawrenceville, GA said, “This is about health equity. People of color will get hit the hardest if we lose more community-based providers. Congress must protect access for Medicare patients to see the doctors we want in the setting that makes the most sense. We are more than just numbers on a spreadsheet.”
Dr. Bob Tahara, President of the Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society added, “Office based specialty care is a critical service outside of the hospital setting. These specialists provide a wide range of services to patients with end-stage renal disease, eye disease, fibroids, as well as limb salvage and venous ulcer needs. Maintaining the office setting is critical for patient access and patients receiving care in a timelier manner.”
“For at least a decade, office-based specialty centers have been closing, resulting in a significant loss of access in rural and underserved areas. Enactment of H.R. 3674 is a critical bridge to ensuring that patients with cancer and other life-threatening diseases can continue to receive timely access to care as Congress continues to work on broader reform to the Physician Fee Schedule,” said Dr. Dwight Heron, President of the American College of Radiation Oncology.
Dr. Mark Garcia, USPA board member and CMO for American Vascular Associates, said: “USPA supports this legislation because it will mean creating some stability for office-based providers who have suffered significant reimbursement cuts over the past several years. This bipartisan legislation will help curtail the current health care consolidation trend and protect outpatient access to quality care across the United States. Congress must act swiftly to help community based providers keep their doors open and eliminate the uncertainty facing patients and their doctors.”
Dr. Dean Preddie, the DVAC Policy Chair, said:
“DVAC is proud to support this legislation because, if passed, it would mean office-based providers, like those in vascular access centers, would finally get the stability they need. This new policy would protect access to quality care and even potentially begin to reverse the health care consolidation trend forcing specialty providers to close their doors nationwide. Congress must act swiftly, and this is a great step forward.”
Jeffrey G. Carr, MD, an Interventional Cardiologist, Endovascular Specialist, and CVC Board member, stated: “Office-based specialists play an essential role in our healthcare system. Without their care, patients are left with fewer options and, unfortunately, less specialized care that too often leads to avoidable, but grave consequences, like amputation. This new legislation would protect access to the quality care our nation needs. I know first hand what a struggle it is to stay in business when the reimbursement rates are so low because my group recently had to sell our practice to a local hospital.”