FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 2020  

Contact: Jason McKitrick
202-465-8711  

United Specialists for Patient Access Thanks Congress 
for Easing Specialty Payment Cuts
 

End-Of-Year Spending Package is Good First Step by Providing One-Year, 
3.75% Increase to the Physician Fee Schedule; Delaying Add-On Code for Three Years 

WASHINGTON – The United Specialists for Patient Access (USPA) – a broad-based coalition of providers who treat patients in the office-based setting – today commended Congress for taking action to ease the severe Medicare payment cuts that were set to go into effect on January 1.  In the end-of-year spending package, Congress delayed reimbursement cuts by adding $3 billion in funding into the Calendar Year (CY) 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and delaying the implementation of a primary care add-on code for three years.  Taken together, these policies are understood to mitigate the 2021 cuts to office-based providers by up to two-thirds. The legislative package also suspends the 2 percent sequester cuts for three additional months.

“Had Congress not taken action, many specialists would have been hit with cuts of up to 10 percent,” said Jason McKitrick, USPA Executive Director. “Such reductions would have been problematic at any time, but to have them occur during a pandemic would have been especially onerous.” 

While a temporary fix that does not fully eliminate the MPFS cuts in 2021, this legislation will offer much-needed relief to the more than 30 specialty providers slated for deep reimbursement reductions. “We urge the Congress to work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,” McKitrick continued, “to ensure that the additional $3 billion funding for the MPFS is implemented fairly to ensure MPFS cuts are mitigated uniformly for all physicians.”  

In addition, the USPA looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration in 2021 to advance policies that will provide payment stability to office-based providers.  “For too long, office-based specialists have been subject to severe strains under the Physician Fee Schedule,” McKitrick stated. “It’s well past time for Congress to implement new guardrails under the PFS for office-based specialists to ensure that wild swings in payments are a thing of the past.  Over and over, we have seen such reimbursement instability result in center closures and service migration to higher cost settings and subsequent loss of patient access, higher beneficiary copays, and utilization of higher cost services.” 

 

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About the United Specialists for Patient Access (USPA) 
The mission of United Specialists for Patient Access is to unify and strengthen the voice of office-based specialists, enabling professionals and patient advocates to work collaboratively with Congress and the Administration and achieve near-term relief and long-term payment stability in the Physician Fee Schedule.  For more information, please click here: https://www.uspaccess.org/