CHICAGO — In detailed comments (PDF) released today concerning the Medicare Physician Payment Schedule, the American Medical Association (AMA) expressed concern that patients insured by Medicare stand to lose access to their physicians unless steps are taken to strengthen the program.
At the same time, the AMA said patients would benefit from the expansion of telehealth services included in the schedule.
“As you know, the AMA is deeply alarmed about the growing financial instability of the Medicare physician payment system due to a confluence of fiscal uncertainties physician practices face related to the ongoing pandemic, statutory payment cuts, lack of inflationary updates, and significant administrative barriers. The payment system is on an unsustainable path that is jeopardizing patient access to physicians,” the AMA said in its letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.
“The resulting discrepancy between what it costs to run a physician practice and actual payment, combined with the administrative and financial burden of participating in Medicare, is incentivizing market consolidation.”
Reforming the Medicare physician payment system continues to be one of the AMA’s top advocacy priorities. Late last year, physician advocates from across the country united to successfully persuade Congress to delay a perfect storm of Medicare payment cuts that, if enacted, would have severely impeded patient access to care. Unfortunately, if Congress does not act by the end of the year, these delayed cuts, and some new ones, will take effect in 2023 and cause serious disruption to physician practices.
The AMA and our partners in organized medicine have developed a set of principles (PDF) to guide advocacy efforts on Medicare physician payment reform. This work is a central plank of the AMA’s Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians and represents our ongoing push to establish a rational Medicare physician payment system.
The recovery plan also recognizes that telehealth is critical to the future of health care, and in the letter to CMS, the AMA expressed its strong support for continuing the expanded access to physician services delivered through telehealth that became available to patients with Medicare during in the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Patients all over the country, not just in rural areas, need to continue to be able to receive telehealth services in their homes or wherever they are located.
Read the entire letter (PDF).
AMA Media & Editorial
ph: (312) 464-4430
About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.