NASS Insider


November 09, 2021


Fighting for my Patients and My Practice: A Physician Perspective on Getting Involved in the Political Process of Medicare Reimbursements


As physicians responsible for the direct care of our patients, we also need to be advocates. No one will fight harder for the needs of our practices and our patients than we will. We must get Congress to act on any issue that will directly affect access to care for our elderly and at-need patients. I recently contacted my representative over the looming 10% cut to Medicare reimbursements, in order to express how this would drastically affect my practice and patients. I can only imagine this might be devastating to other practices or even force closures and/or physicians to stop accepting Medicare patients.

For my colleagues who are not aware of this issue, on January 1, 2022, a combination of severe proposed cuts to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) will take effect. With physician practices still confronting financial and emotional strains due to the COVID-19 health emergency, many of us can ill-afford to bear additional uncertainty within the Medicare payment system. And, now isn’t the time to present an already vulnerable senior population with even more impediments to quality health care.

The reductions to Medicare physician payments beginning in 2022 include a 2% Medicare sequester that was paused in light of the pandemic, but this reprieve expires at the end of 2021; a 4% sequester as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that becomes effective in 2022; and expiration of a congressionally enacted 3.75% increase in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) conversion factor that was temporarily implemented to tackle increased costs derived from the public health emergency and avoid those payment cuts associated with budget neutrality adjustments resulting from Medicare policy changes.

Contacting my member of Congress was made simple with the help of the NASS Advocacy staff. You can directly connect with them through email by clicking here! I also urge you to reach out to your elected officials through social media and by phone. If you are having any issues contacting your lawmakers, please reach out to the NASS Advocacy staff at Advocacy@Spine.org.

Join me in telling Congress that we stand against these cuts and threatening our patients access to care!

Brian R. Gantwerker, MD, FAANS, FACS
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