NASS Insider

June 04, 2024

Congressional Committee Discusses Challenges Facing Independent Medicine

On May 23, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health convened a hearing titled, “The Collapse of Private Practice: Examining the Challenges Facing Independent Medicine.” Subcommittee Chairman Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) opened the hearing stating “it is crucial that Congress pursues sustainable solutions to ensure predictable and practical payments to physicians and cut bureaucratic red tape,” while Subcommittee Ranking Member Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) called on Congress to approve an inflationary update for traditional Medicare payments.

The committee heard from five witnesses, including Chris Kean, the COO for the San Antonio Orthopaedic Group. During the hearing, Ms. Kean discussed the burden imposed by prior authorization policies and the difficulty of operating under repeated federal reimbursement cuts. There was widespread agreement on the need to reform the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for the long-term. Members also discussed the provider burden associated with quality reporting programs and prior authorization, and the potential for site neutral payment policies to help keep independent practices in operation.