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HomeHealthWhy Industry Groups Are Decrying CMS’ Physician Fee Schedule Proposal - MedCity...

Why Industry Groups Are Decrying CMS’ Physician Fee Schedule Proposal – MedCity News

Why Industry Groups Are Decrying CMS’ Physician Fee Schedule Proposal – MedCity News

Katie Adams

On Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed rule for next year’s Medicare physician fee schedule. 

The proposed rule would cut physician’s payment rates by 2.8%. Industry groups reacted with swift outrage, arguing that physician reimbursement needs to keep up with the pace of inflation.

Under the proposal, the conversion factor used to determine physician reimbursement rates for treating Medicare beneficiaries would decrease from $33.29 this year to $32.36 in 2025.

In the hours that followed CMS’ announcement, several industry groups released statements protesting the rule — including the American Medical Association (AMA), Premier, Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), National Association of Accountable Care Organizations (NAACOS) and Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (SCAI).

With the new proposal, CMS is seeking to cut physicians’ Medicare payments for a fifth consecutive year, AMA President Dr. Bruce Scott pointed out in his statement.

He also noted that on top of the payment reduction, CMS predicts that the Medicare Economic Index, which measures inflationary changes in the costs of providing physician services, will increase by 3.6%. 

Dr. Scott urged Congress to pass a reform package aimed at strengthening Medicare, stating that this type of legislation is necessary given the expanding gap between the amount CMS pays and the increasing cost of delivering quality care.

“Physician practices cannot continue to absorb rising costs while their payment rates dwindle,” he wrote. “The death by a thousand cuts continues. Rural physicians and those treating underserved populations see this CMS warning as another reminder of the painful challenges they face in keeping their practices open and providing care. It’s crucial that we ensure both continue.”

Another physician leader — Dr. Steven Furr, president of the AAFP — also declared that Congress needs to take action to ensure that Medicare physician reimbursement keeps up with the rising cost of providing care.

As an initial step, he recommended Congress establish an annual inflationary update to help physician payment rates stay in alignment with increasing costs of running a practice.

“Additionally, family physicians need a payment system that enables them to invest in practice transformation and adopt alternative payment models — something that is out of reach for most primary care practices given the long history of undervalued payment for primary care. Without reform, the current Medicare payment system will further destabilize primary care physician practices, accelerate consolidation, and further erode the primary care physician workforce,” Dr. Furr stated.

Photo: sorbetto, Getty Images

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