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Joint Response Regarding 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for Critical Care

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SEPTEMBER 2020


Joint Response Regarding 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for Critical Care

As described in the accompanying article on the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS), critical care providers’ payments are proposed to be cut by 8%. In response, the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Thoracic Society, and the Society of Critical Care Medicine generated a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Alex Azar to express dismay at the seemingly incongruous action during the COVID-19 pandemic when critical care services have met unprecedented demand.

The letter reminds Secretary Azar that members have been forced to work in less than ideal conditions, without adequate protective gear, and through equipment and drug shortages, putting themselves at significant risk of infection with COVID-19. As of early September, more than 1,100 critical care providers have contracted COVID-19 and died.

Further, the letter acknowledges that other medical special- ties had the opportunity to suspend their practice, postponing elective services, or moving to telemedicine platforms to continue treating patients. The options open to those groups are generally not available to critical care providers. When patients are critically ill, members of the critical care societies are at the bedside. As the signatories state, “And for this [commitment to treating the critically ill], critical care Medicare reimbursements will be cut by 8%.”

More than 100 physician organizations, representing nearly all medical specialties, have contacted HHS expressing support for using the public health emergency authority to waive budget neutrality to avert the further financial hardship on physician providers. The letter concludes, “For critical care physicians on the frontlines of the COVID response, relief from the impact of budget neutrality adjustments is essential.”

IN THIS ISSUE



Joint Response Regarding 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for Critical Care

Call to Comment on Proposed 2021 MPFS Fee Schedule Before October 5

CHEST Joins in Support for Bill to Ease Barriers to Oxygen Access

CHEST’s Biggest Event of the Year Is Almost Here

Clinician Matching Network Connects Hospitals with Health-care Workers


Health Policy and Advocacy Committee Initial Members and Staff

Staff and Ex Officio Members