Advocacy Update - Medicare Physician Payment Reform Begins: ASNC Joins Coalition Outlining Principles to Guide Change

Last week, ASNC joined the American Medical Association and many other national specialty societies in support of principles that will guide the physician community's advocacy efforts on Medicare physician payment reform. This document represents the first stage in medicine's effort to develop and propose substantial changes to the payment system to improve the financial viability of physician practices and ease administrative burdens

How We Got Here

For the past two years, Congress has intervened to prevent cuts to Medicare physician payments caused by adjustments to the fee schedule that are required to maintain budget neutrality following changes to evaluation and management office visit payment and coding rules.

Now, a 3 percent payment cut is looming for 2023, and the Medicare payment update is statutorily set at zero through 2025 with increases of just 0.25 percent for 2026 and beyond. In addition, physician payments are at risk under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, and Medicare sequestration is returning.

Moving Forward

With Medicare physician fee schedule cuts on autopilot, the physician community is coming together to re-envision the Medicare payment system with a focus on three overriding problems:

  1. Budget neutrality; 
  2. Payment updates that have fallen behind medical inflation; and
  3. The administrative burden associated with participation in the Quality Payment Program.  

It will take time to achieve fundamental restructuring of the physician payment system. The current priority is laying the foundation for reforms while minimizing the damage of looming cuts in the short term.

Stay tuned to ASNC for updates on this evolving issue