ASNC Sends Message to Hill against Payment Equalization

On May 21, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing on Medicare site-of-service reforms. The hearing examined the pros and cons of site neutral payments for services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries, with specific consideration of two pieces of legislation: H.R. 76 2869, a proposal that would require Medicare to pay for cancer services at the same rate regardless of the site of service, and H.R. 4673, which would combine post-acute care payments into one reimbursement payment, or bundle.

Specifically citing echocardiography and nuclear cardiology in his written testimony, Mark Miller, executive director Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), said that payment variation across settings require "immediate attention" because of the migration of services from freestanding offices to the higher paid hospital outpatient department setting.

In anticipation of Miller's testimony, ASNC, the American Society of Echocardiography, and Cardiology Advocacy Alliance issued a statement that was submitted by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) for the hearing record. Picking up on the key message of the statement, during the hearing Rep. Burgess suggested that the committee "must not create a race to the bottom" with Medicare reimbursement. Rep. Burgess added that the lowest payment is not always the most appropriate payment. Rather, he said the focus should be on paying for better outcomes.

Establishing site neutral payments have repeatedly been raised as a way to help pay for repeal of the SGR.