Continuing the Fight to Avert Impending Medicare Cuts

Melissa M. Chen, MD, member of the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Commission on Economics, contributed this article.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, increased Medicare payments to providers who often bill using evaluation and management (E/M) current procedural terminology codes will result in drastic payment cuts to radiologists and other specialty providers. The radiology community continues to march on in our efforts to preclude these looming cuts.

The ACR is committed to keeping members informed of critical details and the latest updates. The Radiology Cuts Due to Medicare Evaluation and Management Changes: What You Need to Know section on acr.org is continually updated with E/M resources, including breaking news, impact tables, detailed summaries and more.

In addition, I’m looking forward to participating in the panel for the Medicare Cuts: What You Need to Know virtual Town Hall on Oct. 29 at 8pm ET alongside five other expert colleagues, including Howard Fleishon, MD, MMM, FACR; Lauren P. Golding, MD; Geraldine McGinty, MD, FACR; Gregory N. Nicola, MD, FACR and William T. Thorwarth, Jr., MD, FACR. We hope that you will join us.

The ACR is also leading a coalition of over 50 healthcare provider organizations to urge Congress to waive the budget neutrality requirements within the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule to provide relief from reimbursement cuts associated with changes to E/M codes. Recently, the coalition sent a letter to Representatives Mike Burgess, MD (R-TX), and Bobby Rush (D-IL), to recognize their leadership in introducing H.R. 8505, legislation that would support our efforts to waive budget neutrality requirements stipulated in Section 1848(c)(2) of the Social Security Act for the impending E/M code changes. And, on Oct. 9, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), wrote to both Senate leadership and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee urging Congressional action to waive budget neutrality requirements or hold healthcare providers harmless from these cuts. In her letter, Sen. Collins also emphasized the negative impact these reductions would have on both physician and non-physician providers and their patients, especially as the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Register to attend the Medicare Cuts: What You Need to Know virtual Town Hall on Oct. 29 at 8pm ET to continue this important discussion regarding the impact of these ill-advised Medicare cuts, steps the ACR has taken to counter them and actions radiologists and allied professionals can take that may help avert them.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and join the discussion on Engage (login required).

Radiology’s Role in Health Equity

Efren J. Flores, MD, Officer, Radiology Community Health & Equity at Massachusetts General Hospital, contributed this post.  

Advancing health equity is a team-based effort in which we all play a vital role. To advance equitable care across all communities, we must come together to take action and overcome structural barriers that include racial, socio-economic and geographic barriers, among others. I recently had the privilege of co-moderating, along with Lucy B. Spalluto, MD, MPH, the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) and American Medical Association’s Understanding and Pursuing Health Equity: Opportunities to Take Action webinar. The webinar brought together several health equity experts from different institutions to discuss radiology’s role in pursuing health equity.

As radiologists, we are strategically positioned to lead collaborative efforts to address and overcome health disparities. Our involvement in the full continuum of patient care lends us an opportunity to step into the forefront of advancing health equity — and we have the skill set, technology and commitment to move this forward.

Whether we harness the technology of artificial intelligence (AI) or lean on support from our advocacy networks, we can work to eliminate the racial, socio-economic and geographical barriers to quality care. While this requires a multifaceted approach, some suggestions to consider include advocating for increased insurance coverage to improve access to care, utilizing AI-powered personalized care through patient outreach and care coordination, offering scheduling flexibility in our services, cost transparency and financial counseling, and leveraging radiology encounters to advance telehealth. Together, we can lead these efforts to bridge the disparities gap.

You can now access the full webinar recording on-demand and earn credits. In addition, the ACR offers other free resources to help you address health equity such as the September 2020 ACR Bulletin special issue on health equity and newly released PHM in Your Practice Podcast.

Together, we can lead the effort to reduce the health disparity gap, advance health equity and ensure high quality care for all.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and join the discussion on Engage (login required).

Join the Fight Against Radiology Cuts Due to Medicare E/M Changes

Howard B. Fleishon, MD, MMM, FACR, Chair of the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Board of Chancellors, contributed this post.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, increased Medicare payments to providers who often bill using evaluation and management (E/M) current procedural terminology (CPT®) codes will result in drastic payment cuts to radiologists and other physician specialty and non-physician providers. Please know that the ACR has fought — and will continue to fight -— these Medicare changes using every means at its disposal. 

The ACR has assembled a coalition of more than 50 other medical societies to urge Congress to waive the budget neutrality requirement for these E/M increases mandated by the CY 2021 Physician Fee Schedule.

Without this waiver, radiology payments will be cut by 11% next year. With the financial impact practices already face as a result of COVID-19, this action will harm providers and patient access to care.

I’d like to highlight our latest efforts to counter these ill-advised Medicare changes and let you know how you can join the fight to protect your practice and patients. 

  • On Oct. 29 at 8pm ET, the ACR will host the Medicare Cuts: What You Need to Know virtual Town Hall. Join us for this one-hour event to discuss these Medicare cuts, steps the ACR has taken to counter them and actions radiologists and allied professionals can take to help avert them.
  • The ACR continually updates the Radiology Cuts Due to Medicare Evaluation and Management Changes: What You Need to Know section with the latest E/M News and resources including impact tables and a detailed, radiology-specific summary highlighting the impact of the changes.
  • We’re also empowering members to take part in grassroots efforts to urge their members of Congress to support the budget neutrality waiver (and avoid these cuts).

Your ACR team is committed to supporting our radiology community. We will continue the fight against these ill-advised Medicare cuts to safeguard radiology practices and ensure the highest quality of care for our patients.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and join the discussion on Engage (login required).