Physicians and Other Healthcare Clinicians Launch a Week of Action to Prevent Devastating Cuts to Medicare, Harming Patients

WASHINGTON, December 5, 2022 – Over one million physician and non-physician healthcare clinicians joined together in a letter calling on congressional leadership to protect patients by stopping the full cut to Medicare payments set to take effect on January 1, 2023. The letter kicks off a Week of Action calling on congressional leaders to protect lifesaving and life-changing care for the nation’s most vulnerable patients. Throughout the week, representatives from healthcare organizations across the country will contact their members of Congressthrough direct phone calls, e-mails, and social media—to emphasize the harmful impact these cuts would have to their Medicare patients.

Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, American College of Surgeons and member of Surgical Care Coalition: “Any cut to such lifesaving and life-altering care is unacceptable. As Congress contemplates protecting America’s seniors from such cuts, our leaders must also consider that further cuts would exacerbate the record inflation that has already impacted surgeons across the nation.”

Jack Resneck Jr., MD, President, American Medical Association: "The AMA strongly urges Congress to pass legislation that stops - in its entirety - the impending 4.5% cut to Medicare physician payments before January 1, 2023.  Any cuts, especially as we face the likely prospect of a “triple-demic” this winter,  threaten health care access for seniors. During COVID – and now with inflationary pressure -- physician practices have struggled to keep their doors open and continue to treat Medicare patients. Cutting any payments at this time is unconscionable."

John K. Ratliff, MD, Chair of the Washington Committee, American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons and member of the Surgical Care Coalition: “Congress must live up to its promise to maintain a stable Medicare program for our nation’s seniors. During a time when neurosurgical practices are facing steep inflation coupled with a system that fails to keep pace with the costs of delivering care, it would be Congressional malpractice if lawmakers fail to prevent the entire 4.5% Medicare physician payment cut.”

Ryan D. Mire, MD, MACP, President, American College of Physicians: “As an internal medicine physician caring for patients in a primary care practice in Nashville, Tennessee, I am deeply concerned about the impact that these cuts will have on Medicare beneficiaries’ access to care. Physicians are now faced with a drastic cut in payments at the same time that inflation is surging upwards. Congress needs to intervene promptly and stop the scheduled cuts to Medicare payments, as America’s seniors and physicians deserve better.”

Aaron Bishop, Vice President of Public Affairs, American Physical Therapy Association: “Physical therapy is proven to significantly reduce the costs of pain treatment, decrease the use of opioids, prevent falls, and effectively manage chronic conditions, yet it has been cut year after year under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule despite additional funding provided by Congress. Therapy clinics and facilities are facing unprecedented payment challenges and administrative burdens that are exacerbated by the current surge in inflation. This is simply unsustainable for the patients we serve.”

Tochi Iroku-Malize, MD, MPH, MD, FAAFP, President, American Academy of Family Physicians: “Family physicians are struggling with the financial strain of a pandemic, inflation, a clinical staffing crisis, and ever-increasing administrative requirements. Medicare physician payment hasn’t kept pace with practice expenses, and on top of that, all clinicians are facing an across-the-board 4.5% cut next year. Any payment cut is untenable and jeopardizes beneficiaries’ access to care.”

William T. Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR, Chief Executive Officer, American College of Radiology: “Many imaging practices, already reeling from COVID-19’s economic impact, cannot withstand another round of Medicare cuts. Exams such as cancer screenings plummeted during the pandemic and have not fully rebounded. This drop may yet lead to more cancer deaths. Cutting funding now can force more practices to cut back services or close altogether, further restricting access to lifesaving services and causing real patient harm.”

Judy Rich, EdD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, 2022 President, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: “Arbitrary cuts to Medicare reimbursement of this magnitude, combined with other payment pressures and program inadequacies, continue to threaten beneficiary access to critical hearing, balance, speech, language, swallowing, and cognitive care that audiologists and speech-language pathologists provide. ASHA urges Congress to act now to protect access to this critical care by stopping the full 4.5% Medicare Conversion Factor cut scheduled to take effect next year.” 

Alyson D Stover, MOT, JD, OTR/L, BCP, President, American Occupational Therapy Association: “The looming 4.5% cut to the Medicare physician payments risks an exponential decrease in an already exhausted and overburdened health care workforce, threatening the safety, health, and wellness of millions of Americans. AOTA implores Congress to stop these proposed cuts to payment before January 1, 2023. Occupational therapy has proven to reduce hospital readmissions, decrease falls, and improve mental health experience, all while increasing an individual’s ability to participate with their maximal physical, cognitive, and behavioral independence. These cuts threaten to eliminate access to occupational therapy services leading to devastating outcomes for Americans and the US healthcare system.”

Read the letter to congressional leadership.