The Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (APTQI), along with more than 60 organizations representing over one million physician and non-physician health care providers, call on Congress to enact provisions that will ensure continued Medicare beneficiary access to vital services and provide additional financial stability to the United States’ healthcare system.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the groups call attention to the financial turbulence instigated by the COVID-19 pandemic and describe how this instability was exacerbated by the significant reimbursement cuts included in the 2021 final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS).

While Congress passed bipartisan legislation to mitigate the scheduled cuts in 2021, the groups note that the law does not address the ongoing structural problems with the MPFS. As severe cuts again loom over specialty providers in 2022 and beyond, the groups caution that patient access could be seriously disrupted.

“Our medical practices, therapy clinics and practitioners must remain viable, so our nation can fully recover from this pandemic and continue to provide high-quality care focused on engaging patients, increasing the delivery of integrated, team-based care, expanding chronic disease management, and reducing hospital admission/readmission rates for beneficiaries residing in the community as well as those in long-term nursing facilities,” the coalition letter states.

To help stabilize the healthcare system, which has been battered by the pandemic, and to ensure Medicare beneficiaries do not lose access to the specialty services they require, the groups urge Congress to make a critical investment in the nation’s specialty care infrastructure. Specifically, they ask for an additional $3 billion investment in the MPFS for 2022 to mitigate expected reductions to the Medicare conversion factor.

This level of funding would equate to a 3.75% increase for all payments across the MPFS, allowing providers to address lengthy patient backlogs and additional delays and costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a new report by the American Medical Association, physical therapy saw a massive 34% reduction in spending between January and June 2020—one of the deepest cuts of any health specialty. Investing in the MPFS will go a long way toward helping ensure physical therapy providers can continue to serve patients in the face of these severe financial pressures.

“APTQI strongly supports the recommendations made in the letter. We look forward to working with Congress to ensure arbitrary Medicare cuts do not negatively impact the millions of seniors who rely on Medicare to meet their health needs.”

— Nick Patel, PT, Executive Director of APTQI

[Source(s): APTQI,]

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