Neurosurgeons ask Congress to intervene in CMS' 'ill-informed and dangerous' Medicare payment cuts


The American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons announced their opposition to CMS' Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rule for 2021, which would reduce neurosurgeon reimbursement rates by at least 7 percent. 

"Now is not the time to reduce payments for surgical care," Ann Stroink, MD, neurosurgeon and chair of the AANS/CNS Washington Committee, said in an Aug. 4 statement. "The Medicare payment rule will challenge an already fragile healthcare system."

AANS and CNS have asked Congress to waive Medicare's budget neutrality requirements to prevent the cuts and require CMS to apply the increased evaluation and management payment adjustments to all 10- and 90-day global surgery codes.

The proposal is an "ill-informed and dangerous policy, " according to Dr. Stroink, which could lead to neurosurgeons taking fewer Medicare patients, resulting in longer wait times and reduced access to care for older Americans. 

Neurosurgical practices are already struggling with the financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed cuts would heap even more stress on a healthcare system that is in severe financial stress, Dr. Stroink said.

The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons has also urged CMS to reconsider the rule.

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