Musculoskeletal Organizations Support Bill to Mitigate Medicare Changes, Safeguard Care During COVID-19 Pandemic

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November 16, 2020

Musculoskeletal organizations (63) are supporting a bill to mitigate Medicare changes and safeguard care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The support is for H.R. 8702, the Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act of 2020.

In a November 16 letter to the bill’s sponsors, which include physician Representatives Ami Bera, Larry Bucshon, Roger Marshall, Phil Roe and Raul Ruiz, in addition to Representatives Brendan Boyle, George Holding and Abby Finkenauer, the group thanked them for introducing vital legislation that would mitigate Medicare cuts slated to go into effect in 2021 and allow for continued access to musculoskeletal services.

“Orthopaedic surgeons across the country play a critical role in safeguarding musculoskeletal health, treating bone cancers, chronic mobility problems, workplace injuries, and other pressing conditions,” wrote AAOS President Joseph A. Bosco III, MD, FAAOS. “It is essential that access to these services by the American public remain.”

Dr. Bosco continued by noting that practices are still struggling to treat backlogs of patients amid increasing demand for operating room time, rising COVID infection rates, and the continual need for access to musculoskeletal care for patients. He wrote, “Now is not the time to limit access to this essential care through destabilizing cuts to Medicare.”

The cuts being proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) would reduce the value of all orthopaedic surgical services by 5% plus an additional 5% for hip and knee replacements. The legislation backed by orthopaedic groups would allow these regulatory changes to go into effect while offering a relief payment to mitigate the impact on surgeons in 2021 and 2022 as the COVID pandemic endures.

“Our organizations are proud to offer our support for H.R. 8702, the Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act of 2020, and the two years of relief it will provide to Medicare orthopaedic professionals who are continuing to serve elderly and vulnerable populations across this country,” wrote Dr. Bosco. “We look forward to continuing to work with you as the champions of this vital legislation, to further congressional support and eventual passage of H.R. 8702 in upcoming congressional packages in 2020.”

In addition to leading this letter of support on behalf of the musculoskeletal community, the AAOS signed onto a similar November 11 letter from the larger medical community which can be found here.

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