The American College of Radiology (ACR) has applauded Congress’ passage of the “Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act,” a bipartisan legislative package that will mitigate a significant portion of the Medicare-related payment cuts slated for implementation January 1.
Without Congressional action, these cuts would have exacerbated already existing healthcare disparities in rural and urban areas and threatened patient access to healthcare services, according to the ACR.
“We are thankful Congress intervened to provide stability within the healthcare system for both patients and healthcare providers,” adds Howard B. Fleishon, MD, MMM, FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors. “However, we must begin to look beyond these short-term fixes. The ACR looks forward to working with Congress to address the ongoing structural problems associated with Medicare’s broken payment system.”
The legislation includes provisions that:
- Increase the Medicare conversion factor rate for physicians by 3% for calendar year 2022.
- Push into 2023 the balances on the statutory pay-as-you-go scorecards that would otherwise trigger funding cuts next year.
- Suspend for three months, through March 31, a 2% automatic cut to Medicare payments required under the 2011 Budget Control Act and then suspend for the next three months, through June 30, the automatic cut to Medicare payments from 2% to 1%.
- Delay implementation for one year a radiation oncology payment model under a 2020 rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
- Eliminate a 15% reduction in payments for clinical diagnostic lab tests for 2022 and then extend the 15% reduction through 2025.
ACR’s grassroots efforts played an integral role in the bill’s passage, according to association officials. President Biden signed the legislation into law on Thursday, December 9.