Shaheen, Collins push Senate leaders to delay payment cuts to help suppliers stay afloat during pandemic

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08 December 2021

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) today sent a bipartisan letter to Senate leaders urging an extension of the moratorium on Medicare escrow as well as 2021 Medicare Physician Payments Adjustment. As the end of the month approaches, hospitals and physicians are facing a shortfall of billions of dollars in Medicare payments that have helped them cope with the soaring costs during the pandemic – unless those cuts are pushed back.

“The current Medicare sequestration moratorium and the 3.75% Medicare 2021 physician payment adjustment is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2021.,wrote the senators. “Without immediate congressional action, these changes will result in a 5.75% reduction in supplier payments and billions of dollars lost in vital funding. Without immediate action, these reductions will begin just as providers are likely to see an increase in patient numbers in the new year. “

“As we continue our work through the end of the year, we urge you to ensure that the moratorium on the sequestration and adjustment of medicare physician payment 2021 is extended until the end of the year. ‘public health emergency’ the senators concluded.

In addition to Senators Shaheen and Collins, the bipartisan letter was co-signed by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS) , Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Angus King (I-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

In April, President Biden signed legislation led by Shaheen and Collins to prevent reductions in Medicare payments to health care providers from taking effect for the remainder of the year, while health care providers are on the hook. taken with the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and Senate. The previous month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – heeding appeals from Shaheen and Collins – asked Medicare contractors to keep claims with dates April 1, 2021 and beyond to ensure providers don’t are not harmed by Medicare payment cuts while Congress worked on legislation to avoid these payment cuts. Additionally, Senators Collins and Shaheen led Congress’ efforts to protect the Provider Relief Fund, which helped prevent healthcare providers from going out of business.

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Schumer Majority Leader and McConnell Minority Leader,

We are writing to you today to request immediate relief for our frontline health care providers. As we continue our ongoing work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge you to extend the current moratorium on Medicare sequestration and adjustment of Medicare 2021 physician payments until the end of the year. public health emergency.

Despite continued progress in immunizing Americans, COVID-19 continues to strain the resources of our providers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 7-day moving average of new daily cases remains well above 80,000. Hospitalizations have also increased by a corresponding 5%. In several states, the availability of intensive care beds is declining. As winter sets in, cases are expected to continue to rise as families stay indoors and travel for the upcoming holiday season. We’re also hearing reports about the potential impact of the Omicron variant, which the World Health Organization recently warned poses a very high risk of global spread, and which has already been reported in five states. United.

The current moratorium on Medicare sequestration and the 3.75% Medicare 2021 physician payment adjustment is expected to expire on December 31, 2021. Without immediate action from Congress, these changes will result in a 5.75% reduction in physician payments. suppliers and billions of dollars lost in vital funding. . These cuts will begin just as providers are likely to see an increase in patient numbers in the new year.

As we continue our work through the end of the year, we urge you to ensure that the 2021 Moratorium on Sequestration and Adjustment of Medicare Physician Payments is extended until the emergency is over. public health. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

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