American College of Surgeons strongly opposes proposed cuts to surgical patient care

Proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule poses continued threat to surgical care

CHICAGO (July 14, 2021): Surgical care continues to be under threat in the proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for calendar year 2022 (CY2022) released yesterday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The American College of Surgeons (ACS) strongly opposes the cuts to surgical care contained within the proposed CMS fee schedule and urges Congress to address systemic challenges to stop the annual reductions in patient care.

“Our patients deserve a health care system that invests in surgical care. CMS is taking notable strides to improve health equity; however, this proposal would achieve the opposite by threatening patient access to critical treatments and procedures,” said ACS Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS. “The ACS stands ready to work with Congress toward a sustainable, long-term solution in the interest of all patients.”

The proposed rule from CMS maintains cuts to surgical care that Congress stopped last year. The Medicare conversion factor for CY2022 will be cut by 3.75 percent under the CMS proposed fee schedule. The conversion factor is the basic starting point for calculating Medicare payments. Updates to the conversion factor have failed to keep up with inflation. The result is that the conversion factor is only about 50 percent of what it would have been if it had been indexed to general inflation as it had been prior to 1998. The proposed CMS rule further emphasizes the need for continued intervention by Congress to protect patient care.

The ACS is a founding member of the Surgical Care Coalition, which advocates for access to quality surgical care for all Americans. The Surgical Care Coalition is comprised of 13 surgical professional associations that proudly represent the more than 150,000 surgeons working across the country with a common goal of improving the quality of care, and quality of life, for all patients.

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