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FEDERAL | ASPS Cautions Shifts in Medicare Funding

ASPS and the Alliance of Specialty Medicine submitted letters to three congressional committees urging members to refrain from cutting Medicare funding for specialty medicine, which could threaten patient access to quality care.

Medical specialty societies have been very engaged as bipartisan efforts address these so-called Medicare extenders and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) advance. Yet, ASPS and the Alliance expressed concerns about the misvalued code target recapture. Through this proposal, Medicare would transfer funding away from specialists in order to fund primary care services. It is important to note that the AMA's Relative Value System Update Committee (RUC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have been working to identify potentially misvalued services. These ongoing efforts have squeezed value out of most specialty codes to the point where the target set by Congress cannot be met, resulting in reductions in the annual conversion factor for all physicians. When added to the annual two percent sequestration cut, ASPS and the Alliance believe this proposal will be detrimental to the Medicare program and risk inappropriately undervaluing physician services. Consequently, the Alliance urged the elimination of any provisions that sought to (1) extend the misvalued code target recapture; (2) expand the Medicare budget sequester beyond 2022; or (3) make additional cuts due to PAYGO violations.

ASPS and the Alliance of Specialty Medicine remain engaged on this issue as Congress deliberates budget and tax legislation before the end of the calendar year. ASPS will continue to monitor this issue and engage in order to ensure that patients and physicians are not negatively affected by shortsighted budgetary cuts.

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