October 9, 2020
You may have noticed several emails and posts from Aegis Therapies in the past couple months asking you to follow links created by the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care (NASL), to communicate with organizations and members of congress about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) CY2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Proposed Rule.
It may be tempting to think you’ve already communicated your feelings by clicking on one of the links in a previous call to action. We assure you, each call to action has a different impact, and if we know anything about how Washington works, it is that keeping pressure on, and our issue at the forefront of the minds of those making the decisions, is critical to success. So, PLEASE, open each message, click on each link and most importantly, every time you have an opportunity to customize or “append” a pre-written message, do so! We’ve heard from several capitol hill insiders that the messages that include a personal note are always given more weight.
While each call to action is specific to an individual action, including asking senators to sign on to a “Dear Colleague” letter, or a push to reach out to members of congress to discuss the issue with their leadership, the central issues of the proposed rule remain the same. The following is an overview of the proposal.
- Current statute requires spending to be budget neutral – this requires any increase in one proposed reimbursement to be offset by decreases in another.
- The 2021 schedule proposes sweeping changes to CPT code rates including:
- Significant increases to certain evaluation and patient management codes frequently billed by some physician specialties
- Significant decreases to other codes to offset increases, including an estimated 9% reduction for Physical and Occupational Therapy and 7% for Speech Therapy, as well as other decreases in services typically provided in skilled nursing and long term care facilities
Aegis, along with many of our industry partners and organizations such as NASL, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the American Health Care Association (AHCA), to name a few have all worked to share information and provide feedback about this concerning proposed legislation.
While we do not oppose CMS’s policy goal to increase payment for office/outpatient E/M codes for 2021; we believe that these increases should not come at the expense of services provided to patients in nursing homes and other long-term care settings. Couple this with providers already in a vulnerable position due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and these cuts will be disastrous to patient access to services.
If you have not already done so, please Contact your Member of Congress today and urge them to oppose significant cuts to patients’ rehab therapy and diagnostic services especially during the public health emergency.
Email your representative today by clicking on the following link: https://app.govpredict.com/portal/grassroots/campaigns/rurhcvww/take_action
In the coming months you will likely see more calls to action as we urge Congress to act and stop or delay the cuts before they take effect on January 1, 2021. Cuts to vital services needed by patients in long term care is too much during a pandemic, and the time for Congress to help us address these cuts is now.
As you see these messages come in, please take the time to click on the link, enter a personal message and hit send, and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
Share your #FightTheCut efforts on social media and help get the word out. You are an important advocate for our patients and our profession!