Doctors’ Medicare Pandemic Pay Bump to Expire in 2022

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued the 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule on November 2, 2021, which, as reported in a Bloomberg Law report, “erases the 3.75% increase awarded in 2021 under the Consolidated Appropriations Act to “provide relief during the COVID-19 public health emergency,” resulting in a decrease in Medicare reimbursements for “several specialties, including interventional radiology, vascular surgery, radiation oncology, and cardiology.” At the same time, other specialty providers like “diagnostic testing facilities, portable x-ray, podiatry, hand surgery and geriatrics” will see payment increases. In addition, the final rule expanded certain telehealth benefits through December 31, 2023 that were added as a result of the pandemic.

Two members of Congress sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, that was signed by 247 House members, “calling for action to stop the potential cuts,” while the Surgical Care Coalition and the American Society of Thoracic Surgeons both objected to the final rule, urging congressional action in order to avoid any potential cuts in Medicare reimbursements on an already strained health system. The complete final rule can be viewed here.