October 01, 2019

ACR Urges Congress to Suspend Budget Neutrality for E/M Changes in CY 2020 MPFS Proposed Rule

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) not to go forward with a proposed policy to significantly reallocate payments within the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2021 toward Medicare evaluation and management (E/M) services.

The proposed policy would greatly benefit some physicians, but penalize many who rarely bill for E/M services, including radiologists and radiation oncologists.

Due to the potential impact of this proposal, the College is calling on the Congress to intervene. ACR will ask the Congress to suspend budget neutrality requirements in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and act to prevent physicians who rarely bill for E/M services from bearing the costs of increasing E/M payments to others.

The ACR supports reducing physician burden and paperwork requirements in documenting their services, another provision within this proposal, but this should not be done on a budget neutral basis that shifts the cost of such proposals to other providers.

“E/M services account for about one quarter of all Medicare dollars. The proposed CMS policy would reallocate tens of billions of those dollars, which goes beyond the appropriate scope of the power of the Executive branch and rightly deserves to be debated in Congress. Only Congress can waive the “zero sum game” of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. ACR will work to get legislation to remedy this proposal considered by Congress,” said William T. Thorwarth, MD, FACR, chief executive officer, American College of Radiology.