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CMS seeks 4.42% physician fee cut in 2023

CMS has released its Medicare physician fee schedule proposed rule for 2023, which suggests further cuts to physician pay while inflation and the cost of running an independent practice continue to rise.

The rule would decrease the conversion factor by $1.53 to $33.08, representing a 4.42 percent drop. The current conversion factor is $34.61. 

CMS said the proposed conversion factor accounts for the expiration of the 3 percent increase in physician fee schedule payments for 2022 — as required by the Protecting Medicare and American Farmers From Sequester Cuts Act — and the budget neutrality adjustment for changes in relative value units.

Physicians have balked at the proposed payment cuts, arguing that continued cuts to the physician fee schedule would create long-term financial instability within the program and threaten patient access to Medicare-participating physicians.

"It is immediately apparent that the rule not only fails to account for inflation in practice costs and COVID-related challenges to practice sustainability, but also includes a significant and damaging across-the-board reduction in payment rates," Jack Resneck Jr., MD, president of the American Medical Association, said in a July 7 statement. "We will be working with Congress to prevent this harmful outcome."

The AMA said it is reviewing the proposed rule and will provide detailed comments later. The 60-day comment period closes on Sept. 6.

Other key provisions in the proposal include expanding access to behavioral health services, accountable care organizations, cancer screening and dental care.

Click here for more information on the proposal.

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