Medicare Cuts to Vascular Surgery Ignore Realities of Pandemic and Will Harm Patient Care

The Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) urges Congress to stop the harmful Medicare cuts that will take effect in less than two months and will limit patient access to needed care; Majority of the U.S. House supports stopping the cuts.

WASHINGTON, November 2, 2021 – The Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) final rule released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) doubles down on the harmful 3.75 percent cut to surgeons and surgical practices that will harm patient access to care, which has already been significantly impacted by the pandemic, argues the SVS. 

An early anaylsis shows that this 3.75 percent cut combined with automatic Medicare cuts will slash Medicare payments to vascular surgery by 12.75 percent. Five percent of the cuts, related to changes in payment for clinical labor, will be phased in over four years, but 9% are slated to be put into effect on January 1, 2022. As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have already caused Americans to delay needed care, these cuts will only further exacerbate the strain on health care systems nationwide.  

While the Society for Vascular Surgery was successful in mitigating some of the more immediate impacts of the cuts proposed in the initial rule for 2022, the impact over time remains unchanged. Vascular surgeons must remain united in urging Congress to take action to stop the harmful cuts that will take effect in less than two months an reduce patient access to care.

“As vascular surgeons, we provide comprehensive care to a predominantly elderly, sick, and vulnerable population,” said Ali AbuRahma, MD, SVS President. “These cuts will further strain a health care system already on the brink of breaking, and will place the neediest patients in the greatest jeopardy for losing access to medically necessary services.”

Representatives Ami Bera, MD (D-Calif.) and Larry Bucshon MD (R-Ind.) recently led a bipartisan letter to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), signed by 247 U.S. Representatives and supported by 135 national medical groups, urging them to stop these harmful cuts. In these next few weeks, the SVS, alongside the Surgical Care Coalition, will continue to advocate Congress to protect patients and the care they need.  

About the SVS

The Society for Vascular Surgery is the leading not-for-profit, professional medical society on establishing causes and treatments for vascular disease. SVS seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research and public awareness and is composed of specialty-trained vascular surgeons who are dedicated to providing comprehensive care for vascular disease. For more information visit www.vascular.org. Follow the SVS on Facebook @VascularHealth, Twitter @VascularSVS and Instagram @societyforvascularsurgery.

About the Surgical Care Coalition

The Surgical Care Coalition advocates for access to quality surgical care for all Americans. The Surgical Care Coalition is comprised of 13 surgical professional associations that proudly represent the more than 150,000 surgeons working across the country with a common goal of improving the quality of care, and quality of life, for all patients.

Read Surgical Care Coalition press release. 

Contact Tara Spiess if you have any questions.