Dear Administrator Verma,
I am writing in response to the request for comments on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently proposed 2021 revisions to payment policies under the physician fee schedule and other revisions to Medicare Part B (CMS-1734-P).
I am a Medicare beneficiary and I strongly oppose CMS’ proposal to reduce payment for physical therapy providers by 9% in 2021. If this payment reduction is adopted, access to vital outpatient physical therapy services will be at grave risk. Some physical therapy providers will need to close their doors while others may choose not to continue to treat Medicare beneficiaries and/or refuse to accept new Medicare patients. This will make it more difficult for beneficiaries like me to access the services they need, leading to delays in receiving care and, as a result, a slower road to recovery. This also will lead to negative health outcomes and greater overall cost to the system. The federal government, as well as patients and taxpayers, are better served in the long run by ensuring that the Medicare program promotes efficient treatment of beneficiaries, which cannot happen unless there are enough providers to do so. As the U.S. population ages, access to these services is vital to our quality of life.
CMS has failed to consider the economic and social impacts that this significant payment reduction will have on beneficiary access to physical therapy. This massive adjustment to the fee schedule will cause disruptive reductions to revenue that, in turn, will severely jeopardize patient access to care. These concerns are magnified by the significant economic hit physical therapy providers have taken in the past few months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
By hindering my ability to receive care, CMS is putting my health and the health of other Medicare beneficiaries at risk while also causing detrimental harm to the integrity of the Medicare program. I have serious concerns that my inability to receive care in a timely manner will have a compounding negative effect on my health and quality of life.
As stated above, I oppose the estimated 9% payment reduction to physical therapy providers beginning in 2021. I strongly recommend that CMS halt implementation of any cuts to physical therapy services.
Thank you for your consideration.