VIDEO: CMS’s proposed PFS for 2023—a real and present threat to radiology’s capacity to contribute?

 

Unless it undergoes physician-friendly changes in Congress, CMS’s proposed 2023 PFS will cut overall provider payments 4.4%. And radiology is anything but immune.

In fact, so disheartening are the looming slashes across the board in radiology—diagnostic, interventional, nuclear medicine—that a sage and seasoned radiology leader is sounding something of a doomsday warning.

The proposed 2023 PFS will not only hurt vulnerable Medicare and Medicaid populations, he says, but also “do incalculable damage to the medical profession.”

Radiology Business asked the leader behind those words, Bob Still, to expound on his expression of alarm.

“We’re simply at a breaking point,” Still, executive director of the Radiology Business Management Association, responded. “We’ve gone through close to three years of COVID, and we’re not out of the woods yet. In fact, we're heading back into the forest with COVID of late.”

Still hastens to add that radiology’s impending pain is even worse than previously reported. “When you combine the -4.4% conversion factor with -3% for MPFS and -4% for PAYGO,” he says, “we think we’re looking at an 11.4% hit for diagnostic radiology.”

More:

At a time when doctors are needed the most, CMS and Congress too are cutting us substantially—double-digit cuts. We’re not like any other business. With double-digit inflation and the threat of double digit cuts, we think there are going to be really dramatic access issues for patients. Patients’ ability to access healthcare for life-saving care could suffer tremendously. So we need to find a solution that’s predictable, that provides stability to the system so that we’re not doing this every year.”

Other questions Still takes up:

  • RBMA is again calling for a repeal of budget neutrality and/or an inflation escalator to, as you put it, “ward off disaster.” You’ve advocated for these measures in the past. How hopeful are you for success this time around?
  • What do you say to radiologists and radiology business managers who are shaken, troubled or otherwise fed up by this latest payment-slashing PFS proposal?
  • What can radiology stakeholders do besides wait, watch and hope for the best?

The conversation wraps in less than 15 minutes. Watch the whole thing.

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