A bipartisan group of 61 members of Congress is calling for a review of a change in the Medicare fee schedule that impacts medical practices, including radiology, who will see ‘clinical labor’ cuts.
Late last year and for the first time in almost 20 years, CMS updated its clinical labor rates that are used to compute practice costs in the fee schedule. However, cuts were made in other areas due to balanced-budget requirements — primarily for interventional radiologists and radiation oncologists. These two sub-specialties will bear most of the financial burden from these cuts; these two groups are seen as having higher medical supply costs but lower clinical labor costs.
These 61 Congress members, led by Reps. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., and Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla, are disturbed that the Medicare fee cuts to this group of radiologists will adversely affect Black and Latino patients. Two specific areas mentioned are treating peripheral artery disease and venous ulcers, and cuts to clinical labor costs will adversely impact minority oncology patients.
These clinical labor cuts are scheduled to phase in over the next four years. The American College of Radiology hopes to garner bipartisan support this year in its advocacy for clinical labor rates and other permanent Medicare payment changes.