For Immediate Release

Carter Alleman, J.D. 
Associate Director, Health Policy

American College of Osteopathic Surgeons Oppose Continued Cuts to Access to Surgical Care in Proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule

Proposed rule would continue to impose limits on access to surgical care in an already impacted healthcare system

ALEXANDRIA, VA August 4, 2020: The American College of Osteopathic Surgeons opposes the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for calendar year 2021 (CY2021). This proposed regulation would continue CMS’ payment cuts to surgical care which impacts patients’ access to care.

The ACOS recognizes constraints that CMS is under to remain budget neutral, however it cannot support continued increases for certain provides at the continued cost to others. In the fee schedule, surgeons will see their Medicare payments cut by 9% for cardiac surgery, 8% for thoracic surgery, 7% for vascular surgery, 7% for general surgery, 7% for neurosurgery for CY 2021.

“E&M cuts scheduled by CMS will create a crisis and worsen healthcare in the surgical realm. As it already stands, predictive models estimate that 35% of surgeons may not be able to continue practicing if further cuts occur,” said Larry Armstrong, D.O., FACOS, FACS, American College of Surgeons President. “The ones most affected by these cuts will not be the surgeons. It will be patients who cannot receive care due to a shortage of surgeons who are the only specialists able to provide these essential services.”

Today’s announcement builds on the cuts CMS announced last year, which are set to go into effect January 1, 2021. These cuts will reduce payments to nearly all surgical specialties, including up to 9 percent for some surgeons. The policy is adding more uncertainty to an already fragile medical system due to COVID-19, ultimately impacting patients accessing surgical care.

“The ACOS is asking that CMS look at the healthcare landscape and re-evaluate the cuts to surgical care and its continued policy of choosing winners and losers when it comes to Medicare payment. These policies ultimately impact the patients that our members serve,” said Dr. Armstrong.


About the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons

The American College of Osteopathic Surgeons (ACOS) is the organizational home for osteopathic surgeons. Established in 1926, ACOS is committed to promoting excellence in osteopathic surgical care through education, advocacy, leadership development, and the fostering of professional and personal relationships. We provide valuable resources and education, so our members are better equipped to deliver the highest quality of care to their patients.