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House Resolution 8702 and Senate Bill 5007 are important Medicare legislation that will hold Medicare reimbursement for outpatient procedures at the 2020 level, keeping reimbursement levels consistent until the law expires in 2022. If S. 5007 and H.R. 8702 are not enacted, Medicare reimbursement cuts will take effect on January 1, 2021, and may result in an overall 11 percent decrease in payment levels for radiology, as well as decreases by specialty, including a nine percent cut for interventional radiology; an eight percent cut for nuclear medicine and a six percent cut for radiation therapy. These reimbursement cuts are catastrophic figures for the medical imaging and radiation therapy professions.
Even worse news is on the horizon for the medical imaging and radiation therapy technical professional community if the aforementioned cuts take effect in 2021. According to one study, more than 50 percent of radiology practices plan to terminate or furlough existing employees if the cuts go into effect without any relief, while 82 percent said they expect the cuts will result in decreased imaging access for patients. And much like every other industry facing COVID-19, there is no telling if, or when, these jobs will come back. Patient access and care would further be hindered as medical imaging centers would close or reduce hours, while many would restrict services to Medicare beneficiaries treated in an outpatient setting.
That is why S. 5007 and H.R. 8702 are so vitally important to ASRT, and its members. By creating a two-year “hold harmless” payment that essentially would keep the reimbursement rates for Medicare services at the 2020 amount, S. 5007 and H.R. 8702 allow the medical imaging and radiation therapy community to review the losses that COVID-19 has caused and regroup after the full extent of the pandemic is analyzed.
ASRT asks that all radiologic technologists and radiation therapists contact your federal lawmakers using the ASRT Advocacy Action Center as soon as possible to voice support for this important legislation that will help radiologic technologists and radiation therapists continue to care for our country’s most vulnerable patients.