AAHKS Submits Comments to CMS on OPPS and PFS Proposed Rules

Dear AAHKS Members,

As you know, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the CY 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) proposed rule earlier this year. The proposal significantly impacts hip and knee surgeons by devaluing the primary procedures we perform by 5.4% work RVUs. Public comments were due on Monday, October 5. You can read our comments here.

We greatly appreciate each of you who took the time to make your voices heard with CMS. As leaders in AAHKS we have been meeting with HHS, CMS, Congress and White House representatives on this issue. However, your comments as individual surgeons in your community have been key to our efforts in preventing a reduction in your Medicare reimbursement next year.

Any cut will hit our practices especially hard as we try to recover after being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CMS and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have been stretching their legal authority to ease regulatory burdens and deliver billions of dollars in health provider relief with one hand and now proposing to cut physician payments with the other.

In addition, we submitted comments on the CMS hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) and ambulatory surgical center (ASC) payment systems proposed rule for calendar year 2021. CMS proposes to eliminate the CMS Inpatient-Only list, which they believe would empower physicians to better determine the clinically appropriate site of service, but in our experience, this has not been the case. The letter also addresses the proposal to add more procedures to the ASC Covered Procedures List and the logistics involved with ensuring patient safety. For more information, read our letter.

Finally, AAHKS signed on to both the AAOS’s PFS and OPPS Proposed Rule letters and worked closely with them on their PFS Proposed Rule letter.

Again, thank you for making your voice heard with CMS; we continue to advocate with and for you and our patients.

C. Lowry Barnes, MD, President
James “Hutch” Huddleston III, MD, Health Policy Council Chair