The Medicare sequestration cuts, rolled back at the beginning of the year by Congress to offset a potentially devastating reduction in physician payments, will be phased back in beginning April 1. Despite efforts by the physician community and other stakeholders to lobby Congress to delay these cuts as part of the passage of a spending bill to fund the government, no pause on implementation of the sequestration cuts was included in the final spending package. Delaying implementation of the sequestration cuts would have been ideal, given the trend of reduced physician reimbursements and a lower Medicare conversion factor.
Furthermore, a recent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) report to Congress recommended a 0% update in 2023 for Medicare physician payments. The physician community continues to emphasize that this would represent a negative update given rising costs to physician practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation. If Congress accepts the MedPAC recommendations, the continued payment reductions for physician services and the full implementation of the Medicare sequestration cuts will significantly impact physicians and jeopardize high-quality patient care. The MedPAC also recommended that CMS require clinicians to use a claims modifier to differentiate all audio-only telehealth from audio-visual services.
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