September 20, 2021
The California Medical Association (CMA) is asking physicians to reach out to their Members of Congress to ask that they cosign two high priority “Dear Colleague” letters for physicians and their patients.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
After Congress passed the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), the Education Department severely narrowed the regulation to require physicians to be “hired and paid by” hospitals in order to receive loan forgiveness. Because California and Texas law prohibits hospital employment of physicians, physicians serving in private non-profit hospitals were inadvertently left out.
In a Dear Colleague letter being circulated by a bipartisan group of Congressional representatives, the California and Texas delegations are asking the U.S. Secretary of Education to fix the PSLF regulations to allow California and Texas physicians to fully participate like their colleagues in every other state. Doing so will ensure that California and Texas can continue to recruit physicians and meet the growing medical needs of our patients.
Medicare Payment Cuts
In what amounts to a “perfect storm” of payment cuts going into effect on January 1, 2022, physician practices face 9.75% in payment cuts. A bipartisan Dear Colleague led by Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA), and Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN), is urging U.S House of Represenatives leadership to stop the Medicare provider payment cuts slated for January 1, 2022.
Physicians are facing the following stack of Medicare financial hits:
- Expiration of the current Medicare 2% sequestration cut wavier given during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- Imposition of an inadvertent 4% statutory “pay as you go” (PAYGO) budget neutrality sequester resulting from passage of the American Rescue Plan Act. Should lawmakers fail to act, it will mark the first time that Congress has failed to waive statutory PAYGO.
- Expiration of last year’s Congressionally enacted bill to stop the 3.75% payment cuts to the Medicare physician fee schedule. Physicians were facing these cuts due to budget neutrality adjustments in the fee schedule but fortunately, Congress stepped in and stopped the cuts.
- A freeze in annual inflation updates for Medicare physicians.
This would result in a combined 9.75% payment cut on January 1, 2021!
Contact your Members of Congress today and urge them to sign on to these important “Dear Colleague” letters.