After physicians put their lives on the line to battle COVID-19, with burnout rates threatening our physician workforce and high inflation jeopardizing practice viability, the latest round of Medicare physician payment cuts comes at a perilous time, AMA president Jack Resneck Jr., MD wrote in a Jan. 26 blog post.

The AMA president continues by stating that the Medicare physician payment model is “simply broken”, pointing to financial pressures on doctors and their practices which “we  have been reminded throughout the COVID-19 pandemic” and “haven’t had a meaningful increase in payment in more than two decades. This problem is magnified in periods of high inflation as practice costs escalate”.

Congress also extended an incentive payment, previously set at 5% and now down to 3.5%, to support physician practices participating in alternative payment models (APMs).

“Rather than allowing the entire incentive payment to expire at the end of 2022, Congress extended it for one year at the rate of 3.5% and also extended the current freeze on participation thresholds for qualification for the APM bonuses for an additional year,” said David Pugach, ACP vice president for governmental affairs and public policy.

The California Medical Association (CMA)  is also urging Congress to make a long-term overhaul of the Medicare payment system to include an annual automatic inflation update, address budget neutrality, and provides more alternative payment model opportunities. 

Read the full statement from AMA here.