January 06, 2021
Thousands Comment in Support of Maintaining Medicare Physician Supervision
With outstanding support from the community, nearly 5,000 comments were posted to the Federal Register at www.ProtectMedicarePatients.org
over a 30-day comment period in support of maintaining physician-led anesthesia care for seniors and those with disabilities. The Federal Register notice issued by HHS “Regulatory Relief To Support Economic Recovery; Request for Information (RFI)” generated a total of over 6,000 comments total before the comment period concluded on December 28. The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) applauds its members and the public for standing up for patient safety for Medicare patients.
Earlier this year, in an effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a variety of temporary waivers to existing Medicare rules. The action effectively ended enforcement of many Medicare regulations for the period of the Public Health Emergency. The Medicare requirement for physician supervision of anesthesia care was among the rules that were temporarily waived. In November, HHS issued a “request for information” seeking public comment on whether any of the waived rules, including the Medicare supervision rule, should be made permanent. ASA strongly believes that making this Medicare waiver permanent would put the lives of seniors and those with disabilities at risk.
During the comment period, over 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries and their concerned family members submitted comments in support of high-quality, physician-led anesthesia care. ASA remains hopeful that given this strong and overwhelming response, CMS will end the temporary waiver, and resume the safe, high-quality, physician-led anesthesia care for Medicare patients.
In formal comments
, ASA urged HHS to “continue to recognize the physician delivered and the physician supervised team-based model of anesthesia as the safe and appropriate standards of care for Medicare and Medicaid patients requiring anesthesia services.” In additional supplemental formal comments submitted by ASA
, a variety of other waivers were reviewed in relation to patient care. ASA will continue to work with Administration officials in support of patient safety and high-quality care.