November 07, 2022
ASA Shares Feedback with CMS to Support Member Well-being and Advance Health Equity
Last Friday, ASA submitted comments in response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) “Make Your Voice Heard” Request for Information (RFI). The wide-ranging RFI solicited recommendations on how CMS can best address factors impacting the well-being of health care professionals, advance health equity, and sunset waivers issued during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE).
In comments to CMS, ASA noted how insufficient payments from Medicare to physicians affect the ability of anesthesiologists to maintain staff, deliver care, and implement quality improvement initiatives. Fixing the broken Medicare physician payment system, including the potential payment cuts of over 10% facing anesthesiologists next year, is just one of many considerations ASA also shared in our letter to Congress earlier in the week. ASA urged CMS to coordinate with Congress on patching cuts within the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and help physicians and their groups avoid significant payment reductions in 2023.
On the goal of advancing health equity, ASA pointed to the success of delivery-of-care models like the Perioperative Surgical Home in screening and appropriately addressing social determinants of health. ASA encouraged CMS to focus on maternal morbidity and mortality, as well as pain medicine and substance use disorders in future initiatives. ASA also recommended that CMS commission a study on patient access to specialists to better understand disparities affecting patient populations and communities.
Our submitted comments reaffirmed ASA’s call to ensure that every patient has access to anesthesiologist-led care. ASA again reiterated our position that PHE waivers to anesthesiologist-led care should be retired at the end of the PHE.
ASA also proposed that anesthesiologist well-being and patient safety initiatives could also be improved by CMS taking a critical look at several Quality Payment Program (QPP) policies. ASA recommended actions to encourage participation in the QPP through the establishment of targeted financial incentives for performers who exceed the performance threshold, the easing of annual measure implementation burdens, and greater access to Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) for specialists.
For more information on these issues or the comments submitted, please contact the ASA Department of Quality and Regulatory Affairs (QRA) at [email protected].