ACR Opposes MedPAC’s Proposed Cuts to Radiologists, Radiation Oncologists

September 19, 2011

The American College of Radiology opposes a new Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) proposal to cut reimbursement rates 5.9 percent for radiologists, radiation oncologist and other physicians for each of the next three years.

The American College of Radiology opposes a new Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) proposal to cut reimbursement rates 5.9 percent for radiologists, radiation oncologist and other physicians for each of the next three years.

MedPAC’s draft recommendations, issued Sept. 15, “are not based in sound evidence and would only serve to fragment the physician community at a time when it must unify for the benefit of our patients,” ACR officials said in a statement.

The cuts are proposed as a means of eliminating the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), which is otherwise poised to cut physician reimbursement 30 percent over time, a level at which would risk widespread abandonment of Medicare patients, MedPAC officials said. Those cuts would happen because the SGR approach ties physician reimbursement rates to gross domestic product, and the rise of the former is far outpacing that of the latter.

“The cuts proposed by MedPAC would embody the antithesis of the accountable care philosophy, and would severely impair the multispecialty coordination of care so vital for the continued health and longevity of our country’s Medicare patients,” ACR officials said.

The ACR isn’t alone in its distaste for the proposed reimbursement changes. The Alliance of Specialty Medicine slammed the proposal as risking Medicare-patient access to specialists even as it devalues the “expertise and critical care that specialist provide to Medicare patients.”