CMS asked to revisit reimbursement cuts to physical therapists, social workers

Nearly 100 Congress members requested more information from CMS regarding proposed reimbursement cuts for physical therapists and social workers in 2021.

In a Feb. 5 letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, lawmakers said they've received concerns about whether the proposed reimbursement reductions will affect access to health services. The lawmakers asked CMS to provide them more information about the methodology CMS used to calculate the rates.

The 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule imposed 8 percent cuts to physical therapy reimbursement beginning in 2021, according to the Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation. Psychologists and social workers face 7 percent cuts. The changes are meant to accommodate an increase in the values of the office/outpatient evaluation and management codes.

The Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation applauded lawmakers' decision to seek more information on the cuts. 

"This document represents a united front of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle who, supported by a wide range of provider and patient stakeholders, are urging CMS to provide justification for its decision to limit beneficiary access to important care services," Dr. Nikesh Patel, executive director of the alliance, said in a Feb. 6 statement.

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