Preserving the long-term sustainability of cardiothoracic surgical practices is essential for ensuring that patients continue to have access to specialized care. The field faces an array of challenges—ranging from declining reimbursements to regulatory hurdles—that have been intensifying over the years. Tackling these issues requires vocal advocacy, long-term commitment, and collaborations with other healthcare stakeholders. STS strives to equip cardiothoracic surgeons with the necessary authority, resources, and support they need to deliver the highest standard of patient care.
- Urge Reforms for Medicare Payments: Physicians received a 2% reduction in Medicare reimbursement in 2023 and are slated for 3% cut in 2024. STS advocacy helped mitigate these cuts, but they still contributed to Medicare reimbursements lagging 26% behind the rate of inflation growth since 2001. Significant reforms are needed to make Medicare reimbursements predictable and sustainable, including an annual inflation-based adjustment.
- Advocate for Effective Medicare Payment Models: Ensure cardiothoracic surgeons can participate in value-based payment models that appropriately measure quality and performance.
- Ensure Appropriate Coverage, Reimbursement, and Scope of Practice: Work with Medicare, private payers, and others to ensure that cardiothoracic procedures are covered and reimbursed appropriately.
- Make Telehealth Flexibilities Permanent: Collaborate with other stakeholders to retain telehealth flexibilities beyond 2024.
- Reduce Administrative Burdens: Reform onerous prior authorization requirements.
- H.R. 2474: Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act
- H.R. 4189/S. 2016: The Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act
- Medicare Physician Payment Policy Brief
- Surgical Coalition Letter Expressing Concern About G2211 Complexity Add-on Code (July 26, 2023)
- Coalition Letter Demanding Annual Inflation Update for Physician Payments (March 15, 2023)
- STS Coding and Reimbursement Education and Help Desk
- Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Comments: CY24, CY23
- Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System Comments: CY24, CY23
- STS Comments on Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System (CY24)
- STS President's Remarks to House Committee on Declining Medicare Reimbursements (November 2, 2023)
- Physician Coalition Letter Requesting a Stop to Reimbursement Cuts (November 6, 2023)
- Senate Finance Telehealth Hearing Statement (November 14, 2023)