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Maine Medicine Weekly Update: 11/28/2021

In This Issue
OMNICRON, DEADLINES, WEBINARS, SURVEYS & RULES
WHO Classifies New Variant as 'Highly Transmissible' Virus (Omnicron)
DEADLINE!
Provider Relief Fund Reporting Deadline: November 30, 2021
UPCOMING EVENTS
Maine Bureau of Insurance: Notice of Public Meeting on Clear Choice Standardized Plan Designs (Dec 1 & Dec 20)
SUPPORT For ME Training and Technical Assistance Webinar (Dec 1)
AMA: Payor Contracting 101 Virtual Bootcamp (Dec 1)
The Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University (Dec 1 deadline)
Maine DHHS Clinician Call: COVID-19 Oral Anti-Viral Therapies, Preview & Distribution (Dec 2nd)
Governor’s Opioid Response Seminar Webinar Series (Dec 3)
Suicide Assessment & Management for Clinical Staff (Dec 6, 13 & 20 3-5pm)
AMA: Telehealth Immersion Program Mini-Bootcamp: What’s Next for Telehealth? (Dec 7)
AMA: Physician Peer Support: Secret Weapon to Combat Physician Burnout (Dec 9)
Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
SURVEY
Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
STATE & FEDERAL PROPOSED RULES
Maine Board of Licensure of Medicine & Board of Osteopathic Medicine Proposed Rules
Maine Independent Clinical Information Service: MICIS presentations & Academic Detailing
CY 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) & Quality Payment Program (QPP) Final Rule Summary
CMS Releases Final 2022 Physician Fee Schedule & Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System Final Rules.
AMA CALL TO ACTION
Stop Medicare Cuts – Contact Senators Collins & King, Reps Pingree & Golden
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Something to Consider: What About Sharpened Pencils?
HEALTHCARE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) - Mt. Abram Regional Health Center, (Kingfield, Maine)
Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) - Bingham Area Health Center

 
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AMA CALL TO ACTION

Stop Medicare Cuts – Contact Senators Collins & King, Reps Pingree & Golden

As Congress continues to fight over reconciliation, infrastructure and raising the debt ceiling there is a looming Medicare payment crisis that, if not addressed, could have devastating consequences for Medicare patients and our health care system.

On January 1, 2022 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will drastically reduce payments for certain health care providers. If Congress does not act to stop these cuts, it will further strain practices that are still struggling to keep their doors open during the ongoing pandemic.

Tell Congress to cancel Medicare cuts today!

In what amounts to a “perfect storm” of payment cuts going into effect on January 1, physician practices face the following stack of Medicare financial hits amounting to a 9.75 percent cut. These include:

Expiration of the current reprieve from the repeatedly extended 2 percent sequester stemming from the Budget Control Act of 2011. Congress originally scheduled this policy to sunset in 2021 but it will now continue into 2030.

Imposition of a 4 percent Statutory PAYGO sequester resulting from passage of the American Rescue Plan Act. Should lawmakers fail to act, it will mark the first time that Congress has failed to waive Statutory PAYGO.

Expiration of the Congressionally enacted 3.75 percent temporary increase in the Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) conversion factor to avoid payment cuts associated with budget neutrality adjustments tied to PFS policy changes.

A statutory freeze in annual Medicare PFS updates under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) that is scheduled to last until 2026, when updates resume at a rate of 0.25% a year indefinitely, a figure well below the rate of medical or consumer price index inflation.

These cuts if allowed to go into effect would lead to fewer primary care providers, limited access to specialists, a disruption in care and additional barriers to life-saving treatment.

In the face of this looming threat Congress had remained focused on a number of other issues until recently when Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter highlighting the financial uncertainty within the Medicare payment system and the dangers facing the physician community if Congress fails to enact legislation to address these problems. Within a matter of weeks 245 of their colleagues showed their support for fixing the problem by co-signing the letter.

Now is the time to build on that momentum and demand that Congress take action to address these devastating Medicare cuts before it’s too late - Please take a moment and contact your Senators and Representative to tell them to cancel the cuts!

Send a message to Senator Susan Collins here.

Send a message to Senator Angus King here.

Send a message to Congressperson Chellie Pingree here.

Send a message to Congressperson Jared Golden here.

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