The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) is disappointed that the United States Congress has failed to approve legislation preventing the implementation of a 21 percent cut in payments for physicians who treat Medicare patients.
“For more than a decade, the AADA has been advocating that Congress repeal the flawed sustainable growth rate formula rather than continue to use temporary extensions,” stated dermatologist David M. Pariser, MD, FAAD, president of the AADA. “Our message has been clearly delivered by AADA members and patients who have taken their concerns directly to their representatives. Congress knows the correct answer to this problem and it is time for them to act.”
A federal law requires Medicare payments to physicians to be modified annually using the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Because of flaws in how the law was designed, the formula has mandated physician fee cuts almost every year for the past decade. Short-term congressional fixes have stopped the cuts, yet without a permanent solution, the cuts grow deeper each year. The cost to fix the problem has skyrocketed, thereby jeopardizing access to high-quality care for Medicare patients.
Inaction by Congress threatens more than just patient access; it threatens jobs. The 21 percent cut may force physician practices to reduce professional and office staff, or shutter their doors completely.
The incidence of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, continues to rise, and people who are 55-75 years of age are most likely to be stricken by this terrible disease. Untreated or late detection of skin cancer in the Medicare population will result in increased mortality and morbidity. “The impact of these cuts on Medicare patients could be devastating. It is critically important that seniors maintain access to timely, high-quality dermatologic care to ensure detection of skin cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages,” said Dr. Pariser.
American Academy of Dermatology