During the last year, the SCAI Government Relations Committee and staff have been working diligently on behalf of our members to advocate for the national issues affecting the interventional cardiology profession and the patients we serve. I am proud to share an update with you on the strides we’ve made within the last year and how you can get involved.
Fighting Medicare Cuts—Last year, Medicare fees were threatened by cuts proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services totaling $40 billion. We successfully postponed most of the schedule reductions. This year, however, the threats continue. Fortunately, there are potential legislative solutions currently under consideration. SCAI is supporting H.R. 8800, the Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2022, which is a bipartisan legislation that will prevent the scheduled 4.5% Medicare payment reduction from going into effect in January 2023. A second bipartisan bill, H.R. 6048, the Medicare Stability for Patients and Providers Act, would correct the implementation of Medicare’s clinical labor formula. Together, these two laws would address the immediate threats to Medicare. Your active grassroots support and participation with SCAI’s grassroots efforts can make all the difference.
House Action on Prior Authorization—SCAI has doggedly supported the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, (H.R. 3173). This bill establishes several requirements and standards related to prior authorization processes under Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. The prior authorization of services by a MA plan requires physicians to obtain pre-approval for medical treatments or tests before rendering care to their patients, a process which burdens physician staff and delays in-patient care. The SCAI government relations team worked swiftly to inform members to urge their Congress representatives to co-sponsor the relief bill. I’m happy to report it was passed by the House in September. The Senate is expected to take up the measure after the mid-term elections.
Amputation Reduction and Compassion Act (ARC Act of 2021)—SCAI strongly supports the ARC Act, a bill which would provide for coverage of peripheral artery disease screening tests without cost-sharing under Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance for certain at-risk individuals, and requires the development of certain educational programs and Medicare quality measures to reduce amputations relating to such disease. As clinicians, we believe that this legislation is an important step in working towards efforts to prevent unnecessary and avoidable amputations suffered by patients living with peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is a risk for more than 30 million Americans living with diabetes and the 84.1 million living with prediabetes. Nationally, the amputation rate among Black Medicare beneficiaries is nearly three times higher than the rate among beneficiaries from other ethnic backgrounds. With increased access to early detection and testing, as many as 85 percent of avoidable amputations could be prevented. To learn more and urge your member of Congress to become a sponsor of the ARC act, visit our campaign website.
RUC Survey—As part of our participation in the Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) process, SCAI works with the American Medical Association to distribute RUC physician work surveys to a random sample of our membership. The purpose is to obtain survey data from physicians and used by CMS for calculating reimbursement. Survey respondents are asked to estimate their typical time, the typical intensity and complexity of their work and the work RVU for the given procedure or service (in comparison to a list of reference services with established values). If you receive the survey, it is imperative that you respond for any service for which you have direct professional knowledge and feel comfortable answering – whether you currently perform the service or not. You can learn more about the RUC process here.
SCAI Political Action Committee (SCAI PAC)—The SCAI PAC is the only political organization solely devoted to educating members of Congress on a bipartisan basis regarding issues important to the invasive and interventional cardiology community. With Congress expanding the government’s role in every facet of health care, contributing to SCAI PAC is the best way we can speak on behalf of our profession, patients and issues that matter the most to you. You can support the SCAI PAC by donating today. Note: Only U.S. citizens and legal residents are eligible to make political contributions by law.
Our advocacy efforts will always seek to represent our members at the state and federal levels, working to build coalitions while coordinating action on behalf of our members and their patients. If there is an important issue or initiative where you believe SCAI should be involved, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
Sunil V. Rao, MD, FSCAI
SCAI President 2022-23
Messages for Members
Updates from SCAI's Presidents on the education, advocacy, and research being led by the Society on their behalf to advance clinical practice and deliver quality care.