Washington, D.C. — Following up on previous comments to the proposed rule, United States of Care released the following statement on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) finalized Medicare Physician Fee Schedule:
The new Physician Fee Schedule will provide major benefits to people, especially those who face inequities due to their health, income, demographics, or ZIP code. USofCare is encouraged by the updates to the Physician Fee Schedule that ensure comprehensive and coordinated care for people.
USofCare applauds CMS for taking steps — which we advocated for during the comment period — to prioritize and expand access to both behavioral health and primary care. Additionally, we applaud the Centers’ decision for Medicare to cover necessary dental services. Both of these measures will have major equity impacts. People of color and Native peoples have among the worst access to mental and behavioral health care, and nearly half of Medicare beneficiaries lack dental coverage.
Contrary to USofCare’s recommendations, CMS did not extend certain flexibilities which have afforded people more access to telehealth during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. A comprehensive approach to virtual care — one which decreases barriers to access and increases equity — needs to include access to audio-only telehealth, which is especially critical to those in rural areas and those with poor access to broadband internet. To rectify this issue, USofCare urges the Senate to take up and pass HR 4040, a bipartisan bill that would extend audio-only telehealth services, among other telehealth flexibilities, through 2024.
About United States of Care
United States of Care is a nonpartisan organization committed to ensuring that everyone has access to quality, affordable health care.