AMWA Advocates for Continued Stability to Physician Medicare Payment Reform
by Theresa M Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD, and the Americain Medical Women’s Association Advocacy Committee
The pay gap for women physicians is present in almost every subspecialty in medicine and is part of the reason for the exodus of women physicians from full-time medical practice. The Medicare conversion factor that Congress included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 extended the 3.75% increase to the Medicare conversion factor, allowing for Medicare payments to physicians that helped to stabilize their patient care reimbursement.
Extending the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 is necessary to keep our physicians in the practice of medicine, providing care to millions of Medicare patients.
Medicare payment reductions, scheduled to go into effect in 2022 will result in a combined 9.75% payment cut for physicians. Physicians seeing Medicare patients will have to decide how to continue to care for these patients when the financial cost to do so increases as reimbursement decreases. This comes at the same time that many practices are recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether the physicians or their family were ill themselves or had staff out for quarantine and recovery, the personal and financial costs of the pandemic have been substantial.
AMWA urges congress to make permanent the medicare reimbursement increase from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. When cuts happen, women physicians and women’s health services are often the first to leave healthcare, therefore widening the gender gap in the workforce.