Fibroid Coalition submits comment letter on the CY 2022 Physician Fee Schedule
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Fibroid Coalition submitted a comment letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the proposed rule for the CY 2022 Physician Fee Schedule (CMS–1751–P).
The Fibroid Coalition urges CMS to abandon these proposed cuts. The CY 2022 PFS Proposed Rule includes drastic cuts of 21 percent to interventional radiologists who perform uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) in an office-based setting. The net result is less access and fewer treatment options for women suffering from fibroids. Since fibroids disproportionately affect women of color, this will add to a growing list of health disparities in an already underserved population. Furthermore, the closing of out-patient centers could also lead to greater disparity and decreased care to minority communities, and widen the health equity gap in every community.
The letter to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), stated in part, “If finalized, provisions of the 2022 PFS Proposed Rule could lead to reduced access for women to office-based interventional radiologists who perform UFE, and result in not only higher cost to the health care system, but potentially a great number of women having unnecessary hysterectomies for the treatment of uterine fibroids.”
The letter continued, “Additionally, if the Proposed Rule payment reductions are adopted, a number of outpatient interventional centers will be forced to close – the very centers that have played a pivotal role during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing an invaluable safety net for hospitals and the communities they serve — many of which had to cease elective surgical procedures due to the risk of COVID-19 spread as well as lack of hospital resources and ICU beds.”
Dr. John Lipman, the founder of the Fibroid Coalition, said, “The proposed 21% cut would be irresponsible and hurt the quality of care for patients. It would increase costs for our health care system and cut off access to a non-surgical treatment option for women suffering from fibroids. It’s a simple equation: the fewer options women have for fibroid treatment, the less likely they are to know about non-surgical options like UFE and the more likely they are to receive an unnecessary hysterectomy.”
Trici Cross, a fibroid patient from Georgia, said, “With COVID making a resurgence in many communities across the country, hospitals are scaling back elective surgeries. The 20% cuts proposed by CMS to office-based specialists will put them out of business and force patients like me to depend on a hospital for outpatient treatments. Office-based centers are a relief valve for our hospital systems and this regulation could put that at risk. After suffering from fibroids, I can’t imagine waiting weeks longer and paying much more for treatment at a hospital, particularly during a pandemic.”
The mission of the Fibroid Coalition is to empower women with information about all of their treatment options as they battle uterine fibroids. The Fibroid Coalition is an unbiased resource for women impacted by fibroids, dedicated to raising awareness about the safe and proven methods of treating fibroids without surgery.
The Fibroid Coalition is a member of the United Specialists for Patient AccessUnited Specialists for Patient Access (USPA), which represents a broad spectrum of office-based specialists and also opposes the proposed rule for the CY 2022 Physician Fee Schedule.