Over the past three months, the Digestive Health Physicians Association (DHPA) has continued to fight for the ability of independent gastroenterology practices to provide high quality and cost-efficient care in the independent GI medical practice setting. In April, we voiced our opposition to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Proposed Part B Drug Payment Model which, if finalized, would dramatically change Medicare reimbursement for drugs administered in physician offices, including Remicade, which is critical to our treatment of patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
DHPA joined a coalition of more than 300 leading patient, disease and provider organizations in sending a letter to congressional leadership requesting that they ask the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to permanently withdraw its proposed rule to implement a new “Medicare Part B Payment Model.”
DHPA members also contacted their Representatives and Senators urging them to voice opposition to the rule with CMS. At the conclusion of the effort, almost 200 Members of Congress had received more than 1,900 emails urging them to ask CMS to withdraw the proposed rule. Congress heard us loud and clear. Thanks in part to the outpouring of support from the independent GI community, more than 240 Members of Congress signed a bipartisan letter to CMS opposing the proposed rule.
The letter states, “Under CMS’s Medicare drug experiment, numerous physicians would face acquisition costs that exceed the Medicare payment amount for certain drugs. This policy will make it harder for patients to receive the drugs they need and especially hurt seniors who depend on doctors in smaller practices or those who live in rural areas.”
Both Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee have also sent letters expressing concerns with the proposed rule. Several additional letters have also been signed onto by more than 100 House and Senate members.
Additionally, DHPA submitted our own formal comments to CMS urging a withdrawal of the proposed rule.