Washington, D.C. – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today it has withdrawn a rule proposed in 2016 to implement a new Medicare Part B Payment Model that included a nationwide demonstration program that would have adversely impacted patient access to Remicade and other drugs essential to the treatment of conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
“Opposition to this rule from physicians and patient advocates was heard loud and clear, and the decision by CMS to permanently withdraw the proposal is a true victory for our patients,” said Dr. Fred Rosenberg, president and chairman of the board of the Digestive Health Physicians Association (DHPA). “Abandoning this rule will allow independent GI physicians to continue treating our patients with the medications they need.”
The withdrawal of the proposed rule comes after more than a year of advocacy from a diverse group of provider and patient advocacy organizations that opposed the proposed rule.
DHPA engaged immediately after CMS’s issuance of the proposed rule in Spring 2016. In April 2016, more than 600 DHPA physician members contacted their Representatives and Senators to request that they voice opposition to the proposed rule with CMS. Almost 200 Members of Congress received more than 1,900 emails urging them to ask CMS to withdraw the proposed rule. 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. DHPA combined those grassroots efforts with submission of a 13-page comment letter to CMS setting out the specific ways in which the proposed rule could jeopardize patient access to Part B medications such as Remicade.
In June of this year, DHPA joined 268 other leading physician organizations in sending a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Thomas E. Price, urging withdrawal of the proposal. The letter also urged the rejection of a series of recommendations from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) that would have undercut the effectiveness of the current Medicare Part B Drug Program. Earlier this year, DHPA also joined nearly 200 physician, patient and other advocacy groups in signing a letter to MedPAC expressing concern about its recommendations to CMS.
About the Digestive Health Physicians Association
The Digestive Health Physicians Association (DHPA) is a trade association comprised of 75 independent gastroenterology (GI) physician practices across the country with the aim of promoting and preserving accessible, high quality and cost-efficient care in the independent GI medical practice setting. DHPA member practices include more than 1,800 gastroenterologists and other physician specialists who provide care for over two million people in more than four million distinct patient encounters annually. DHPA member practices employ more than 11,000 employees in their medical groups.