When you visit a physical or occupational therapist, you’re visiting a specialty provider who can help you move better and manage your pain without potentially dangerous medications. Typically, an entire course of treatment with a therapist costs less than any number of treatments provided in hospitals.
On Jan. 1, Medicare plans to make significant payment cuts — about 9% — to therapists and more than 30 other specialty providers, despite bipartisan opposition. Cuts of this magnitude will result in provider closures and restricted access to care.
Specialty professionals are critical for older Americans, especially in the context of an unprecedented public health emergency. Without access to these providers, Medicare patients will be forced to seek specialty care in more expensive settings, including the hospital.
As we live through the COVID-19 crisis, we deserve a health system that is stable and reliable. Cutting health care payments during a health care crisis is bad policy. It’s time to block these cuts.
Editor’s note: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is accepting public comments on the proposed rule by Oct. 5. Email comments to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the “Submit a comment” instructions. Or mail written comments to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: CMS-1734-P, P.O. Box 8016, Baltimore, MD 21244-8016.