Medicare’s Proposed 40% Payment Cuts for Electrophysiologists Will Make Afib Catheter Ablations Hard to Get
If you are an afib patient on Medicare (in the US and 65 or more), this is scary as afib catheter ablations may become unavailable to those who need them. We need your help urgently to reverse this proposal by Medicare and preserve your ability to get an afib catheter ablation when and if you need one.
You may recall that last year we asked for your help when Medicare proposed decreasing the electrophysiologists’ payment for doing a catheter ablation. Many of you helped us by submitting your comments to Medicare about this.
Unfortunately, Medicare didn’t listen to us patients last year and went ahead with those cuts. Now, further emboldened, they propose even more significant cuts for 2023. We patients cannot let them get by with it as it will likely decrease our access to the care we need!
Between Medicare’s actual cuts last year and their proposed cuts for 2023, the cumulative decrease in payments to EPs for doing afib catheter ablations would be a draconian 40% cut! That would not only hurt EPs, it would also hurt afib patients.
As you know, doing an afib catheter ablation takes a great deal of skill. Unfortunately, these skills can take a decade or more to develop. But what Medicare wants to pay EPs for doing afib catheter ablations is not commensurate with what it takes to do them. In fact, the payment wouldn’t even cover the amount of time an EP spends doing an afib catheter ablation.
This huge disincentive will have disastrous results for afib patients because of the following actions that will likely result from these cuts:
- Existing EPs will be reluctant to do catheter ablations as they can make more by doing other procedures. Thus, they will do fewer of them.
- Afib catheter ablations will be harder to get, and waiting lists will get longer and longer and longer. This will be a massive disservice to afib patients by making access to ablations much harder.
- The low reimbursement rates will result in some EPs completely abandoning doing afib catheter ablations, which will further lengthen waiting times.
- With payments slashed dramatically, what doctor will want to invest the time to specialize and become an EP, so there will be far fewer EPs. As EPs retire, there will not be new EPs to take their place.
If you think you may ever want an afib catheter ablation, then the time to act is now to preserve your ability to get one when you need it.
Medicare is accepting comments from those who would be affected by this change. You don’t have to have had an ablation to comment. To comment, you only need to be an afib patient or a loved one concerned about getting care for a family member.
It’s time for us to mobilize and protect our right to access the treatments we need.
It only takes 2-5 minutes to share why this is so important to you and to all afib patients.
To learn more about how to make your voice heard, see:
The deadline to submit comments is September 6, so please do this NOW. Don’t put it off.
If allowed to go through, you may not be able to get a catheter ablation when you need one. So please ask Medicare to reverse course and keep paying EPs appropriately for doing ablations.