Public Release: 

Rheumatology leaders applaud CMS for withdrawing Medicare Part B payment demonstration

Statement from Dr. Sharad Lakhanpal, MBBS, MD, President of the American College of Rheumatology

American College of Rheumatology

"The American College of Rheumatology commends the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for finalizing its decision to withdraw the Part B Drug Payment Demonstration. We thank CMS leadership for listening to the rheumatology community's concerns about the negative impacts this proposal would have on patient choice and access to life-saving biologic therapies.

"For millions of Americans living with painful and debilitating rheumatic diseases, safe and reliable access to biologic infusion therapies is not a luxury but a necessity. That's why the ACR has strongly voiced opposition to this proposed rule and its potentially negative, unintended consequences for rheumatology patients and providers alike.

"The ability for our Medicare patients to access biologic therapy infusions - particularly in rural and underserved areas of the country - is already tenuous because the current payment structure does not fully cover the cost of procuring and administering these therapies in the outpatient setting. If the additional payment cuts from the demonstration project were to go through, many rheumatology providers would be forced to stop administering biologic infusion therapies altogether. This would in turn force patients to seek treatment in less safe and more expensive settings, if they were able to access biologic therapies at all.

"While the ACR has vigorously opposed the Part B demonstration project, we remain supportive of CMS' broader effort to improve healthcare quality, accessibility and affordability in the Medicare system while reining in excessive drug costs. In the future, we look forward to working with CMS to develop a payment model that achieves these goals while also ensuring patients can continue to access high-quality rheumatology care and treatments."

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About the American College of Rheumatology

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is the nation's leading advocacy organization for the rheumatology care community, representing more than 9,500 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals. As an ethically driven, professional membership organization committed to improving healthcare for Americans living with rheumatic diseases, the ACR advocates for high-quality, high-value policies and reforms that will ensure safe, effective, affordable and accessible rheumatology care.

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