Nunes, Tonko Lead Bipartisan Letter Opposing Cuts to Community Cancer Care
112 Members of Congress sign letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services urging reversal of harmful cuts to community clinics
Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) along with 110 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives have sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging reconsideration of proposed cuts to community cancer clinics contained in the 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rule. Specifically, the letter asks CMS to reconsider its proposal to cap reimbursement rates for codes related to chemotherapy administration, diagnostic imaging, and therapeutic radiation.
“The proposed payment policy fundamentally threatens community cancer care as we know it today,” said Rep. Nunes. “Hundreds of facilities have already closed due to misaligned payment rates, and many others are being swallowed into hospital systems. We will not achieve our goal – delivering quality care at the best price – by driving community care into the hospital setting. This bipartisan letter encourages CMS to reconsider its proposal.”
“By delivering top notch care close to home, community cancer clinics are an essential part of our healthcare system,” said Congressman Paul Tonko. “We must ensure these facilities have the tools they need to thrive so that families dealing with a cancer diagnosis don’t lose access to this proven model of care delivery. By asking CMS to reevaluate this flawed proposal, we can ensure that community cancer clinics will be open for patients in need.”
“On behalf of the Medical Oncology Association of Southern California Board of Directors, oncologists, and their patients throughout California, we applaud the efforts of Rep. Devin Nunes to prevent cuts to Medicare reimbursement in 2014 for cancer care services which, if implemented, would reduce access of cancer patients to reliable quality care,” stated Robert A. Moss, President of the Medical Oncology Association of Southern California.
“I strongly support Congressman Nunes' efforts to prevent CMS's ongoing and future destructive cuts to cancer care,” said Jeffrey W. Cronk, President of the Association of Northern California Oncologists. “We have seen continued, increased costs for our patients with decreased reimbursement for care provided. This creates additional financial costs and emotional strain for our patients diagnosed with cancer. I endorse Congressman Nunes' lead to prevent these cuts.”
Over the past six years, 288 community cancer treatment facilities have closed and more than 469 practices have merged into or affiliated with hospitals due to inadequate reimbursement rates. This has resulted in seniors with cancer losing access to cancer care close to home — particularly in rural areas.