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Thursday, June 10, 2010

A copy of my recent letter to Rep. Jim Himes

As a cardiovascular specialist and member of the American College of Cardiology, I would like to thank you for cosponsoring H.R. 4371 to stop the cuts to cardiovascular specialists which came about as a result of CMS's 2010 Final Rule. At this time, I am requesting your assistance once again.

Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX) is circulating a letter from members of Congress to Ms. Charlene Frizzera, Acting Administrator and Chief Operating Officer of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) . This letter urges CMS to phase-in the 2010 cuts to newly bundled nuclear cardiology services in its upcoming proposed rule for the 2011 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. 

CMS decided to substantially reduce the payment for myocardial perfusion imaging as part of its 2010 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. Because there was a new code for the service, CMS did not apply the four-year transition of the practice expense cuts (similar to the other cuts included in the 2010 rule) and instead used the fully implemented value. The result was a 26 percent cut in payment for 2010. This change alone accounted for more than one-third of the payment cuts to cardiology in 2010. 

These cuts have had a devastating effect on my patients and my practice. A phase-in is vitally important as my practice tries to adjust to these and the other cuts included in the 2010 rule. I strongly urge you to intercede and ask CMS to phase in these cuts over the next several years. Please contact Julie Hart with Representative Charlie Gonzalez' (D-TX) office at Julie.Hart@mail.house.gov to sign-on to this very important letter as soon as possible. 

I offer myself as a resource should you have any questions. Thank you again for your time.

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