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USA: Surgeons concerned about impending cuts to surgical care

A new survey of more than 1,000 surgeons across the USA reiterates concerns that impending cuts to surgical care, set to take effect on 1 January 1 2023, will lead to a decrease in Medicare patient intake, increased delays to care, and longer wait times for patients in surgical practices. These survey results support the efforts of the over one million physician and non-physician healthcare providers joining together in urging congressional leadership to stop the full cut to Medicare payments through a Week of Action.

"Our survey results confirm that the impending cuts to Medicare payments will be disastrous for patients and their access to life-saving and life-altering care," said Patricia L. Turner, American College of Surgeons Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. "As our population continues to age, more and more seniors depend on Medicare to receive the care they need. Congressional leadership must protect patients by stopping the full cut to Medicare payments so healthcare providers can focus on delivering high-quality care to patients."

The survey, conducted for the American College of Surgeons, a founding member of the Surgical Care Coalition, found:

  • Around two-thirds of members expect patients will be faced with delays to care (68%) or longer wait times (65%). These are up from 56% and 57%, respectively, in 2021.
  • One-in-three (33%) members say there will be a change in their Medicare patient intake if the cuts were to go into effect, up from 25% in 2021.
  • 20% say they expect to take on fewer new Medicare patients, but that they will keep all existing Medicare patients.
  • While members report feeling the impact from supply chain issues and inflation, surgeons are also sounding the siren around healthcare worker shortages.
  • Over nine-in-ten (93%) report healthcare worker shortages impacting their ability to provide high quality care over the last year. Over three-quarters (77%) report "a great deal of impact" from these shortages.

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Source: CISION PR Newswire, 9 December 2022


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