The American College of Cardiology and several other professional medical associations have filed a lawsuit against HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in an attempt to block a Medicare reimbursement rate reduction scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
Groups sue over impending reimbursement cut
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., charges that Sebelius used a flawed Physician Practice Information Survey, which gathers information about practice expenses, to help determine the rate reduction. Those flaws include using information from a sample of only 55 cardiologists, which the plaintiffs allege is too small and unrepresentative of the 37,000 cardiologists now practicing throughout the country.
“The process by which Medicare determined reimbursement rates was deeply flawed,” said ACC CEO Jack Lewin in a news release. “As a result, the 2010 rule will levy cuts to cardiologist services by up to 40% and will deny critical cardiovascular care for millions of heart patients” by forcing doctors to shutter practices, he added.
Joining the ACC in the lawsuit are the Association of Black Cardiologists, the ACC Florida Chapter, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology and the Cardiology Advocacy Alliance. They are seeking a hearing prior to Jan. 15, when the first set of Medicare payments for 2010 are scheduled to be issued.
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