Majority of surgeons in new survey warn of longer wait times, care delays if Medicare cuts go through

November 11, 2021 / by Robert King

Most surgeons said in a recent survey that a series of Medicare reimbursement cuts expected to go into effect in 2022 could lead to longer wait times and delays as well as exacerbate a crippling labor shortage.

The survey results of 2,227 members from the American College of Surgeons provided exclusively to Fierce Healthcare by the Surgical Care Coalition, a collection of 13 advocacy groups, comes as physician groups are pressing Congress to step in and delay a series of cuts that could add up to a nearly 10% shave to Medicare reimbursements.

The survey found 57% of respondents believe the cuts would lead to longer wait times, while 56% believe the cuts could contribute to a delay in care.

Surgeons warn the potential cuts are coming at a time when the healthcare industry is facing a major labor shortage that is already straining finances. A large majority (76%) of surgeons say staffing shortages have had an impact on their practice’s ability to provide quality care.

The shortage has also caused backlogs in care.

Michael Zinner, M.D., executive director of the Miami Cancer Institute, told Fierce Healthcare in an interview that the 11-hospital system he is part of is down 800 nurses. Only 19 out of 24 operating rooms are in use because of the staffing shortfall.


Chris J. Stewart

Chris currently serves as President and CEO of Surgio Health. Chris has close to 20 years of healthcare management experience, with an infinity to improve healthcare delivery through the development and implementation of innovative solutions that result in improved efficiencies, reduction of unnecessary financial & clinical variation, and help achieve better patient outcomes. Previously, Chris was assistant vice president and business unit leader for HPG/HCA. He has presented at numerous healthcare forums on topics that include disruptive innovation, physician engagement, shifting reimbursement models, cost per clinical episode and the future of supply chain delivery.

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