Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Is a Serious Setback to a Robust Infectious Diseases Workforce
The 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule continues the longstanding practice of gravely undervaluing the contributions of infectious diseases physicians. These experts safeguard America’s health, including helping the nation recover from COVID-19, address RSV, and prevent polio, flu and monkeypox, among other conditions. ID physicians are uniquely involved in nearly all types of health care, ensuring that patients can safely receive cancer chemotherapy, organ transplants, hip and knee replacements, and other surgeries and complex ICU care.
Outbreaks of infectious diseases are emergencies that jeopardize public health and patient safety. The U.S. population has seen this up close for nearly three years, in ways not experienced in decades. One clear takeaway from the pandemic is that America needs more infectious diseases physicians to adequately meet the country’s needs.
Infectious diseases physicians improve patient outcomes and lower health care costs for people with serious infections. They protect patients and the population at large by preventing, diagnosing and treating infectious diseases.
In a country where 80% of counties lack a single infectious diseases physician, Medicare’s complicated payment system must not stand in the way of building the next generation of physicians that people and governments need. Increased reimbursement is warranted and necessary.
Having enough infectious diseases physicians is an essential priority for public health and health care systems. Undervaluing their contributions will only undermine efforts to have a robust ID workforce in the U.S.
Carlos del Rio, MD, FIDSA – President, Infectious Diseases Society of America
The Infectious Diseases Society of America is a community of more than 12,000 physicians, scientists and public health experts who specialize in infectious diseases. Its purpose is to improve the health of individuals, communities and society by promoting excellence in patient care, education, research, public health and prevention relating to infectious diseases. Learn more at https://www.idsociety.org/.