Rep. Payne, Jr. Introduces Bill to Reduce Amputations Nationwide

October 16, 2020
Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --  Patrick.Wright@mail.house.gov

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. took two key actions today to protect Americans who are at risk of losing a limb due to a pre-existing condition. 

First, Rep. Payne, Jr. introduced the Amputation Reduction and Compassion (ARC) Act.  The bill would allow Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries who are at risk for Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) to use the program to pay for screening tests without cost-sharing requirements.  Second, the Congressman wrote a letter to House and Senate leadership to ask them to prevent Medicare cuts to specialty physicians that could affect doctors who treat PAD patients.

“I took these actions to protect Americans who could lose a limb to a preventable disease,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.  “PAD is treatable, if we catch it early.  Medicare and Medicaid treat our most vulnerable citizens.  We need to allow these two critical programs to support medical professionals and patients and not cut critical funding that could cause Americans to lose their limbs.”  

Rep. Payne, Jr. is a strong supporter of efforts to reduce PAD-related amputations.  Rep. Payne, Jr. co-founded the PAD Caucus in April 2019 with Rep. Gus Bilirakis to raise awareness of PAD and include it in federal government health care priorities.  The caucus currently has 35 bipartisan members. 

PAD occurs when blood flow is reduced to the arms and legs because arteries become narrowed or blocked with fatty deposits.  It is a similar condition to the one that causes heart attacks, which is why PAD sufferers have a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes.  Today, 21 million Americans have PAD and an estimated 200,000 of them will need an amputation.  These amputations could be prevented if PAD is screened and diagnosed early.  One example is a procedure called revascularization, which reopens blood vessels narrowed from PAD and prevent the amputation of limbs.  The Amputation Reduction and Compassion Act has five co-sponsors, including Rep. Bennie Thompson who is Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

The full letter to House and Senate leadership is below.

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October 15, 2020

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                                 The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Speaker                                                                                   Majority Leader

U.S.  House of Representatives                                              U.S.  Senate 

H-232, U.S.  Capitol                                                               S-230, U.S.  Capitol

Washington, D.C.  20515                                                       Washington, D.C.  20510

 

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy                                            The Honorable Charles E.  Schumer

Minority Leader                                                                      Minority Leader                     

U.S.  House of Representatives                                              U.S.  Senate

H-204, U.S.  Capitol                                                               S-221, U.S.  Capitol

Washington, D.C.  20515                                                       Washington, D.C.  20510

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, House Minority Leader McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Schumer:

We write to urge you to prevent damaging cuts to medical specialties that help to prevent and treat peripheral artery disease – a debilitating condition.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD), involves atherosclerosis, or the build-up of plaque inside the arteries of a patient’s lower extremities and is a chronic, life-threatening condition.  PAD is a risk for more than 30 million Americans living with diabetes and 84.1 million living with prediabetes.  If left untreated, PAD can lead to critical limb ischemia (CLI) and amputation.  Today, nearly 20 million Americans have PAD and an estimated 200,000 of them – disproportionately from minority communities – suffer unnecessary amputations every year.  Nationally, the amputation rate among black Medicare beneficiaries is nearly three times higher than the rate among other beneficiaries.

PAD patients depend on vascular surgeons, international radiologists, and interventional cardiologists to diagnose, treat, and manage their disease.  In November 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule which threatens significant Medicare cuts to specialty physicians under the PFS in 2021 as a mechanism for funding payment increases for evaluation and management (E&M) services.  These specialties are slated for cuts ranging from five percent to eight percent in 2021.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the nation, now is not the time to reduce our investment in medical infrastructure.  PAD patients are disproportionately covered by Medicare, and these reductions will not only harm the ability of PAD patients to seek treatment, but will put them at increased risk of COVID-19 infections and comorbidities.

We respectfully urge you to act before these cuts go into effect in 2021.

Sincerely,