The hospice sector quickly blasted a 20% Medicare payment cut proposed by a congressional advisory panel.

Medicare’s $29,995 annual hospice payment limit for beneficiaries would be trimmed to $23,996 under a draft recommendation made by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission on Friday. The plan would reduce payments by more than $570 million, or roughly 3% of Medicare’s hospice spend.

The commission is expected to formally vote to approve recommending the cuts at its January meeting.

“We are disappointed by the draft recommendation that there be no update in current hospice payment rates, said Tom Koutsoumpas, president and CEO of National Partnership for Hospice Innovation.

Annie Acs, director of health policy and innovation at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, said hospice care and patient access would be undermined if the funding reductions are put in place.

Congress is not required to accept MedPAC suggestions, and it routinely ignores the panel’s recommendations.