This Week – October 15, 2016

This Week in Washington, D.C.

  • CMS Release Final MACRA Rule
  • ACG Questions ABIM’s Decision on Longer Testing Requirements

From ACG National Affairs Committee Chair, Whitfield L. Knapple, MD, FACG

Final MACRA Rule a Hot Topic at ACG Meeting

On October 14, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the highly anticipated final rule outlining details of Medicare reimbursement reform beginning next year.

In a press conference on Friday, Acting CMS Director Andy Slavitt outlined the changes to help any physicians participating in Medicare’s transition under MACRA. The full text of the final rule is available online, and CMS has provided an Executive Summary.

ACG will soon have detailed information and an in-depth analysis on how these new mandates will impact your practice.

APMs and MIPS on the Agenda at Today’s Practice Management Course in Las Vegas
The release of the final rule is very well-timed, as ACG members attending the 2016 ACG Annual Scientific Meeting and Postgraduate Course, you will learn about the details of this rule, the changes from the proposed rule, and glean strategies and insights on how to adequately prepare your practice for these upcoming changes. From MACRA, to MIPS, to APMs, attendees will be among the first to learn about this breaking news on the final policies for CY 2017 and beyond.

“Pick Your Pace” Included in Final Rule
Under the final rule, 2017 is considered a “transition year.” The rule finalizes plans announced in September by CMS to ease reporting requirements in CY 2017 in order to mitigate the number of providers who would be subject to payment cuts in CY 2019. According to the rule, any effort to participate in MIPS will insulate providers from a reimbursement cut in CY 2019. CMS revised its estimates for GI. The agency now estimates that 95.6 percent of eligible GI MIPS participants will avoid a payment cut in 2019, a significant increase from an estimate of 62% in the proposed rule. For more details on how to avoid a payment cut in 2019 under MIPS, here is a quick overview.

Read the full blog

From ACG President, Kenneth R. DeVault, MD, FACG

ACG Questions ABIM’s Decision on Longer Testing Requirements

This week, ACG expressed its disappointment to the ABIM upon learning that ABIM will require an additional module for diplomates sitting for the upcoming re-certification exam. This adds an additional 60 questions and 2 hours’ time to the exam. The 60 new questions are “beta questions” that will be incorporated into all four modules, but will not be counted against the diplomates taking the exam. Clearly, this is contradictory to ACG’s request (and that of others across internal medicine) for the exam to be simpler, less intrusive, and less burdensome.

This change was also made unilaterally, despite ABIM’s promise to work in a collaborative process with physician organizations. As noted by ACG President Kenneth R. DeVault:

“ACG encourages ABIM to examine your decision making and communication processes. This lack of transparency does not lend itself to a collegial atmosphere and leads to a questioning of ABIM ulterior motives.”

To learn more about ACG’s efforts to make the MOC process less complicated, read the full blog here.