This Week – August 5, 2017

This Week in Washington, D.C.

  • Congress is stalled on health reform and back home: Great time to advocate for your patients and GI practices
  • 2017 MIPS Hardship Exemption: Applications Now Open
  • Back by Popular Demand: Joint ACG-FDA Fellowship Program

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

Congress is stalled on health reform and back home: Great time to advocate for your patients and GI practices

While Congress is on recess, August is a great time to advocate on behalf of your patients and ACG colleagues.  Whether it is improving access to colorectal cancer screening, access to drugs, or enhancing funding for GI research, ACG’s website makes this very easy to do.  Reach out to your elected officials while they are at home—health care reform is stalled in Congress but far from over.  Now is the perfect time to remind Congress of the important health policy issues impacting ACG members and your patients.

ACG is also busy in August on the regulatory front, as we aim to improve policies impacting your practice, and to reduce the number of administrative and regulatory burdens associated with practicing medicine.

You can view the available action alerts for any current key legislation on the home page of the linked site below. Also, by clicking on the “Bills” section, you can view information about any relevant bills that ACG is tracking at both the federal and state level. See one missing? Let us know!

Click here to take action now!


From ACG Practice Management Committee Chair, Michael S. Morelli, MD, CPE, FACG

2017 MIPS Hardship Exemption: Applications Now Open

On Wednesday, August 4th, CMS announced that ACG members who must participate in MIPS can now apply for a hardship exemption for the 2017 reporting year (this impacts CY 2019 reimbursement).  What does “hardship” actually mean?  The “hardship” applies specifically to the requirement to use certified EHRs, not a hardship from the MIPS as a whole.

If eligible, MIPS-eligible clinicians and groups may qualify for a reweighting of their Advancing Care Information performance category score to 0%.  The 25% weighting of the Advancing Care Information performance category is reallocated to the Quality performance category.

The “Quality Payment Program Hardship Exception” application for the 2017 transition year is now available on the Quality Payment Program website.  This website also provides the information (NPI, TIN, etc.) you need in order to apply.  You can also submit an application on the phone.  Contact Quality Payment Service Center at 1-866-288-8292 or QPP@cms.hhs.gov.  ACG is here is help, too.

MIPS-eligible clinicians and groups may qualify, and can submit a hardship exception application for one of the following specified reasons:

  • Insufficient internet connectivity.
  • Extreme and uncontrollable circumstances (a natural disaster in which the CEHRT was damaged or destroyed; practice or hospital closure; severe financial distress, such as bankruptcy or debt restructuring; EHR certification/vendor issues).
  • Lack of control over the availability of CEHRT.

There are some MIPS-eligible clinicians considered “special status” who will be automatically reweighted (or exempted in the case of MIPS-eligible clinicians participating in a MIPS APM) and do not need to submit a Quality Payment Program Hardship Exception Application.  While most ACG members are not considered special status, there may be members of your practice who are, including: hospital-based MIPS-eligible clinicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and non-patient facing clinicians.  Contact ACG or the Quality Payment Service Center at 1-866-288-8292 or TTY: 1-877-715-6222 or QPP@cms.hhs.gov.


Back by Popular Demand: Joint ACG-FDA Fellowship Program

Current fellows are invited to submit their application for a one-month rotation at the FDA, sponsored by ACG. The candidate chosen will have the opportunity to participate in daily FDA activities, and will gain first-hand knowledge of the drug and device approval process. The College will provide a stipend for travel and daily living expenses. All applications must be submitted directly to ACG, and will be reviewed by the ACG FDA Related Matters Committee along with staff at the FDA.

Upon completion of the rotation (while you are a fellow), the candidate will be invited by ACG to present his or her experiences at the following ACG Annual Scientific Meeting. The application process is now open. All applications must be submitted by September 22, 2017. The candidate will be chosen and notified of acceptance by November 2017.

For complete details regarding the FDA-ACG Fellowship Program, click here.