This Week – February 6, 2016

This Week in Washington, DC

  • Congress Seeks ACG’s Advice on Changes to Stark Law
  • FDA Updates Guidance on Reprocessing Medical Devices
  • ACG Updates Member Guidance on 2016 Medicare Reimbursement and Quality Reporting
  • Dr. Michael Morelli Invites you to View the ACG 2015 Practice Management Course

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

ACG Urges Congress to Repeal Stark Law

On Wednesday, February 3, ACG urged Congress to repeal the Stark Law and related Anti-Kickback Statute.   The Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees early last month reached out to ACG for input on the Stark Law’s impact on clinical gastroenterology and private practices.  ACG compiled the feedback from the ACG Governors, Practice Management and National Affairs Committees, which enabled ACG to provide real-world, state-by-state examples of how the Stark Law impedes innovation and prevents GI practices from improving care coordination.  ACG also provided examples of recent federal policy changes that contradict the Stark Law, thus requiring more and more exceptions to the law.  It is clear that the Stark Law and related restrictions need to go. Another highlight from the letter includes:

“We must also eliminate the assumption that physician-investment leads to illicit profiteering. Independent physician practices are still made up of physicians who have personal ties to their patients and communities, and have the fiduciary responsibility to uphold their oaths as health care providers.”

Read the ACG’s letter to Senate Finance and House Ways & Means.

Read my full post here.

FDA updates automated endoscope reprocessor information

The FDA has released updated information on automated endoscope reprocessors identifying which manufacturers have completed Automated Endoscope Reprocessors (AER) validation testing with adequate results.  AERs are important devices widely used in the health care setting to reprocess endoscopes, such as duodenoscopes, and endoscope accessories, to decontaminate them between uses.  According to the FDA, in the United States, there are five companies that manufacture AERs labeled to reprocess duodenoscopes currently in use in health care facilities. This table lists the manufacturers and AER models that have completed the updated high level disinfection or liquid chemical sterilization validation testing with duodenoscopes.

FDA also released guidance on Tuesday detailing which medical devices present a clear potential for serious harm and should have premarket submissions from manufacturers that include human factors data to help evaluate safety and effectiveness. Included on the list are duodenoscopes with elevator channels and gastroenterology-urology endoscopic ultrasound systems with elevator channels.

ACG Updates Medicare Reimbursement and Quality Reporting Guidance

Have questions on 2016 Medicare reimbursement rates or need guidance on participating in Medicare quality reporting programs?  Please visit ACG’s updated 2016 “Medicare Reimbursement and Quality Reporting Toolkit.”  This educational material is tailored for busy GI practices.

National Affairs - Knapple .jpg Dr. Michael Morelli Invites you to View the ACG 2015 Practice Management Course

Stand-out Topics from 2015 Practice Management Course in Honolulu:

-Promoting your practice through innovative marketing techniques
-Strategies for negotiating with hospitals

Dear Colleagues: As the chairman of the ACG Practice Management Committee, I am very proud to be affiliated with the Practice Management Course offered every year by our committee at the ACG Annual Scientific Meeting.

The 2015 Practice Management Course in Hawaii was directed by Dr. Joseph Cappa and Dr. William Stern who organized an excellent program, “Riding the Wild Surf of the Ever-Changing Medical Environment: Can You Maximize Value in Your Practice? How Can You Use Negotiation Techniques to Avoid the Dreaded Wipeout?”

Our intent was to provide practitioners with both a broad-based understanding of the current GI practice landscape and to provide focused recommendations on how to improve the clinical and business aspect of their practices.

The 2015 course was well attended, and not just because it was in Hawaii.  The course received very high marks on surveys of attendees and covered numerous topics, with standout sessions on negotiations, quality, and marketing.  The importance of these topics should not be underestimated:

The ability to skillfully negotiate can have an enormous positive impact on the ability to make hospital and insurance relationships profitable and help you to create “win-win” scenarios for you and your partners.

  • Understanding how to measure and report quality can greatly improve your practice’s reputation and ability to market itself, attract patients, influence referral patterns, and improve negotiation position with third party payers.
  • Marketing can improve referrals and patient satisfaction, help doctors manage their own reputations, and allow patients to participate in their own health care especially via patient portal systems.

All of these topics were covered in great detail at the 2015 course, but in particular the talks on promoting your GI practice through innovative marketing techniques and negotiating with hospitals were especially excellent. I hope you will take time to view these lectures as I am confident you will find them all educational and enjoyable.

Thank you,

Michael S. Morelli MD, CPE, FACG

Chairman Practice Management Committee, ACG

Read my full post here.