This Week – January 21, 2017

This Week in Washington, D.C.

  • First Confirmation Hearing for HHS Secretary Price
  • At the State and Local Level: Thank you ACG members in Connecticut
  • MACRA Tidbit for the Week: 2017 is a “Transition Year”: Here is what you need to know

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

First Confirmation Hearing for HHS Secretary Price

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a contentious confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price, MD.  The Committee focused on Rep. Price’s purchases of medical stocks against Democratic charges of conflicts of interest, and pressed for more details on the incoming Administration’s plan to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (known as the ACA).

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee will hold another hearing on January 24th.  The Finance Committee has the responsibility of voting to send Dr. Price’s nomination to the Senate floor for a vote.

During the HELP Committee hearing, Dr. Price agreed with the importance of keeping health insurance markets stable as the incoming Administration and Congress makes changes to the ACA. According to insurance companies, many are trying to prepare their 2018 offerings for government reviews despite uncertainty about how the Trump Administration and Congress will change the law.  The Trump Administration stated last week that they will release their plans once Dr. Price is confirmed as HHS Secretary.

ACG is actively involved in this process, and will update ACG members as soon as more details are released.  What are some changes that may occur?

As Congressman, Dr. Price drafted a bill to replace the ACA.  To learn more, check out the full blog here.

From ACG Governor for Connecticut, Jeffry L. Nestler, MD, FACG

At the State and Local level: Legislation introduced to eliminate ASC tax in Connecticut

Thank you ACG members in Connecticut!

Last week, ACG urged CT members to contact their state legislature to eliminate the unfair and burdensome ASC gross receipts provider tax passed in late 2015.  ACG is working again with the Connecticut Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (CAASC) and other organizations.  This week, ACG is glad to report that legislation has been introduced and we thank you for your advocacy.  ACG Governor for Connecticut Jeffrey Nestler, MD FACG and other ACG members from Connecticut are actively involved to get a bill passed into law.

Remember to contact your ACG Governor on important state and local issues impacting you and your practice.

The ACG Board of Governors is one of the most unique aspects of the American College of Gastroenterology. Governors are ACG Fellows that are elected from the membership of a particular state or region. There are currently 76 Governors across seven different regions in the U.S. and abroad. The Board of Governors acts as a two-way conduit between College leadership and the membership at-large. This helps the College make certain it is meeting the evolving needs of the membership.  Contact your ACG Governor today.

2017 is a “Transition Year”: Here is what you need to know

CMS views CY 2017 as a transition year to ease Medicare providers into MIPS.  What does this mean?

ACG members who submit 90 consecutive days of 2017 data will avoid a payment cut, and may earn a bonus in 2019.  You will not get extra points, or larger bonuses, for submitting 90 days vs. a full calendar year.  It is simply a choice.

If you don’t send in any 2017 data, then you will receive a 4% payment cut in 2019.

If you submit a minimum amount of 2017 data to Medicare, you can avoid a payment cut.  For example, submitting one quality measure for one patient, or attesting to one improvement activity will suffice.