This Week – July 30, 2016

This Week in Washington, D.C.

  • MACRA Tidbit for the Week: It’s convention season: how will the U.S. presidential election impact MACRA?
  • World Hepatitis Day: Demonstration Project Links Colorectal Cancer Screening and Hepatitis C Virus Screening

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It’s convention season: how will the
presidential election impact MACRA?

 
Many ACG members have asked about the forthcoming impact of the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections on MACRA.  What will happen to MACRA if a Republican wins the election?  A Democrat?  A Third Party?

It is unclear what will happen to MACRA if a third party candidate wins the election.  What is clearer: it does not seem to matter whether a Republican or Democrat wins.  MACRA will likely stay put.

Why?  The health care election issues still focus on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and access to health care via greater access to health insurance– not necessarily how Medicare pays providers.  President Obama’s 2010 health care law did authorize Medicare ACOs (“shared savings program”) as well as the “CMS Innovation Center,” so repealing the Affordable Care Act could affect how alternative payment models under MACRA are defined and vetted.  MACRA does not create new alternative payment models; it provides greater incentives to join one.

However, MACRA has significant bipartisan popularity on both sides of the aisle in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.  The U.S. Senate passed MACRA in April 2015 by a 92 to 8 margin. The U.S. House passed MACRA in March 2015 by a 392 to 37 margin.  There appears to be little incentive for the incoming President to repeal this law.

All signs point to MACRA staying put for the time being.

More on MACRA: ACG Hopes to Keep This Simple.   We compiled a detailed overview for you, hopefully in a simplified fashion and in plain English.  Read the summary and potential impact to GI: Making $ense of MACRA

The 2016 ACG Annual Scientific Meeting and Postgraduate Course will also delve into the details of these changes, as well as offer strategies and insight on how to adequately prepare your practice for these upcoming changes.


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

World Hepatitis Day: Demonstration Project Links Colorectal Cancer Screening and Hepatitis C Virus Screening

On Thursday, July 28th, ACG joined the CDC and other patient advocacy groups in commemorating “World Hepatitis Day.” To raise awareness to this issue, ACG urged Capitol Hill to pass the innovative Medicare demonstration project as authorized in the SCREEN Act.

The SCREEN Act (S. 1079/H.R. 2035), introduced by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Representative Richard Neal (D-MA), seeks to increase the screening rates in the Medicare population for both colorectal cancer and Hepatitis C.

Currently, Medicare only covers a Hepatitis C screening test if it is ordered by a primary care doctor or practitioner. This doesn’t take into account the fact that roughly 85-90% of those infected with chronic viral Hepatitis C are asymptomatic, and may not go to a primary care provider for a referral in the first place.  The SCREEN Act, however, would allow a provider to bill for an office visit to discuss colonoscopy preparation, answer patient questions, and serve as the required referral for Hepatitis C screening.

Read the full blog here.

What can you do to help?

View and share ACG’s infographic on the SCREEN Act and Hepatitis C screening.

Contact your local elected officials and urge them to support the SCREEN Act here.

Contact your ACG Governor on important state and local issues impacting you and your practice.