This Week – June 25, 2016

This Week in Washington, D.C.

  • Important Meaningful Use Date Right Around the Corner: July 1st
  • ACG’s MACRA Tidbit for the Week: An old joke and a new regulation
  • ACG Members: Utilize ACG’s Practice Management Tools

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

Important Meaningful Use Date Right around the Corner: July 1st

Did you know that all ACG members can apply for and receive a Stage 2 Meaningful Use hardship exemption for the 2015 reporting year?  Congress passed this hardship exemption in late 2015.  Please find the easy to use instructions here.  The deadline is July 1, 2016.  Also take note that even ACG members attesting to meeting the 2015 Meaningful Use reporting year can also apply for this blanket hardship exemption, simply as additional security and without penalty.

Check out Dr. Knapple’s blog from May on Meaningful Use and the 2016 reporting year

Meaningful Use in 2016: Is 2016 a donut-hole year? A Practice Management Conundrum.  Read the full blog post here.


The Construction Workers:
An Old Joke in D.C. Policy Circles

Congress once passed legislation for an infrastructure project and authorized the hiring of 2 construction workers.  Congress then authorized an oversight panel of appointees to monitor the work and progress of this project.  This oversight panel then created a blue ribbon commission to create performance metrics and a committee of financial experts to monitor the costs.  The construction workers performed their duties well and reported to the project’s various overseers.  However, Congress soon mandated budget cuts.  So Congress tasked the oversight panel of appointees to submit a report on the best approach to move forward with the project, who in turn, charged the blue ribbon commission and financial experts to conduct this study.  Congress then fired the construction workers to meet the budget cuts…

How does this relate to MACRA?

MACRA’s goal is to improve quality of patient care as well as reduce overall health care costs – both laudable goals.  ACG commends Congress and CMS for implementing policies to help improve the quality of patient care.  However, ACG questions whether targeting physician reimbursement is the most effective approach to reduce health care costs.  Rather than creating more layers of obfuscating bureaucracy and diverting resources to meet escalating regulatory requirements, policy makers should instead focus on reducing costly administrative burdens placed upon gastroenterologists and GI clinicians by the proposed MACRA rulemaking.

Administrative Burden Run Amok

According to a 2013 Harvard Business Review blog, from 1990 to 2012, the U.S. health care workforce grew by 75 percent.  However, 95% of that job growth was driven by increases in administrative staff, not physicians.


In December 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reported that health care occupations and industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth and will add the most jobs between 2014 and 2024.  The DOL concluded that the “health care and social assistance” sector is expected to become the largest employing major sector during the projections decade, overtaking the state and local government sector.  However, in April 2016, the Association of American Medical Colleges reported that there will be a significant shortage of physicians by 2025, including a shortage in non-primary specialty care.

Driving the expected growth in U.S. health care jobs is the demand for manpower in administration and compliance sectors.  Imagine the costly impact MACRA’s byzantine reporting requirements will have on these estimates.

What is ACG doing about this?

ACG is committed to improving MACRA and reducing the reporting burdens for GI practices.  ACG is finalizing comments on this proposed rule and will continue to work with CMS and Congress, to advocate on your behalf.  The College is working to ensure that at this time of lower reimbursement rates and spiraling administrative burdens, policy makers recognize that physicians are at a crucial point in health care delivery in the United States.

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 Practice Management Committee Chair, Mike Morelli, MD FACG

ACG Members: Utilize ACG’s Practice Management Tools  

It is ACG’s mission to assist you with your private practice needs.  We host a wealth of practice management materials for members on our website and the ACG Universe, including:

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

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?”  The 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.