This Week – March 1, 2014

This Week in Washington DC:

  1. GI Societies Host Congressional Briefing on Colonoscopy
  2. HHS Says No Delay For ICD-10: Free ACG Member Benefit to Prepare Practices

GI Societies Hold Successful Briefing on Capitol Hill

On Wednesday, February 26th, the ACG, AGA, and ASGE came together on Capitol Hill to highlight the power of colonoscopy in colorectal cancer prevention and the importance of screening. This successful, and standing room only event, gave Members of Congress, congressional staffers, and interested stakeholders the opportunity to learn firsthand the public health success story of colonoscopy—and the challenges the U.S. faces in increasing screening colonoscopy utilization rates. The event also kicked-off “National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.”

Dr. Gregory Ginsberg, FACG, FASGE, AGAF, Dr. David Greenwald, FACG, FASGE, AGAF, and Dr. Mark Pochapin, FACG, FASGE gave presentations showcasing from various perspectives why colonoscopy is such a powerful preventive tool, and why the gastroenterologist’s expertise is preferred when performing colonoscopy. Drs. Ginsberg, Greenwald, and Pochapin also demonstrated how a colonoscopy is performed, thanks to FUJIFILM’s generous offer to loan a training module. After the presentations and the Q & A session, audience members were invited to experience using the colonoscope and module.

Dr. Howard K. Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), also participated in this event, assuring the audience that health officials are putting renewed emphasis on increasing colorectal cancer screening. “We have a tremendous opportunity before us over the next months and years,” said Dr. Koh. “We can envision a future where we eliminate colorectal cancer as a public health problem.”

Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) also spoke to the audience and stressed their commitment to colorectal cancer awareness and prevention. Former Representative, and current health care attorney and public policy expert, Earl Pommeroy (D-ND) also attended the briefing in support of the GI societies.

Drs. Mark Pochapin, Gregory Ginsberg, and David Greenwald
at the Capitol Hill Briefing this week

ACG will continue to educate Congress and policymakers on the importance of colorectal cancer screening and the role colonoscopy plays in reducing colorectal cancer incidence rates, deaths, as well as health care costs.

ICD-10 Implementation Still Scheduled for October 1st

On Thursday, February 27th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilynn Tavenner confirmed that ICD-10 implementation will not be delayed again. The transition from ICD-9 diagnosis codes to the substantially larger set of ICD-10 codes is still scheduled for October 1, 2014. ACG continues to urge CMS to delay this significant administrative and costly burden to ACG members’ practices. However, in anticipation of October 1st, ACG has partnered with a medical coding services company to help educate and prepare members for this major transition.

In partnership with The Coding Institute, ACG is pleased to provide a FREE membership benefit that will make the transition to ICD-10 a bit easier. The new service allows members to find the corresponding ICD-10 code(s) simply by typing in any ICD-9 code. Also, The Coding Institute will give ACG members a discount on other coding assistance and services, including access to personal services and other coding information specific to gastroenterology. These discounts are only available to ACG members. Prepare your practice now and begin using the service and accessing additional resources from the College to ease the stress involved with this major change. Access the ICD-10 resources here:

Please stay tuned for further updates. Please also share and discuss your thoughts with fellow ACG members on the ACG GI Circle. To login and share your comments, go to and sign in as a member. Once you have done so, click here and then click the orange "Visit ACG GI Circle" button to be taken to the GI Circle site. If you have not yet activated your ACG GI Circle account, please email us at

Contact Brad Conway, VP Public Policy, with any questions or for more information.

Brad Conway