This Week – March 11, 2017

This Week in Washington, D.C.

  • Important date for ACG members: March 13th Deadline for 2016 EHR Incentive Program Attestation
  • ACG Joins Patient Advocates in Washington D.C.
  • ACA Repeal Watch: Very Busy Week for Repeal and Replace; what to watch for?

From ACG Practice Management Committee Chair, Michael S. Morelli, MD, CPE, FACG

Important date for ACG members: March 13th Deadline for 2016 EHR Incentive Program Attestation

CMS announced that the attestation period for the 2016 reporting year is now open for those ACG members who have participated in the 2016 Medicare Meaningful Use Program.  The attestation period will end on March 13th, 2017 at 11:59 PM (ET).  Providers must attest by the deadline to avoid a 2018 payment adjustment.

CMS has released attestation worksheets as a guide to prepare for reporting for 2016 Meaningful Use attestation.  Providers can log their Meaningful Use measures for each objective in the worksheet and use it as a reference when attesting for the Medicare 2016 Meaningful Use Program in CMS’ Registration and Attestation System.

ACG Joins Patient Advocates in Washington D.C.

On March 6th and 7th, ACG joined the Digestive Disease National Coalition (DDNC) in Washington D.C. for the DDNC’s annual spring public policy forum.  The DDNC is an advocacy organization comprised of both the national and state professional societies, as well as many patient advocacy groups.  Together, they promote awareness and improve the lives of patients with various GI diseases.  ACG is a proud member of the DDNC and very active in this important coalition.

ACG members and the DDNC met with their respective U.S. Representatives and Senators to promote important legislative initiatives, such as preserving patient insurance coverage, as well as urging support for the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act of 2017.

Please urge your support for the “Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act” (S. 479; HR 1017).

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the “Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act.”  Reps. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), and Charles Dent (R-PA) introduced a corresponding bill in the House.  The bill fixes a Medicare coverage quirk contained in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by waiving Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing when screening colonoscopies turn therapeutic. Right now, Medicare only has the authority to waive the patient coinsurance for colonoscopies that remain a “screening.”  The recent House Republican ACA repeal and replace legislation would not impact, or resolve, this Medicare coverage quirk.  Please urge your Representative to cosponsor the bill!

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

ACA Repeal Watch: Very Busy Week for Repeal and Replace; what to watch for?

On March 6th, 2017, both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Committee released draft legislation, the “American Health Care Act,” to repeal and replace the ACA. Each Committee then held very lengthy and extremely contentious “mark-up” meetings to debate and make changes (or “mark-up”) the drafts before passing them out of committee.  Next week, the House Budget Committee will combine the bills into one House bill. However, more changes are anticipated before the combined package gets to the House floor by the anticipated goal of the end of March.

ACG is in the process of gauging the impact of the proposal on GI practices and patients, given the information that is publicly available.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has yet to release the official estimates of the costs/savings to the federal government, as well as the estimated impact on insurance enrollees.

The current plan preserves the cost-sharing and other protections for preventive services, such as colorectal cancer screening, as well as protection for those with pre-existing conditions.  Medicare services are also not impacted by the proposed legislation.  However, defined essential health benefits and preventive services in Medicaid are affected, as the bill gives states the flexibility to forgo covering essential health benefits and a full range of preventive services.

What’s in the plan?  What is ACG watching? Read the full post here.