This Week – October 14, 2017

This Week in Washington, D.C.

  • At the state and local level: ACG Leadership Testifies at Ohio State House- Urge Support for MOC Legislation
  • ACA Repeal Watch: Repeal efforts via the regulatory process underway
  • MACRA Tidbit for the Week: ACG Offering Various MACRA Educational Courses at WCOG at ACG2017

ACG Leadership Testifies at Ohio State House-
Urge Support for MOC Legislation

On Wednesday, Oct 11th, ACG President, Carol Burke, MD, FACG and ACG Governor for Southern Ohio, Christopher South, MD, FACG testified before the Ohio House Health Committee in support of HB 273, the Patient Access Expansion Act.  This bill prohibits maintenance of certification (MOC) as a precondition for state licensure, hospital privileges, employment, and reimbursement.  Through the ACG Board of Governors and ACG Task Force on MOC, the College has been very active on MOC-related bills being introduced and passed in state houses across the country.  Drs. Burke and South urged the Health Committee to support HB 273, highlighting the lack of clinical relevance of MOC closed-book examinations, as well as the frustration and anger associated with MOC’s impact on the ability to practice medicine.  Drs. Burke and South emphasized the difference between MOC versus the value and importance of initial board certification and continuing medical education.

ACG remains committed to promoting high quality of patient care through lifelong learning, as opposed to lifelong testing.   ACG will continue to work with state legislators in Ohio to help get this bill passed.

ACG is here to help other states nationwide, as well.  Please use the ACG Legislative Action Center to support ongoing efforts in your states, and encourage your state medical and/or state GI society to get involved in introducing MOC legislation in your respective states.


From ACG Legislative and Public Policy Council Chair, Whitfield L. Knapple, MD, FACG

ACA Repeal Watch: Repeal efforts via the regulatory process underway

On Thursday, October 12th, President Donald Trump signed an executive order with the goal of rolling back the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) via the regulatory process.  The Administration noted that since the Republican-controlled Congress has yet to repeal the ACA as a law, President Trump may begin issuing a series of executive orders to make changes via the regulatory process.

The order signed on Thursday:

  • Directs the Department of Labor to consider expanding access to Association Health Plans (AHPs) for small groups and employers, to band together and purchase insurance across state lines.  Please note that the ACA already enables creating a process to purchase insurance across state lines.  The executive order allows agencies to broaden the interpretation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and loosen ACA coverage requirements with a goal of a broader range of insurance options at lower rates in the large group market.  According to the Administration, employers participating in an AHP cannot exclude any employee from joining the plan, and cannot develop premiums based on health conditions.
    • The Administration noted that this AHP change may help prevent provider consolidation and monopolies, as the ACA “exacerbated a growing trend toward consolidation among healthcare providers, particularly large hospitals systems buying up physician practices. Nearly half of hospital markets are anti-competitive, with many areas of the country dominated by one or two large hospital systems. Evidence suggests that increased market concentration leads to significantly higher prices for consumers.”
  • Directs the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to consider expanding coverage through low cost short-term limited duration insurance (STLDI) that are not required to adhere to ACA coverage requirements.
  • Directs the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to consider changes to Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs).  HRAs are employer-funded accounts that reimburse employees for healthcare expenses, such as deductibles and copayments.  Currently, the IRS does not count funds contributed to an HRA as taxable income.

Read the full blog here.

ACG Offering Various MACRA Educational Courses
at WCOG at ACG2017

Are you attending the World Congress of Gastroenterology at ACG this weekend?  If so, make sure you attend the various MACRA presentations and courses. From getting basic background, to learning what need to do now for MIPS, and other practice management related tips, check out the WCOG at ACG 2017 calendar and get comfortable with MACRA.