This Week – September 15, 2018

This Week in Washington, D.C.

  • APMs and Value-Based Care in Spotlight.  ACG is here to help!
  • Register for the ACG 2018 Practice Management Course!

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

APMs and Value-Based Care in Spotlight.  ACG is here to help!

On Thursday, September 13th, the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing entitled, “Examining Barriers to Expanding Innovative Value-Based Care in Medicare.”  This hearing focused on the efforts to transition the Medicare program away from fee-for-service and towards various arrangements designed to promote better and more coordinated health care, but also as a means to provide cost controls in Medicare.  Among the issues discussed were promoting ideas away from fee-for-service, improving accountable care organizations (ACOs), implementing ideas borne out the Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC) reviews, and ways to improve alternative payment model (APM) participation via changes to the Stark Law and anti-kickback statute.

ACG supports efforts to promote voluntary participation in APMs, if they make financial sense to individual GI practices and improve care to our patients.  ACG does not support, however, any goal of pushing physicians towards APMs simply as the means to implement cost controls in Medicare.

Help ACG advocate for the “Medicare Care Coordination Improvement Act” (S.2051; HR 4206).  This legislation seeks to modernize the physician self-referral prohibitions to promote care coordination to facilitate participation in APMs under the Medicare program.

Click here to take action now!

On Thursday, September 6thHHS Secretary Alex Azar made some interesting remarks during the most recent PTAC meeting. His remarks focused on value-based healthcare.  Notably, he mentioned mandatory participation in APM models.

“We need strategies and models that provide better care at a lower price, not just new models for the sake of new models, and not new systems of payment for old systems that aren’t open to real change. In some cases, as I’ve said before, that is going to mean mandatory models from CMMI and other mandatory reforms. Requiring participation can be necessary to determine whether a model really works, but it may also be necessary to meet what we see as an urgent need for reform. But we are not going to be overzealous in determining how these reforms happen. We’re interested in driving the outcome we want, rather than micromanaging how you get there.”

The issue of mandatory participation in APMs has long been on ACG’s radar screen, as policymakers continue efforts to reform Medicare.  The College continues to educate policymakers that the goal should be focusing on evidence-based medicine and promoting quality improvement registries in order to collect information and to further improve patient care.  The goal should not be forcing payment models upon GI practices that may not be suitable or sustainable for their individual needs.

How can ACG help you navigate the APM waters? Want some practical tips? Read the full blog here.

Register for the ACG 2018 Practice Management Course!

Join us at the ACG 2018 Practice Management Course to learn from colleagues about new and innovative ways to improve operations, enhance productivity, and guarantee success in your practice.


Ralph D. McKibbin, MD, FACG
Jay N. Yepuri, MD, MS

Course Directors
Members, ACG Practice Management Committee

View the Agenda for the Practice Management Course here.

Register for the ACG Practice Management Course here.