I want to let you know that the ACG takes recent CMS changes in colonoscopy reimbursement extremely seriously and we are working tirelessly to represent you in this critical issue.
We certainly consider the recent decision by CMS to decrease reimbursement rates an affront to the health of the American public. While we have provided volumes of data to the agency to support the success story of colonoscopy, our position can be boiled down to the following points as we work to correct this injustice:
- Colonoscopy is the only method to both screen for and prevent the development of colon cancer by finding and removing cancerous and pre-cancerous polyps.
- Colonoscopy is thus the single most important method to decrease colorectal cancer morbidity and mortality.
- The ACG is therefore befuddled as to why Medicare is relying on flawed RUC recommendations to significantly cut reimbursement rates for this lifesaving procedure at a time our nation is finally seeing progress in the fight against colorectal cancer. In slashing colonoscopy, CMS is in direct contradiction with other health agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which have specifically stated that our nation must do more to increase colorectal screening, particularly in the Medicare-aged population.
In advocating for colonoscopy reimbursement on behalf of our members, the College had no faith in the RUC and little faith in CMS. Our overarching goal throughout has been to protect and preserve appropriate reimbursement for lifesaving colonoscopy under Medicare.
This is precisely why the College has championed the SCREEN Act as a cornerstone of our strategy. We saw the need for a legislative option in the face of the potential failure of the regulatory process. The SCREEN Act – ACG’s #1 legislative priority for more than a decade – is the only bill currently before the Congress that would reverse these devastating cuts.
Almost 7,000 ACG members and their patients have signed a petition to urge Congress to address these cuts. If you haven’t already, sign it HERE. If you have signed it, then share the link so others can sign it too.
Then take your justifiable frustration and call your Member of Congress to ask them to co-sponsor the SCREEN Act (S. 1079/H.R. 2035). You can reach the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
On this issue, the College has been guided by a simple credo: ACG is committed to U.S. gastroenterologists being paid fairly and accurately for a highly skilled intervention which prevents colorectal cancer, reduces suffering, saves lives and saves money.
We will keep the pressure on.
Thank you again for your support,
Kenneth R. DeVault, MD, FACG