In April, over 45 ACG Governors met with over 250 members of Congress as part of the 2016 ACG Board of Governors’ Washington D.C. Fly-in. ACG Governors urged Congress to pass the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015 (S. 1347 & HR 887). This bill excludes patient encounters at an ambulatory surgical center (ASC) from counting towards a provider’s “Meaningful Use” denominator of eligible services requiring the use of certified health IT. ACG Governors conveyed the burdens of trying to shoe-horn certified EHR software into the ASC facility setting.
On Tuesday, The House of Representatives passed the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act (HR 5273), which makes a number of changes to hospital reimbursements under the Medicare program. This package helps address the issue ACG Governors advocated for in April: Providers performing substantially all of their services in the ASC setting would not be subject to penalties under the EHR Incentives Program (“Meaningful Use”) as well as its successor program under MIPS, “Advancing Care Information.” The exclusion would sunset after 3 years and once the Secretary determines that certified EHRs are readily available in the ASC setting.
It is unclear at this time when or if the Senate will address this legislative package. Please stay tuned for future ACG updates. In the meantime, ACG will take this fight to the U.S. Senate and continue to be your voice for clinical gastroenterology in Washington D.C. as well as at the state and local level.
Whitfield L. Knapple, MD, FACG
Chair, ACG National Affairs Committee