This Week – December 8, 2018

This Week in Washington, D.C.

  • Don’t miss in the latest issue of ACG Magazine: Important Practice Management Tips!
  • FDA Related News: Important News on GI Drug Treatments and Pregnancy
  • FDA Releases Proposed Guidelines on NASH Drug Development
  • ACG Recognizes IBD Awareness Week (December 1-7)
  • ACG Members: Don’t forgot about your 2018 MIPS Reporting Requirements

Important Practice Management Tips!

The latest issue of ACG Magazine is out! Some noteworthy features you won’t want to miss include an article presented to you by members of the ACG’s dedicated Practice Management Committee, ensuring that your practice’s unique needs are being met and considered from all sides.  Drs. Jaya Agrawal, Wassem Juakiem, and Craig Womeldorph concisely break down the ins and outs of adding Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) to your practice, detailing the benefits, what to consider when choosing an APP, and the necessary information you need to meet the standards for billing compliance. You’ll also want to check out the fundamental advice provided by health care attorney, Ann Bittinger, Esq. on how to best avoid financial uncertainty and denials when performing services that insurers may consider an “experimental treatment.”  Read their stories below:

  1. Adding Advanced Practice Providers to Your Practice, by Jaya Agrawal, MD; Wassem Juakiem, MD; and Craig Womeldorph, DO, FACG
  2. Avoiding financial uncertainty when performing experimental treatments, by Ann Bittinger, Esq.

Accessible, relevant, and practical projects to improve your practice

Gastroenterologists in private practice find themselves working in a time of unprecedented transformation. Pressures are high as they make important management decisions that profoundly affect their business future, their private lives, and their ability to provide care to patients. The ACG Practice Management Committee has a mission to bring practicing colleagues together to explore solutions to overcome management challenges, to improve operations, enhance productivity, and support physician leadership. It was in this spirit that the Practice Management Toolbox was created.

FDA Related News

Important News on GI Drug Treatments and Pregnancy
from ACG President, Sunanda V. Kane, MD, MSPH, FACG

The November 2018 American Journal of Gastroenterology contains important reviews on the latest information on GI drug treatments during pregnancy.  You can check out these reviews here:

Trick or TREAT? More Safety Data of Infliximab During Pregnancy; by ACG President Sunanda Kane, MD, MSPH, FACG
The Debate is Over: Continue Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Therapy Throughout Pregnancy;  Eric J. Mao, MD and Uma Mahadevan, MD


FDA Releases Proposed Guidelines on
NASH Drug Development

from ACG FDA Related Matters Committee Chair, Stephen Hanauer, MD, FACG

This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released proposed guidance to assist sponsors in the clinical development for the treatment of noncirrhotic nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with liver fibrosis.  The guidance describes the FDA’s current thinking regarding the necessary components of a drug development program for noncirrhotic NASH with liver fibrosis.  The guidance also identifies knowledge gaps that represent important challenges in the development of drugs for the indication.

Please note: FDA guidance documents do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities. The guidance describes the FDA’s current thinking on a topic and should be viewed only as recommendations (unless the FDA cites specific regulatory or statutory requirements).

Read the guidance here.

ACG Recognizes IBD Awareness Week
(December 1-7)

This past week (December 1-7) marked national “IBD Awareness Week.” ACG recognizes this time as an opportunity to contact your state legislators on significant patient advocacy and practice management issues that impact those with living with IBD.  One bill that ACG has long supported is the “Restoring the Patient’s Voice Act of 2017 (HR. 2077).” Introduced by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-2), the bill would allow for exemptions to be made to the “Step Therapy” protocol to remove the current barriers in allowing patients with IBD and other chronic conditions to gain access to the medication they need at a faster pace.

ACG has focused efforts to limit insurer Step Therapy requirements at both the federal and state levels.  Step Therapy entails the “fail first” drug therapy requirements, in which patients are forced by insurers to try and fail with one or more medications before the insurer approves the cost of the medication which ACG members originally prescribed. Step Therapy legislation has also been introduced in several state legislatures, including Ohio, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and more.

To help make an impact, your legislators need to hear from you directly, and the ACG Legislative Action Center makes this process quick and simple.  Use the links below to advocate your support!

Click here to urge your representatives to support the “Restoring the Patient’s Voice Act of 2017 (HR. 2077)!”

Click here to check out all of our available federal and state action alerts.

ACG Members:
Don’t forgot about your 2018 MIPS Reporting Requirements!

December 31st is right around the corner, and ACG is here to help. If you have to participate in MIPS, please ensure that you are meeting MIPS reporting requirements as you prepare to submit your MIPS performance data to CMS early next year.

How do you know if you need to participate in MIPS? Please click here.

Guide for Obtaining an EIDM Account and ‘Physician Quality and Value Programs’ Role for the Quality Payment Program (QPP)

CMS….SGR… MACRA… MIPS… APMs… QCDRs… ACOs… Why does Washington D.C. love acronyms and complicated payment systems?  ACG Hopes to Keep This Simple.  We compiled a detailed overview for you that seeks to make some sense out of this alphabet soup – but hopefully in a simplified fashion and in plain English.  Read the summary and potential impact to GI.

Dissecting MACRA: Year 2

Impact on Smaller and Rural GI Practices:
15 or fewer eligible clinicians in your practice

ACG continues to look out for the small and independent GI practices. Do you need to report measures? Read ACG’s summary to learn more on whether you have to participate in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), and if so, what scoring bonuses are available to your practice.

CMS has recently released guidance for the CY 2018 reporting year, as well as for each MIPS performance category. Check them out here:

MIPS Scoring 101 Guide for Year 2 (2018)

MIPS Participating in the Promoting Interoperability Performance Category in 2018 (Year 2)

MIPS Participating in the Quality Performance Category in 2018 (Year 2)

MIPS Participating in the Cost Performance Category in 2018 (Year 2)