This Week – January 19, 2019

This Week in Washington, D.C. SHUTDOWN

  • A New e-Book Compilation: ACG 2018 Practice Management Toolbox Highlights
  • Innovation & Technology in Gastroenterology and Hepatology: Highlights from the 2018 ACG Annual Scientific Meeting
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Announcement: “The largest move yet by a commercial insurer toward alternative payment models”
  • MACRA Tidbit for the Week: MIPS 2018 Performance Year Submission Window is Open

Government shutdown still in place:
Practice Management News

While the federal government remains in a partial shutdown, ACG would like to update you on a few recent practice management developments and important information, pertinent to bettering your practice and providing excellent care to your patients.

A New e-Book Compilation: ACG 2018 Practice Management Toolbox Highlights

The ACG Practice Management Committee’s mission is to bring practicing colleagues together to explore solutions to overcome management challenges, improve operations, enhance productivity, and support physician leadership.

It was in this spirit that the Practice Management Toolbox was created. These short articles, written by practicing gastroenterologists, provide ACG members with easily accessible information to improve their practices.

Some of the many relevant and insightful articles written by members of the ACG Practice Management Committee have been compiled into a special e-book, “ACG Practice Management Toolbox Highlights.” This helpful reference also includes noteworthy articles in the “Law Mind” series by Ann Bittinger, Esq.  Download your copy today!

Click here to view the e-Book.

The ACG Practice Management Committee strives to help you—and GI practices of all forms and sizes—prepare for and succeed in the ever-changing environment of our profession. Please let the Committee know if you have any ideas for future ACG Practice Management Toolbox articles or guidance.

ACG Practice Management Committee at a 2018 work session and brainstorm


Innovation & Technology in Gastroenterology and Hepatology:
Highlights from the 2018 ACG Annual Scientific Meeting

From Vivek Kaul, MD, FACG, Chair of the newly developed ACG Innovation & Technology Committee

In the last decade, gastroenterology practice has experienced exponential growth in innovation and new technology, both in the pharmaceutical and device sectors. New products have impacted the practice of gastroenterology, endoscopy and hepatology. Patients are aware and well informed on these innovations and specifically request them.

In this evolving landscape, and to keep our members abreast of the evolving technology and innovations, ACG leadership felt strongly that the College should develop a forum which allows members to gather the information related to these new ideas, innovations and technologies.

This impetus led to the creation of the new ACG Innovation & Technology Committee which has a multi-faceted mission. A few examples of the committee’s charge include generation of technology assessment reports, reviews and white papers related to new technology and innovation in Gastroenterology, collaboration with the ACG hands-on endoscopy workshops for training and education in new technology and liaising with our industry partners to address current gaps in the device/innovation realm.

As one of its first tasks, the Committee summarized the most recent technology-related papers presented at the ACG 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting to highlight their clinical significance.

Click here to read the full update and view the selected abstracts.


Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Announcement:
“The largest move yet by a commercial insurer toward alternative payment models”

From ACG Governor for North Carolina, Joseph W. Kittinger, III, MD, FACG

On Tuesday, North Carolina’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shied, announced new value-based alternative payment models (APMs) with most of the state’s major hospitals, calling it the “largest move yet by a commercial insurer toward alternative payment models.”  According to reports, within 1 year, roughly half of Blue Cross Blue Shield’s 4 million customers will have a provider directly responsible for the cost and quality of their care. Within 5 years, every customer will be covered under a value-based contract. If doctors and hospitals can meet quality goals while providing care at a lower cost, they will be able to keep a portion of the savings.  A providers’ risk varies by contract, but all will have at least 30% of payments at risk by the 3rd year, and some could bear responsibility for all payments by year 5. In exchange, the insurer will give providers more leeway by removing requirements such as pre-authorization.

This new arrangement with North Carolina health systems is said to be similar to the “Next Generation Accountable Care Organizations (ACO)” models in Medicare, which are among the CMS-approved APMs in MACRA.

Five of North Carolina’s seven largest health care systems, representing about $4.5 billion in claims (according to reports), will participate in the arrangement.  Blue Cross is also partnering with Duke University Health System, UNC Health Care, WakeMed Health & Hospitals, and Wake Forest Baptist Health.

ACG will continue to monitor and work with commercial payers who may also be contemplating similar arrangements.  ACG is also here to help!  Check out some recent ACG Magazine articles on this topic below:

“Getting to Yes: Five Steps to Negotiating Alternative Payment Model Arrangements” by Ann M. Bittinger, JD

“It’s not all about that rate: How to approach negotiations with payers” by Ann M. Bittinger, JD

“Considering Strategic Options: The big picture for your independent gastroenterology practice” by Louis J. Wilson, MD, FACG and Gary W. Herschman, JD (Epstein, Becker & Green, PC)


MIPS 2018 Performance Year Submission Window is Open

ACG members can now sign into the CMS system and submit MIPS CY 2018 data. You can submit and update your data any time until April 2, 2019 at 8:00 pm EDT.

The 2018 performance year’s data will impact your CY 2020 Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements.

Please note: GI practices using the CMS Web Interface will open on January 22th, 2019 for data submission.

Need some additional help?