Dementia risk linked to PPIs

German researchers reporting in JAMA Neurology found an association between proton pump inhibitors and greater likelihood of developing dementia. The research, based on administrative data from patients without dementia who were 75 or older, found those who used PPIs had a 44% higher risk of dementia than patients who did not take the medications, although researchers acknowledged that sociodemographic parameters and other potentially confounding factors in this population were not included in the analysis.

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Breaking News: ABIM approves CME for MOC points

After months of working with ABIM to improve the MOC process, ACG’s message to ABIM that MOC needed to be “simpler, less intrusive, and less expensive,” is closer to reality. ABIM notified diplomates today that CME from an approved provider now qualifies for MOC. While there is more to do to fix the MOC process, this is a helpful step forward.

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ACG to ABIM: “MOC must be simpler, less intrusive, less expensive”

Leaders from the ACG, AGA and ASGE spent Monday, November 2nd in Philadelphia along with leaders from the other major internal medicine societies discussing the future of MOC with ABIM leadership. We are working closely together on this issue.  We have provided a joint, multi-society communication to the ABIM outlining our response to their recent report “2020 Task Force Report” advocating for the following key principles:

  • MOC needs to be simpler, less intrusive and less expensive
  • We support ending the high-stakes, every 10-year exam
  • We do not support closed book assessments as they do not represent the current realities of medicine in the digital age
  • We support the principles of lifelong learning as evidenced by ongoing CME activities, rather than lifelong testing
  • We support the concept that, for the many diplomates who specialize within certain areas of gastroenterology and hepatology, MOC should not need to include high-stakes assessments of areas where the diplomate may not practice

Read full post here

Read ACG’s Letter to ABIM

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Gastro Groups Vow To Fight Proposed Cuts to CMS’ 2016 Colonoscopy Rates

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) and American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) have stated that they will fight cuts to reimbursement rates for colonoscopy and other lower gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for 2016.

If unchanged, the 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) would cut physician work values for the colonoscopy family by up to 19%.

In a joint statement, the ASGE, ACG and AGA asserted that the proposed rates for the colonoscopy code family are not based on data, and described the methodology used to determine physician work and intensity for these services as “severely flawed.”

Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News, July 13, 2015

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ACG and GI Societies to Fight Medicare Cuts to Colonoscopy

ACG and the GI societies are committed to fighting the proposed cuts to reimbursement rates for colonoscopy and other lower GI endoscopy procedures. We are scheduled to meet with CMS leadership next week. ACG continues to urge members of Congress to help oppose these cuts as well as cosponsor the SCREEN Act (S. 1079; HR 2035), which would maintain colonoscopy reimbursement at the 2015 levels and until the Medicare fee for service reimbursement system changes take place beginning in 2019. The SCREEN Act is currently the only legislation that deals with these changes to colonoscopy reimbursement. Read my full post

Proposed Colonoscopy Reimbursement Rates for 2016

What You Can Do

ACG wants to share with CMS officials next week data on how cuts of up to 19 percent will affect GI practices. Please take the time and complete this quick poll and help us fight for fair reimbursement for you.

From the ACG Blog, July 17, 2015

By: Caroll D. Koscheski, MD, FACG, National Affairs Committee Chair

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Medicare Cuts to Colonoscopy Threaten Progress Against Colorectal Cancer

I am incredibly frustrated and disappointed today. Devastating cuts to reimbursement for lifesaving colonoscopy exams under Medicare’s Physician Fee Schedule are proposed despite advocacy by ACG and its sister GI societies in the past few years.

I want the GI community in the United States to understand the fundamental lack of fairness which underlies the process that got us to this cut. The process is flawed. The outcome is flawed. Worst of all, we risk a reversal of the progress our nation is making to increase use of colorectal cancer screening by colonoscopy for Medicare beneficiaries, who by virtue of their age, are at higher risk for colorectal cancer. Read full post.

From the ACG Blog, July 9, 2015

By: Stephen B. Hanauer, MD, FACG, ACG President

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CMS Eases ICD-10 Transition with 1-Year of Flexibility

In response to concerns from ACG and the provider community, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this week released additional guidance that will allow for flexibility in the claims processing and quality reporting process as the new ICD- 10 code set begins October 1, 2015.  Medicare claims processing systems will not have the capability to accept ICD-9 codes for dates of services after September 30, 2015, nor will they be able to accept claims for both ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes.

From the ACG Blog, July 7, 2015

By: Carroll Koschescki, MD, FACG, National Affairs Committee Chair.

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How Much Does A Colonoscopy Cost In California? Help Find Out

The colonoscopy: It may be the most dreaded screening test out there, and it’s the next step in KQED’s PriceCheck project.

On PriceCheck, we’re crowdsourcing prices of common health tests and procedures. KQED, along with our colleagues at KPCC in Los Angeles and, a health cost transparency startup in New York, are asking people in California to share what they’ve paid for various health care procedures.

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Gastroenterology Societies Discuss Patient Safety in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Patient safety is a primary concern for gastrointestinal endoscopists. You may have recently heard or read about the spread of infection by Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) through a procedure called ERCP. ERCP stands for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. It is an advanced highly technical endoscopic procedure.

The vast majority of people will never have an ERCP. For patients who do need it, ERCP is a critical and potentially life-saving procedure.

ACG Note:

Patients are reminded that the therapeutic benefit of ERCP usually outweighs the potential low risk of infection and that they should talk to their doctors about any concerns. ACG has been working with – and will continue to work with – the leadership of all other GI societies, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), manufacturers and other groups to evaluate and address this complex issue.

Read the Joint GI Society statement

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Updated Quality Indicators for GI Endoscopic Procedures

Updated Quality Indicators for GI Endoscopic Procedures published online today. The ASGE/ACG Task Force on Quality in Endoscopy has updated quality indicators common to all gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures and for the four major endoscopic procedures: colonoscopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD, also known as upper endoscopy), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS). These documents are published online in GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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