ACG Advocacy Day is Right Around the Corner

From Vice Chair and Chair of the ACG Board of Governors, Dayna S. Early, MD, FACG and Patrick E. Young, MD, FACG

The ACG Board of Governors 2022 Advocacy Day is quickly approaching. We will be on Capitol Hill next Thursday, April 7th urging policymakers to reduce unnecessary burdens impacting patient care.

GI practices are facing mounting pressure across the country. Our costs are significantly increasing. We have challenges hiring and retaining staff. Practice management burdens are on the rise, but reimbursement continues to decrease. GI practices are stressed and stretched. Thus, we will also be fighting for clinical gastroenterology during our upcoming meetings with Congress.

We have the opportunity to discuss important issues impacting ACG members at the state and local level. Remember to contact your ACG Governor on important state and local issues impacting you and your practice!

The ACG Board of Governors is one of the most unique aspects of the American College of Gastroenterology. Governors are ACG Fellows that are elected from the membership of a particular state or region. There are currently 77 Governors across seven different regions in the U.S. and abroad. The Board of Governors acts as a two-way conduit between College leadership and the membership at-large. This helps the College make certain it is meeting the evolving needs of the membership.

President Biden Releases FY 2023 Budget Proposal

This week, The Biden Administration released its proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Budget. As you may know, Congress controls federal spending, but the President releases an annual proposed budget to highlight policy and spending priorities for consideration.

The President’s FY 2023 budget request is the first step in the federal budget process. Administration officials will be testifying before several Congressional committees in the coming weeks to present and discuss the proposed budget as time is limited between now and the end of the current fiscal year (September 31, 2022). ACG will also use this budget process to further our public policy objectives on Capitol Hill on behalf of clinical GI. Among some of these priorities impacting ACG members:

Physician Conversion Factor: The President asks for authority to update the Medicare conversion factor one year earlier than currently allowed under law. Under law, incentives for participating in alternative payment models end after 2024. This debate may also afford the opportunity to advocate for other changes to the Medicare conversion factor and reimbursement.

Provider Burnout: The President asks for $50 million to support the resiliency, mental health, and well-being of health care providers.

Telehealth: The President asks for $45 million to promote direct-to-consumer telehealth services, provider-to-provider "telementoring," and a telehealth data collection infrastructure to track services across the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA). Overall, the Administration is "committed to supporting a temporary extension of broader telehealth coverage under Medicare beyond the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declared by the Secretary to study its ability to promote proper use and access to care." However, the budget does not offer further details.

NIH Funding: The budget request includes $63 billion in discretionary and mandatory resources for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This allocation is $16 billion above the FY 2022 enacted amount. Most notably, the budget sets aside $5 billion for "ARPA-H" and $12.1 billion for research and development of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics specifically targeting viruses. In additional to these allocations, the budget outlines nine NIH-wide research priorities for the Administration: Cancer Moonshot, nutrition science, overdose and addiction, health disparities and inequities, influenza vaccine, HIV, maternal health, mental health and sexual orientation and gender identity. The proposed ARPA-H is an agency that will aim to accelerate innovative and transformational research on medical treatments. This new entity is modeled after the Defense Advanced Research and Development Agency and intended to leverage private-public partnerships to support projects focusing on high-priority conditions, namely cancer, diabetes and dementia.

Health Equity: The Administration requests various funding to standardize quality improvement data collection, promote equitable care, and expand the diversity of the health professions workforce and other proposals.

Stay tuned for more updates from ACG on the federal budget process.

ACG Project Management Committee Initiative: Reimbursement Guidance

From ACG Practice Management Committee Chair, Stephen T. Amann, MD, FACG

The ACG Practice Management Committee continues to roll out initiatives for ACG colleagues and GI practices.

Do you have a Coding question? ACG’s new member-only benefit—Billing and Coding Forum, gives you access to our expert coding consultant Arlene Marrow, CPC, CMM, CMSCS. Brought to you by the ACG Practice Management Committee, this addition to the Toolbox offers professional coding and billing assistance for ACG members.