COVID-19: Important Policy Updates for GI Practices

From ACG Legislative and Public Policy Council Chair, Whitfield L. Knapple, MD, FACG

In an effort to keep ACG members up-to-date on important updates in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, please find below the latest information tailored for GI practices.

Tax Implications of Provider Relief Fund Payments

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced this week that it has re-extended the application deadline for “Phase 2 General Distribution” funding to September 13, 2020 (changed from August 28, 2020). Click here to learn more about these eligibility and attestation requirements when applying for this funding.

Income Tax Implications: ACG has been actively working with a coalition of societies on reversing an U.S. Department of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) decision that makes payments made under the Provider Relief Fund subject to income taxation. Good news. There is now legislation in both the U.S. House and Senate that would exempt Provider Relief Funds from gross income and allows related expenses to be deductible.

Why is this important to your practice? Tax-exempt income earned by a partnership is also exempt from tax at the partner level (it may increase a partner’s basis). There also may be some confusion regarding the tax code’s mandate on “retained earnings” with respect to pass-through entities. ACG encourages GI practices to discuss these tax implications with your accountants and tax professionals.


ACG President Mark B. Pochapin, MD, FACG in July urged Congressional action to clarify and correct the tax consequences stemming from payments made under the PRF and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These programs were intended to support ACG members and small businesses through the worst public health crisis in generations. If Congress does not act, taxpaying health care providers could lose up to 21% of their CARES Act funds.

Medicare Payment Cuts and E/M Services

Medicare physician payments are scheduled to be cut across many specialties in CY 2021 when changes to evaluation and management (E/M) services are implemented. As the GI societies alerted you, many GI procedures are scheduled to be cut 10% due to these proposed changes and CY 2021 conversion factor. CMS must forgo budget-neutrality rules when implementing changes to E/M services.

Latest update: ACG and the GI societies are working with a coalition of organizations to stop these cuts. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) championed a letter to House leadership asking for a 2 year budget neutrality waiver. The final letter had 92 co-signatories. Thank you ACG members for your advocacy efforts! In July, ACG and the GI societies also joined over 100 specialty societies on a letter asking Secretary of HHS Alex Azar that the agency use its authority under the public health emergency (PHE) declaration to waive budget neutrality for the changes. ACG will continue to advocate on your behalf on this critical issue. Please stay tuned for further membership action alerts on this important issue.

Telemedicine Hack Course – There is still time to participate

ACG members are encouraged to check out the HHS Telemedicine Hack series. ACG is a sponsor of this series, which includes presentations from ACG Practice Management Committee member Eric Shah, MD, MBA. There is no cost for this course and CME credits are available. Among the topics: workflows, documentation, best practices, and reimbursement. These sessions are also recorded to view at a later time. Register here.

ACG working with Congress on extending telehealth waivers: ACG is working with various members of the Congressional Telehealth Caucus and has endorsed a bill that extends many telehealth waivers currently in place.

Register Today for the ACG Practice Management Summit

One benefit of the ACG Virtual On-Demand Meeting? You can attend the full slate of courses on Friday, October 23rd!

What are the hottest practice management and reimbursement issues facing GI practices today? Learn the new and innovative ways to improve the operations of your practice, enhance productivity, and achieve success in your careers. Register today for the Practice Management Summit at ACG: Something for Everyone

Save 20% with the ACG All Access Pass!
The ACG All Access Pass includes on-demand access to all course presentations and live stream sessions (being hosted October 23-28).

ACG Endoscopy Resumption Task Force: Overcoming Operational Challenges of the New Normal

ACG Guidance on Reopening Your Endoscopy Center: Find the Latest Information on Your State

From Chair and Vice Chair of the ACG Board of Governors, Neil H. Stollman, MD, FACG and Patrick E. Young, MD, FACG

“Federal guidance is extensive, but local regulations and conditions dominate”

The ACG Board of Governors and the ACG Endoscopy Resumption Task Force are closely monitoring the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in certain areas of the country, including recent announcements to further delay elective procedures. The CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about testing requirements and reopening are made at the state and local level. Interested in learning more on the latest information on your state? Your state governor's website will have the latest information on COVID-19 prevalence and plans for reopening. The Council of State Governments website is tracking information on your state (updated regularly).

The ACG Guidance on Safely Reopening Your Endoscopy Center recognizes that not all areas of the country are the same, and each region/state is dealing with various levels of COVID-19 prevalence, ability to test patients/staff, as well as the ability to access personal protective equipment. The ACG Governors continue to monitor state executive orders on reopening our practices and expanding procedures across the U.S. Many ACG members have recently received communications from your ACG Governor, providing the latest information on your state. The ACG Board of Governors will continue to monitor these developments on your behalf and keep you updated.

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.