Congress Decouples Telehealth Waivers from the Public Health Emergency: How does this impact ACG members?

From Louis J. Wilson, MD, FACG, Chair, ACG Legislative and Public Policy Council

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (2023 CAA), otherwise known as the “omnibus” package, extended key telehealth flexibilities instituted during the federal government’s Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration through December 31, 2024. The 2023 CAA decoupled some telehealth policy waivers from the PHE. However, there are other telehealth policies that remain tied to the PHE and will expire without additional legislative and/or regulatory action. In January, the Biden Administration announced its intent to end the PHE on May 11, 2023.

What does this mean for ACG members and telehealth services? Learn more on my blog post on the top telehealth issues impacting ACG members.

CMS Suspends Surprise Billing Arbitration Process, and Other Important Updates

Surprise billing back in the news: The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas agreed with the Texas Medical Association and struck down regulatory guidance from the No Surprises Act, forcing CMS to instruct federal arbitrators last Friday to immediately stop issuing new payment determinations until further guidance is available, and recall any payment determinations that were issued after February 6, 2023 (the date of the court's ruling). CMS is now “in the process of evaluating and updating” implementation of the Federal Independent Resolution process to be consistent with the Texas District Court’s ruling. ACG has worked with Congress to urge CMS to revise this guidance to better reflect congressional intent when passing the No Surprises Act.

New membership guidance on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committees: Led by Harini Rathinamanickam, MD, Yasmin Hernandez-Barco, MD, and Young Oh, MD, MS, the latest guidance from the ACG FDA Related Matters Committee describes the vital role advisory committees play in drug and device approvals. This manuscript also provides information on how ACG members can get involved as subject-matter experts. The FDA frequently asks the ACG for recommended experts. Read this important manuscript here.

Report highlights the need for greater physician autonomy: According to a new Kaiser Foundation report, of the 35 million prior authorization requests submitted to Medicare Advantage insurers in 2021 (87% of enrollment), 33 million requests were approved/covered in full. The report supports ACG's position that prior authorization is unnecessary, burdensome, and most importantly, detrimental to patient care.

The ACG Governors and Practice Management Committee recently formed a joint task force on prior authorization. The group has focused on practical guidance and tools to immediately reduce the burdens of prior authorization, while ACG advocates for comprehensive policy reforms.

Get Ready for March CRC Month: "Dress in Blue" Day is Friday, March 3rd

From Tauseef Ali, MD, FACG, Chair, ACG Public Relations Committee and ACG Governor for Oklahoma

Dr. Tauseef Ali and the ACG Public Relations Committee remind you that Friday, March 3, 2023, is “Dress in Blue Day.” Tag @AmCollegeGastro in your social media posts.

Need inspiration? Explore a toolkit of educational materials and inspiration from ACG, as well as opportunities to get involved!