Federal Government Hits Debt Ceiling and New FTC Rule on Non-Compete Clauses

The U.S. hit its $31.4 trillion debt limit Thursday, forcing the U.S. Department of Treasury to use “extraordinary measures” to avoid a default on existing debt obligations. It is unclear at this time how this will affect GI practices as the Treasury begins to prioritize payments. According to government officials, there will be no impact to Medicare reimbursement and beneficiaries until this summer (if at all). ACG will update members as soon as the Treasury Department provides more guidance. The debt ceiling is the maximum amount the federal government is able to borrow to finance existing obligations. It was last raised in December 2021 and more than 100 times since World War II.

Other notables impacting ACG members and patients:

  • ACG is reviewing a recent U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed rule on non-competition clauses in employment contracts. According to the rule, for a "physician with 10 years of experience in the state which enforces non-compete clauses most readily, the estimates suggest a prohibition on non-compete clauses and removing that physician’s non-compete clause would lead to a 12.7% increase in earnings" and for "the identical situation for a physician with just 1 year of experience, the increase in earnings would be 37.4%." However, there are many varietals to employment contracts. It is also unclear how this rule would impact existing state laws. Please also note that the rule does not cover non-compete agreements made as part of selling business or practice (i.e., partners in a GI practice selling to a private equity firm). ACG will provide detailed guidance as this rule is finalized.
  • GI practices acquired by private equity firms saw increased clinician replacement ratios and a higher yearly rise of advanced practice providers between 2014 and 2019, compared with practices that weren't acquired by private equity companies. The clinician replacement ratio for gastroenterology was 2.18 for private equity-acquired practices versus 1.93 for those that weren't acquired by a private equity firm, according to the recent study in Health Affairs.

Get Inspired to "Go Blue" for CRC Awareness Month

The Colon Cancer Coalition invites ACG members to join a national effort with patient advocates to illuminate landmarks blue and raise awareness of colorectal cancer prevention. Click here for resources, best practices, templates, and inspiration!

New ACG Member Benefit: Prior Authorization Template Letters

From the ACG Prior Authorization Task Force Leadership Dayna S. Early, MD, FACG and Stephen T. Amann, MD, FACG

New to the ACG Practice Management Toolbox! The Task Force has now developed a series of downloadable prior authorization template letters for membership. These letters are vetted by the clinical subject-matter experts and will be updated regularly. Stay tuned for more template letters!

More Tips in the Toolbox: What are some common mistakes GI practices make, according to payors? Read the article: Tools to Help Manage Prior Authorization: Concepts to Help Decrease the Hurdles.

ACG will continue to be your policy and practice management resource for clinical GI.