Be an Advocate for Your Patients and Profession!

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

Calling all advocates! The ACG Public Policy Council is calling on you to join the ACG National Advocacy Action Network in 2022. If you currently have a personal or working relationship with state/federal policymakers, or are interested in advocating for our patients and profession, then this is the right group for you. Together, we hope to build an advocacy strike force, an ACG Physician Advisory Group network for policymakers, and work in coordination with the ACG Board of Governors and other professional societies to increase access to patient care, increase autonomy for GI practices, and lower administrative burdens for healthcare providers.

On December 28, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) updated its guidance for its COVID-19 vaccination mandate on healthcare facilities, released on November 5, 2021. Of note, the guidance is only for those states who are not parties to the case challenging this rule.

Original Compliance Deadlines: The rule previously required staff to be vaccinated in two stages - Phase 1 was required by December 6th, 2021 and full vaccination was required by early January 2022 (Phase 2).

Updated Compliance Deadlines: After numerous court rulings, CMS now states that the rule will take effect in half of the states on the following modified timeline:

  • the deadline for Phase was 1 is January 27, 2022.
  • and the deadline for Phase 2 is February 28, 2022.

Rule Exempts 25 States: The rule is preliminarily enjoined in the following twenty-five states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers in these states are not required to comply with the Interim Final Rule, and surveyors will not investigate compliance with the rule in facilities located in those states, pending future developments in the litigation.

Supreme Court Oral Arguments: The case is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, with oral arguments January 7, 2022. This case once again modifies the compliance timeline or authority for CMS to enforce the rules.

Click here for more detail on this CMS bulletin. Stay tuned for more updates from ACG.

In State News: The Texas Medical Association (TMA) recently filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Texas, alleging that U.S. Department of Health and Human Services failed to follow clear direction from Congress about how to implement the dispute resolution process set forth in the "No Surprises Act," legislation that was passed in 2020 to protect patients from surprise medical bills.

ACG recently submitted comments, urging federal agencies to implement the independent regulation process as intended by Congress. ACG is also working with Congress on these important issues. Click here for the press release from U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup, DMP (R-OH) that includes a quote from ACG's President Samir A. Shah, MD, FACG.

Refresher from 2020: What was the No Surprises Act?

Coding Questions? Use ACG's Coding and Billing Forum

Questions on new coding changes for 2022? Still have nagging billing and coding issues from 2021? The ACG Practice Management Committee continues to offer the member-only benefit, the ACG "Billing and Coding Forum." The Forum gives ACG members access to coding expert Arlene Morrow, CPC, CMM, CMSCS. The ACG Practice Management Committee's mission is to bring practicing colleagues together overcome management challenges, to improve operations, enhance productivity, and support physician leadership.