Fostering New Champions on Capitol Hill

From ACG Legislative and Public Policy Council Chair, James C. Hobley, MD, MSc, FACG

This week, I was fortunate to meet with Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) and Rep. Troy Carter (D-LA). We discussed disparities in health care among rural areas and in Black communities; specifically colorectal cancer screening rates. ACG is fortunate to continue working with a long-time champion on these important issues, Rep. Payne, Jr., and now a newly elected Member of Congress who shares these goals. In fact, Rep. Carter was sworn in as the Congressman for Louisiana’s second congressional district just this week!

Good news: Rep. Payne, Jr. recently introduced legislation that builds off his recently passed legislation, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act. Rep. Payne, Jr.’s new bill moves up the transition timeline to 2023, or when 100% of the Medicare beneficiary’s cost-sharing is fully waived. The bill that was signed into law last year had a 10 year phase-in. This bill shortens the phase-in to 2 years.

Here is a summary of the legislation that passed in December 2020.

Prior Authorization Bill Introduced: More good news on the legislative front. The 2021 version of the Improving Seniors Timely Access to Care Act (H.R. 3107) was introduced this week to help protect patients from unnecessary delays in care by streamlining and standardizing prior authorization in the Medicare Advantage program. The bill is sponsored by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN). Of note, Representatives Bera and Bucshon participated in the 2021 ACG  Advocacy Day on April 15th, providing insight on the inner workings of Congress and tips on how to effectively advocate for our legislative priorities.

ACG Simplifying the Policy into the Practical

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

Don't forget that ACG has two very important educational webinars designed to help GI practices navigate through the recent coding changes to evaluation and management (E/M) services, as well as through the recently finalized federal rules on EHR information sharing and data blocking.

ACG will continue to offer educational material that simplifies the complex policy changes into practical guidance for members.

ACG CPT Coding Physician Advisor, Christopher Y. Kim, MD, FACG, along with the AGA and ASGE colleagues, created an on-demand webinar series that offers practical information you can implement immediately in your practice to maximize reimbursement and stay compliant with Medicare rules. Please share this valuable resource with any member of your team responsible for coding and billing. Learn about the 2021 changes to evaluation and management (E/M) codes and guidelines and coding for telehealth (video visits) and telephone E/M from our current procedural terminology (CPT) experts.

Please click here to access the webinars and to learn more about the 2021 changes to E/M services.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized regulations designed to promote EHR interoperability and to enhance patients’ ability to control their medical information. The goal is to prevent information blocking among software developers and insurers, removing the current “silos” and opening various health IT closed “ecosystems.”

What does it mean for me?
ACG members must understand that the information blocking prohibition applies to physicians, and that rules placed on software developers, insurers, and hospitals impact your clinical notes and patient care management.

Hear from the legal expertsClick here for ACG's new webinar on the legal implications and impact to GI practices.

ACG will continue to educate members and provide guidance on important issues facing GI practices and clinicians.

What is the Practice Management Toolbox?

The Toolbox is a series of short articles, written by practicing gastroenterologists, that provide members with easily accessible information to improve their practices. Each article covers an issue important to private practice gastroenterologists and physician-lead clinical practices. They include a brief introduction, a topic overview, specific suggestions, helpful examples and a list of resources or references. Each month a new edition of the Toolbox will be released and will then remain available here along with all previous editions. The Practice Management Committee is confident this series will a provide valuable resource for members striving to optimize their practices.