ACG Provides Guidance on CMS National Provider Call: Highlights Work of the ACG Endoscopy Resumption Task Force

Neil H. Stollman, MD, FACG: Chair, ACG Board of Governors and Co-Chair of the ACG Endoscopy Resumption Task Force

On Friday, May 1, Dr. Neil Stollman participated in a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) national provider call “Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19 and Reopening the Healthcare System & Treating Vulnerable Patients Via Telehealth.”

Dr. Stollman provided an overview of the ACG Endoscopy Resumption Task Force’s recent work and shared some personal experiences on re-opening his practice in his area.

These calls are recorded and can be found here.

ACG will continue to work with CMS and policymakers on safely resuming endoscopy services for patients.

ACG Webinar COVID-19: A Roadmap to Safely Resuming Endoscopy

Did you miss the ACG’s popular webinar on re-opening your endoscopy practice? View the recording here.

New from ACG: Rescheduling Pediatric Endoscopy Procedures After COVID-19 Pandemic

ACG is also providing guidance specific to pediatric endoscopic procedures. Click here to learn more.

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. This week CMS announced another round of emergency regulatory policy changes impacting ACG members and GI practices. Of note:

Increased Reimbursement for Telephone E/M Codes. CMS previously announced that Medicare would pay for telephone evaluation and management (E/M) services for Medicare beneficiaries (CPT codes 99441-99443). CMS is now increasing payments for these telephone visits to match payments for similar office and outpatient E/M visits. This would increase payments for these services from a range of about $14-$41 to about $46-$110. ACG members should continue to use the telephone E/M codes when using audio-only services.

Please note: check your Medicare telephone E/M services, as this change is retroactive to March 1, 2020.

ACG worked with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on this issue who, along with Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (D-WV), signed a bipartisan letter to CMS urging to increase telephone-based, or audio-only, telehealth reimbursements. ACG thanks these U.S. Senators for their leadership on this issue and urging CMS to implement these changes.

In early April, ACG President Mark B. Pochapin, MD, FACG urged CMS to extend waiver authority to allow ACG members to use the telephone for traditional E/M services.

  • CMS expands telehealth services for providers. CMS will now allow health care professionals who were previously ineligible to furnish Medicare telehealth services, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and others, to perform these services and bill Medicare telehealth codes.
  • Physician Services. CMS is waiving requirements that Medicare patients be under the care of a physician. This waiver may be implemented so long as it is not inconsistent with a state’s emergency preparedness or pandemic plan.
  • Anesthesia Services. CMS is waiving requirements that a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) be under the supervision of a physician. CRNA supervision will be at the discretion of the facility and state law. This waiver also applies to Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs).
  • ASC Privileges. CMS is waiving the requirement that ASC medical staff privileges and scope of procedures be periodically reappraised/reviewed.
  • Out-of-State Practitioners. CMS is temporarily waiving requirements that out-of-state practitioners be licensed in the state where they are providing services when they are licensed in another state under certain conditions.

CMS Suspends Advanced Payment Program. On April 26, CMS announced that it is reevaluating the amounts that will be paid under its Accelerated Payment Program and suspending its Advance Payment Program to Part B suppliers effective immediately. CMS is not accepting applications for the time being. ACG will update membership as CMS releases more guidance.

CMS issued blanket waivers of sanctions under the Physician Self- Referral Law (“Stark Law”). CMS has announced blanket waivers may be used now without notifying CMS. Click here for more information.