Important Updates on MIPS Hardship Application; Drug Prices; ACG Advocacy Efforts

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

MIPS Hardship Exemption Still Available. CMS also recently announced that the MIPS "Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances" Application remains open until December 31, 2020. The “Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances” policy allows MIPS eligible clinicians, groups, and virtual groups to submit an application requesting a reweighting of one or more MIPS performance categories to 0%. Submit an application now and be sure to cite COVID-19 as the reason for your application. If approved, you can still receive scores for the Quality, Improvement Activities, and Promoting Interoperability MIPS performance categories. Please note that if the Cost performance category is included in your approved application, you will not be scored on cost measures even if other data are submitted. Learn more in the 2020 Exceptions Applications Fact Sheet.

Most Favored Nation Drug Pricing Model: The Trump Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last announced the much anticipated final rule on the Most Favored Nation (MFN) drug pricing model. Click here for the final rule. Click here for the fact sheet. Please see ACG's "policy snapshot" below.

CMS Still Moving Forward with Medicare Cuts: We still need you advocacy help! Medicare physician payments are scheduled to be cut across most specialties in CY 2021 when increases to evaluation and management (E/M) services are implemented. GI procedures are scheduled to be cut roughly 10%.

Good news: A bill in Congress prevents these cuts for 2 years. The “Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act of 2020” (H.R. 8702) was introduced by Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN).  Please see ACG's "policy snapshot" below.

New ACG Practice Management Toolbox Article: The Nuts and Bolts of Negotiating an Insurance Contract

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

New this week to the ACG Practice Management Toolbox is an article by Suriya Sastri, MD, FACG, Ralph McKibbin, MD, FACG, and Shajan Peter, MD titled "The Nuts and Bolts of Negotiating an Insurance Contract." The article delves into how to most effectively prepare you for the annual review of your contracts, in order to maximize and maintain correct and timely payments. Read the new article here or click on the photo below!

ACG Practice Management Summit Registration is Still Open: Free On-Demand Session Below!

From Practice Management Summit Co-Directors, Harish K. Gagneja, MD, FACG and Sapna V. Thomas, MD, FACG

One benefit of the 2020 ACG Virtual Annual Meeting is that the registration is still open until December 31, 2020 and access to the platform is open until January 31, 2021!

There is still time to learn more about the hottest practice management and reimbursement issues impacting GI today and in the future. The Practice Management Summit offers new and innovative ways to improve patient care, improve operations, enhance productivity, and overall success in your careers. Register today and access the Practice Management Summit at ACG: Something for Everyone.

Free On-Demand Session! Check out this free on-demand session from this year's course. ACG Secretary for the Board of Trustees Amy Oxentenko, MD, FACG discusses various ways to effectively educate and communicate with your patients.

The ACG Endoscopy Resumption Task Force Continues to Monitor Rise in COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations

From Co-Chairs of the ACG Endoscopy Resumption Task Force, Neil H. Stollman, MD, FACG and Costas H. Kefalas, MD, MMM, FACG

“Federal guidance is extensive, but local regulations and conditions dominate”

The ACG Board of Governors and the ACG Endoscopy Resumption Task Force are closely monitoring the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in certain areas of the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 tracker by county and state. The CDC also updated  guidance on testing staff, but decisions about testing requirements and medical services continue to be at the state and local level. Interested in learning more on the latest information on your state? Your state governor's website will have the latest information on COVID-19 prevalence and plans for reopening. The Council of State Governments website is tracking information on your state (updated regularly).

The ACG Guidance on Safely Reopening Your Endoscopy Center recognizes that not all areas of the country are the same, and each region/state is dealing with various levels of COVID-19 prevalence, ability to test patients/staff, as well as the ability to access personal protective equipment. The Task Force will continue to update membership on the latest developments related to COVID-19 and your endoscopy center as cases and hospitalizations rise across the country.

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.