ACG Board of Governors Meeting this Weekend

From Chair and Vice Chair of the ACG Board of Governors, Neil H. Stollman, MD, FACG and Patrick E. Young, MD, FACG

The ACG Board of Governors are meeting on Saturday, October 3rd to discuss important state and local issues impacting you and your practice.


New Interoperability and Patient Access Rules:
There are new federal requirements designed to promote EHR interoperability and to enhance patients’ ability to access and control their medical information. The goal is to prevent information blocking among software developers and insurers, and opening various health IT "silos" and “ecosystems.” ACG members must understand that these new rules significantly impact your clinical notes and patient care management.

What is “information blocking”? Do I have to provide complete access to all of my clinical notes and summaries? Are there exceptions? When does this start? What about hospital employees and ASCs?

Click here to read ACG’s guidance on these new requirements, including the enforcement dates and possible exceptions. Please make sure you and your practice are prepared for this.

The ACG Board of Governors is one of the most unique aspects of the American College of Gastroenterology. Governors are ACG Fellows that are elected from the membership of a particular state or region. There are currently 77 Governors across seven different regions in the U.S. and abroad. The Board of Governors acts as a two-way conduit between College leadership and the membership at-large. This helps the College make certain it is meeting the evolving needs of the membership.

COVID-19: Important Updates for GI Practices

From ACG Legislative and Public Policy Council Chair, Whitfield L. Knapple, MD, FACG

New Bill to Address Pending Medicare Cuts! Thank you ACG members for your advocacy efforts over these past weeks. Last week, we said that congressional action begets more action. Medicare physician payments are scheduled to be cut when increases to evaluation and management (E/M) services are implemented next year. GI procedures are scheduled to be cut roughly 10%. ACG members have urged their representatives to sign various letters to House leadership and HHS about these cuts.

Good news: Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX) has introduced a bill that waives budget-neutrality rules for one year, offset with leftover allocations in the Provider Relief Fund. As you know, this program was part of the CARES Act passed in the spring of 2020.

Letter to House Leadership is Still Open: Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) are leading this letter urging Congressional leaders to address the E/M and budget-neutrality issue in any upcoming legislation moving through the House. Why another letter? Congressional action begets more action. We need to continue this momentum. Please urge your representatives to sign this letter!

Last week, over 160 U.S. House members signed the letter to HHS Secretary Azar and CMS Administrator Verma, urging them to address and prevent these reimbursement cuts in the CY 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. Click here to view the final letter. In August, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) championed a letter to House leadership asking for a 2 year budget neutrality waiver. In July, ACG and the GI societies joined over 100 specialty societies on a letter asking Secretary of HHS Alex Azar that the agency use its authority under the public health emergency (PHE) declaration to waive budget neutrality for the changes.

Congress Funded Until December: The Senate on Wednesday passed a stopgap spending bill to avert a fiscal year government shutdown. The U.S. House approved the bill last Tuesday to keep the government funded to December 11, 2020. Included in the law are changes to the Medicare Accelerated and Advanced Payment Program (AAP). These changes include a delay to the recoupment of disbursed funds until 365 days after the advance payment has been issued to a physician practice, with the balance due by September 2022. It would reduce the per claim recoupment amount from 100% to 25% for the first 11 months, and then 50% of claims withheld for an additional six months. If practices are unable to fully repay advanced payments, the interest rate kicks in. However, this law lowers the interest rate from 10.25% to 4%. The package also extends the availability of funding for multiyear research grants supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that were interrupted by COVID-19 and would have expired at the end of the fiscal year.

Telehealth Remains a Top ACG Public Policy Priority: ACG is advocating for a new Senate bill that permanently removes many regulatory restrictions on telehealth and have enabled patients to receive care without leaving their homes. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a bill that permanently waived Medicare's geographic and site restrictions.

Register Today for the ACG Practice Management Summit

From ACG Practice Management Committee Chair, Louis J. Wilson, MD, FACG

One benefit of the ACG Virtual On-Demand Meeting? You can attend the full slate of courses on Friday, October 23rd! Learn more about the hottest practice management and reimbursement issues facing GI practices today. Some presentations include: Improving Efficiency in Your Practice, Compensation and Financial Management, and a LIVE CHAT on Physician Compensation.

Register today for the Practice Management Summit at the ACG Annual Meeting.

Save 20% with the ACG All Access Pass! The ACG All Access Pass includes on-demand access to all course presentations and live stream sessions (being hosted October 23-28).

ACG Practice Management Summit Course Directors Harish K. Gagneja, MD, FACG and Sapna V. Thomas, MD, FACG


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.