COVID-19: Important 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.

Medicare reimbursement cuts are looming just when many practices are reopening from pandemic. A new report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) this week says that over 40% of U.S. adults reported having delayed or avoided medical care during the pandemic because of concerns about COVID-19. Nearly 1/3 of adult respondents reported having delayed or avoided routine medical care.

“If routine care avoidance were to be sustained, adults could miss opportunities for management of chronic conditions, receipt of routine vaccinations, or early detection of new conditions, which might worsen outcomes.”

Call to Action – Congressional Sign-on Letter

Medicare physician payments are scheduled to be cut when increases to evaluation and management (E/M) services are implemented. GI procedures are scheduled to be cut roughly 10%.

We need your help now: Reps. Roger Marshall, MD (R-KS), Brad Wenstrup, MD (R-OH), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Terri Sewell (D-AL), David McKinley (R-WV) and Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) are leading a letter to HHS Secretary Azar and CMS Administrator Verma, urging them to address specialty physician cuts in the CY21 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule.  Please urge your representatives to sign this letter!


GI practices were forced to shut down, leading to delays in needed care, including serious delays in colon cancer detection. A recent study found that a drop in cancer diagnoses was attributed to COVID-19 and the delay in screening, including colorectal cancer screening. Another study found that screenings for breast, cervical, and colon cancer dropped by an estimated 90% after the declaration of the COVID-19 national emergency. While the number of cancer screenings has recently begun to rise, a follow-up study demonstrates that the expected levels of screenings are still down by a third. CMS must use any regulatory authority the agency has to prevent these looming Medicare cuts in CY 2021.

In August, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) championed a letter to House leadership asking for a 2 year budget neutrality waiver. The final letter had 92 co-signatories. Thank you ACG members for your advocacy efforts! 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.

Thank You ACG Members and GI "Colorectal Cancer Warriors"

Early onset colorectal cancer unfortunately claimed another victim after the tragic death of actor Chadwick Boseman.

PSA: Colorectal Cancer Among Black Americans

Recently, some prominent Black gastroenterologist advocates from across the country joined together and released this very important public service announcement. As Dr. Sophie Balzora says, “We, as Black gastroenterologists and colorectal cancer warriors, are fighting to make colorectal cancer awareness and prevention a priority.”

ACG President on Colorectal Cancer in Younger Americans

Recently, People Magazine interviewed ACG President Mark B. Pochapin, MD, FACG about colorectal cancer prevention and the rise of incidences among younger Americans, “What to Know About Colon Cancer Following Chadwick Boseman's Tragic Death.”

Dr. Pochapin was also interviewed by Katie Couric on the rise of colorectal cancer in the younger population, “Why The Rise of Colon Cancer In Young People Is Puzzling Doctors."

ACG is committed to working with policymakers on increasing awareness and access to colorectal cancer screening.

Register Today for the ACG Practice Management Summit

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: GI Coding Updates, Lessons Learned From Going the Private Equity Route, the Importance of Customer Care in Your Practice, and the 2020 Elections: Do We Have a Crystal Ball?, among others.

Register today for the Practice Management Summit at ACG: Something for Everyone.

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).

New ACG Magazine: Feeling Fine With Fear: Mastering Risk Perception and Decision Making in Medical Practice

The latest edition of the ACG Magazine is out, with the featured article from ACG Practice Management Committee Chair Louis J. Wilson, MD, FACG. Check it out today!

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. The Practice Management Committee is confident this series will a provide valuable resource for members striving to optimize their practices.