The Clock is Ticking: With physicians facing a looming Medicare payment cut of 24 percent on April 1 when the current Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula patch expires, the medical community is in action mode. The ACC, in conjunction with many other medical professional societies, has expressed support for H.R. 4015/S. 2000, a bill that would permanently repeal the SGR and establish the framework for a new Medicare payment system that would reward high quality, evidence-based care. This week, the College joined over 600 medical organizations by signing onto an American Medical Association (AMA) letter urging Congress to "finally break the SGR status quo and pass a long-term solution." It is imperative that we let Congress know that another patch is unacceptable, that the progress represented by this bipartisan agreement must be brought to completion, and must be paid for with offsets that do not harm cardiovascular patients or the clinicians who care for them. Send a letter to your members of Congress today.
Last Chance for 2013 PQRS! If you haven’t submitted your data for the 2013 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), you can still use the ACC PQRIwizard to submit your data through March 13 at 5 p.m. ET. The 2013 PQRS incentive payment is equal to 0.5 percent of allowed charges for Part B covered services. Did you know that PINNACLE Registry® participants can seamlessly take part in federal quality reporting programs, including PQRS? For the 2013 Program Year, the PINNACLE Registry submitted data on behalf of 1,236 providers across 96 practices.
CCHD Screening Legislation Heats Up: Over the course of the last few weeks, significant progress has been made on the state level for advancing critical congenital heart defect (CCHD) screening legislation. New Mexico and Virginia finalized bills requiring hospitals to perform a pulse oximetry test on newborns before they are discharged from the hospital. Additionally, the Arizona House and Hawaii Senate both unanimously voted to pass CCHD screening legislation. Finally, Wisconsin recently enacted the first part of the two step process by passing a bill that empowers the health department to promulgate congenital screening regulations. Passing CCHD screening legislation is one of the College's state advocacy priorities and the ACC is continually working with local ACC Chapters and the ACC's Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology Section on advancing legislation.
Successfully Translating Evidence Into Policy: One of the roles of the ACC’s Payer Advocacy Team is to review and comment on commercial payer medical coverage policies. The team is responsible for gathering input from ACC clinical experts and crafting this input into detailed comment letters. A new report from WellPoint on ACC efforts over the last year highlights the success of these communications. According to the report, coverage policies were revised in all 13 instances where the College provided comments.
Coding Corner: On Oct. 1, the ICD-9 code sets used to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures will be replaced by ICD-10 code sets. Despite recent AMA efforts to delay the implementation date, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has confirmed that the switchover will take place as planned. With about seven months until ICD-10 goes into effect, it's time to get prepared. Check out ICD-10 tips and find out what you need to know about the transition on CardioSource.org. Don’t miss session 639 (Not Just for Coders: How ICD-10 Will Affect Clinicians and the Practice of Medicine) at ACC.14. Additionally, browse through Road to 10, a CMS resource to help physicians in small practices transition to the new code set.
Concerns Raised Over Health Insurance Exchange Grace Period: Consumers who have or may purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Exchanges (HIExs) and receive advanced premium tax credits are entitled to a three month grace period if they miss a monthly premium payment. During the first 30 days the issuers will pay for any claims submitted. However, any claims submitted during months two and three of the grace period will be allowed "to pend" and may ultimately be denied if the consumer does not make the missed payment. In absence of any regulations there is a possibility that the burden of potential losses will inadvertently be shifted to the providers. Last week, your ACC signed onto an AMA/Medical Group Management Association letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner that laid out concerns about the grace period's impact on physicians and offered recommendations to address these concerns. Stay tuned for developments.
ACCPAC March Madness Underway! ACC Political Action Committee (PAC) is running a March Madness campaign throughout the month and the chapter that wins its "division" will receive a $1,000 scholarship to the 2014 Legislative Conference. Are you up for the challenge? Contributions can be made at ACCPACWeb.org.