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Our top priority is providing value to members. Your Member Services team is here to ensure you maximize your ACS member benefits, participate in College activities, and engage with your ACS colleagues. It's all here.

Become a Member
Become a member and receive career-enhancing benefits

Our top priority is providing value to members. Your Member Services team is here to ensure you maximize your ACS member benefits, participate in College activities, and engage with your ACS colleagues. It's all here.

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Bulletin Brief

Legislative and Regulatory Updates

February 1, 2022

ACS Joins Letter to Key Committees Urging Consideration of Prior Authorization Legislation

As member of the Regulatory Relief Coalition, the ACS sent letters to the US House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees and the US Senate Finance Committee urging consideration of bipartisan, bicameral legislation to improve prior authorization in the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. The Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act (H.R. 3173/S 3018) would streamline and standardize prior authorization requirements in MA by:

  • Establishing an electronic prior authorization (ePA) program and requiring MA plans to adopt ePA capabilities
  • Requiring the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a list of items and services eligible for real-time decisions under an MA ePA program
  • Standardizing and streamlining the prior authorization process for routinely approved items and services
  • Ensuring qualified medical personnel review prior authorization requests
  • Increasing transparency around MA prior authorization requirements and their use
  • Protecting beneficiaries from any disruptions in care resulting from prior authorization requirements as they transition between MA plans

The letters request that the key committees to advance the legislation through committee process or to include the bill in a larger legislative vehicle. Champions of H.R. 3173/S 3018 include Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Ami Bera, MD (D-CA), and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) and Sens. Roger Marshall, MD (R-KS), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), John Thune (R-SD), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The legislation also has support from a substantial number of members who sit on the key committees. Furthermore, this legislation is endorsed by more than 450 organizations representing patients, healthcare providers, the medical technology and biopharmaceutical industry, and others.

The takeaway: The ACS is urging Congress to take action legislation to help streamline prior authorization in the Medicare Advantage program, which will improve patient access to surgical care.

For details on congressional activity on prior authorization, contact Carrie Zlatos, ACS Senior Health Policy Advisor, at czlatos@facs.org.

Virginia Chapter Opposes State Legislation on Optometrist Scope of Practice

The Virginia Chapter of the ACS sent a letter to the Virginia Senate Committee on Education and Health opposing S.B. 375, which would expand the scope of practice for optometrists to include scalpel and laser surgery. A companion bill is moving in the Virginia House, H.B. 213. Read the letter and the active Action Alert targeting the Senate and House Committees.

Similar bills that would permit optometrists to perform surgical procedures using scalpels and lasers on and around the eye are being considered in Alabama, Colorado, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. The College encourages ACS chapters to work with the State Affairs team to coordinate efforts with state medical societies and American Academy of Ophthalmology chapters to oppose these bills. Contact Christopher Johnson, Manager, ACS State Affairs, at cjohnson@facs.org for more information.

You can voice your opposition to the bill through SurgeonsVoice. Take action:

Virginia - Oppose Dangerous Optometric Surgery Legislation S.B. 375 and H.B. 213

ACS Opposes Wyoming Opt-Out of CRNA Medicare Rules

The ACS sent a letter to the Wyoming Board of Medicine to express concern regarding Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon's request to the Board to review the option for the state to opt-out of the federal physician supervision requirement in Medicare and Medicaid for nurse anesthetists.

Read the ACS letter.