American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Bulletin Advocacy Brief: February 11

New State Legislative Dashboard Available

Fellows now have access to a new state legislative dashboard to view activity taking place in their state legislatures. The dashboard includes all the state bills and issues that the American College of Surgeons is tracking with break downs by state, legislative issue, bill status and more.

Visit the dashboard today!

The dashboard is a live page with links to issue specific dashboards that automatically update as new bills are added or as bills move along in the legislative process.

If you have any questions about this resource or any other state advocacy related questions, reach out to state_affairs@facs.org.

Access 2021 Quality Payment Program Resources on ACS Website

The ACS has added new web pages to the Quality Payment Program Resource Center. The new information outlines the major updates to the QPP, specifically the provisions under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, that surgeons should be aware of if they are required to report during the 2021 performance period. Surgeons can find information on each MIPS performance category - Quality, Improvement Activities, Cost, and Promoting Interoperability—plus additional details on policies such as the extreme and uncontrollable circumstances hardship exception and facility-based scoring. The web pages also provide multiple direct links to resources provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

If you are required to report data under the QPP, review the 2021 QPP resources on the ACS website. If you have any additional questions about how to report to the QPP in 2021, contact QualityDC@facs.org.

ACS Joins Stakeholder Letter on Medicare Sequestration

As part of a broad coalition, the ACS joined more than 40 health care organizations in signing a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting that the Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act (H.R. 315) be included in upcoming must-pass COVID-19 relief legislation. The legislation would extend the delay of sequestration-related payment cuts, required by the Budget Control Act of 2011, through the end of the declared COVID-19 public health emergency. Congress had previously delayed the 2 percent spending cut until March 21 as part of the spending bill enacted in December 2020.

Call to Action

Write your members of Congress today and urge your elected officials to call on House and Senate leadership to include H.R. 315 in the next COVID-19 relief package!

For more information about sequestration, please contact Amelia Suermann, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at asuermann@facs.org.

ACS Provides Feedback to Healthcare Innovation Caucus on Facilitating Value-based Care

The leaders of the House Healthcare Innovation Caucus issued a request for information on ways to improve the Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute to facilitate value-based care. In January, the ACS submitted feedback to the RFI. The ACS believes the recently finalized Stark Law and AKS rules take important steps to help incentivize innovation in alternative payment models and other value-based payment arrangements. Through the RFI, the ACS encouraged the Healthcare Innovation Caucus to consider other solutions to existing barriers to developing innovative payment models instead of making additional changes to Stark Law and AKS. The ACS maintains that empowering CMS and stakeholders to develop innovative quality programs that increase value in MIPS Value Pathways as well as facilitating testing of physician-focused APMs would help to create value incentives in Medicare.

For more information, contact Carrie Zlatos, ACS Senior Congressional Lobbyist, at czlatos@facs.org.

Dr. Hoyt and Christian Shalgian Describe How the College Helped Prevent Medicare Payment Cuts for Surgeons and Maintained Patient Access to Care

The ACS, the surgery workforce and surgery patients achieved an important victory in late December with passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which contained ACS-supported language preventing the planned significant Medicare payments cuts for surgeons.

Achieving this hard-fought result was in part made possible by the coordinated, continuing efforts of the ACS, in particular the Division of Advocacy and Health Policy, as well as the combined efforts of the surgical community through the Surgical Care Coalition.  In his “Looking forward” column in the February Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons, David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, ACS Executive Director, describes the steps that College and other stakeholders took to maintain surgical patients’ access to care—read it see how the ACS put your advocacy into action.