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

Bulletin Advocacy Brief: June 17

Surgical Care Coalition Again Working to Prevent 9 Percent Cut to Surgical Care

One year ago, the American College of Surgeons (ACS)-led Surgical Care Coalition was formed to advocate for patients and stop harmful cuts to surgical care. While the ACS and the Surgical Care Coalition worked diligently and were successful in getting Congress to delay for the most drastic cuts in 2020, surgeons and the care they provide are facing another round of devastating payment cuts that will harm patients. Last year's congressional action was only a temporary fix that did not offer a long-term solution for patients. Surgical care may yet see a nearly 9 percent cut this year unless Congress acts once again.

Surgical care faces two different types of cuts at the end of the year, as follows:

  1. Delayed payment cuts to surgical care ordered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services go into effect
  2. Federal laws to curb spending (known as "sequestration" and PAYGO) that automatically cut payments

Patients need a health care system that invests in surgical care, not one that threatens it year after year.

In the coming weeks and months, the ACS and the Surgical Care Coalition will be reaching out for your testimony, support, and advocacy to make our voices heard in the halls of Congress to stop these cuts. But you can start working now—contact your members of Congress to help educate them about the importance of preventing this 9 percent cut to surgical care. It is time to make sure the collective voice of surgery is heard again.

HHS Releases Revised Provider Relief Fund Reporting Requirements

On June 11, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), released revised reporting requirements for recipients of Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments. The announcement included an extension of the amount of time providers will have to report information and is intended to reduce the burden of reporting. It also extended the deadline for expending those PRF payments received after June 30, 2020. The revised reporting requirements are applicable to payments that exceed $10,000, in aggregate, during a single Payment Received Period.

Read the revised requirements issued on June 11, 2021.

Important changes in the revisions include:

  1. The period of availability of funds is based on the date the payment is received (rather than requiring all payments be used by June 30, 2021, regardless of when they were received).
  2. Recipients are required to report for each Payment Received Period in which they received one or more payments exceeding, in the aggregate, $10,000 (rather than $10,000 cumulatively across all PRF payments).
  3. Recipients will have a 90-day period to complete reporting (rather than a 30-day reporting period).
  4. The PRF Reporting Portal will open for providers to start submitting information on July 1, 2021.

In January 2021, HHS opened registration for the Provider Relief Fund Reporting Portal. HRSA encourages providers to establish a Provider Relief Fund Reporting Portal account now by registering here. Registration will facilitate the receipt of updates closer to the time of the official opening of the portal for reporting.

Be a Surgeon Advocate: Participate in the 2021 Advocacy at Home Program

While participating in advocacy through SurgeonsVoice is essential and has already made an impact in Washington, DC, the ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy (DAHP) encourages all surgeon advocates to engage in Advocacy at Home, particularly during the month of August when lawmakers look to constituents for updates regarding important issues affecting their districts.

Be on the lookout for additional announcements about the 2021 Advocacy at Home program, including online tools and resources to schedule meetings with your elected officials, more information about current ACS legislative priorities and where your voice is critical to ensure Congress acts, plus best practices to successfully advocate at home.

Learn more about the importance of Advocacy at Home program today. If you have questions, contact ahp@facs.org.