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

Important upcoming MIPS dates and deadlines

The end of the 2019 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) performance year is quickly approaching, which means MIPS participants should be aware of important dates and deadlines in coming months. As a reminder, October 3, 2019, was the last day to begin reporting Promoting Interoperability (PI) performance category data using your preferred reporting method. This date also signaled the start of the final 90-day reporting period for the Improvement Activities performance category, which is reported via attestation. Other important dates to remember are as follows:

  • December 31, 2019: Final day to submit a 2019 PI Hardship Exception and Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Applications for clinicians, groups, and virtual groups.
  • October 1, 2019–December 31, 2019: Elect to be part of a virtual group in the 2020 MIPS performance year in this time period.
  • January 2, 2020–March 31, 2020: Submit your 2019 MIPS performance data through your chosen submission mechanism in this time period.

Additional resources and an outline of 2019 MIPS deadlines can be found on the Quality Payment Program website. For more information, contact QualityDC@facs.org

ACS Testifies on Firearm Injury Prevention before Congressional Subcommittee

Ronald M. Stewart, MD, FACS, Medical Director, American College of Surgeons (ACS) Trauma Programs, testified October 3 before the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. This hearing, A Public Health Crisis: The Gun Violence Epidemic in America, took place at Kennedy-King College, Chicago, IL. In his testimony, Dr. Stewart detailed the ACS’ commitment to collaboration and outlined the proceedings from the Firearm Injury Prevention Medical Summit that the ACS hosted earlier this year. He concluded with the following comments:

Intentional violence is the most neglected health problem in America, and firearm violence is a public health emergency, but I am optimistic. If we commit to addressing intentional violence in the same way we did with motor vehicle-related injury and death five decades ago, we can and we will make dramatic progress. This means working together to: 1) make firearm ownership as safe as reasonably possible (for those who own firearms and for those who do not), and 2) to work together to understand and address the root causes of violence. This is the core of a public health approach to firearm injury prevention.

Read the testimony or watch the hearing online. Read the press release from the Medical Summit here. For more information on the College’s comments, contact Hannah Chargin, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at hchargin@facs.org.

CMS Releases Burden Reduction Final Rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a rule September 26 that finalizes provisions to promote efficiency, transparency, and burden reduction in the Medicare program. The final rule eliminates policies that require physicians to conduct a complete medical history and physical (H&P) assessment on each patient at least 30 days before the date of a procedure scheduled to be conducted in an ambulatory surgical center (ASC). CMS will instead allow ASCs to establish guidelines for preoperative evaluations that—based on the operating physician’s own medical decision making—are specific to each patient and the type of procedure performed. The agency made similar changes to H&P assessment requirements for hospitals.

In addition, CMS removed provisions that require ASCs to have a written transfer agreement with a local hospital or ensure that all physicians who operate in the ASC have admitting privileges at a local hospital. However, ASCs must continue to have an effective process for immediate transfers to a hospital for patients who need emergency medical services that are beyond the capabilities of the ASC. The agency also decreased its requirements for health care facilities to conduct an annual review of their emergency preparedness programs to a review every two years.

The final rule and related fact sheet are available for public review. Contact regulatory@facs.org with questions.