Advocacy Monthly: August 2018

STS Promotes Registry-Based Reporting at MedPAC Meeting
The Society highlighted the benefits of registries, such as the STS National Database, for measuring quality during a recent meeting with staff from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a federal agency that advises Congress on issues affecting the Medicare program. MedPAC has recommended overturning the entire Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), which includes a component that incentivizes physicians to report quality measures through a Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR). David M. Shahian, MD, Chair of the STS Council on Quality, Research, and Patient Safety, argued that if MedPAC persists in its efforts to dissolve MIPS, it should still maintain that registry-based reporting is a valuable way to measure quality. MedPAC is expected to issue a revised report regarding its recommendations about MIPS, and STS will continue working to influence those recommendations for the benefit of cardiothoracic surgery.

Society Responds to Physician Payment Rule
STS recently signed several joint letters providing feedback on the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule/Quality Payment Program Proposed Rule.

  • A letter from 170 organizations representing physicians and other health care professionals addressed changes to evaluation and management billing. The groups recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) implement changes that would reduce the administrative burden on physicians, but wait to modify payment policy until further analysis can be performed. STS also signed a letter to Congress from the Coalition for Patient-Centered Evaluation and Management Services that made similar recommendations.
  • A letter from the Physician Clinical Registry Coalition outlined concerns about a CMS requirement that QCDRs be ready to support data collection and submission by January 1 of a given performance year. QCDR specifications typically are not approved and tested until late each year, making a January 1 deadline unrealistic.

Key Contact Connect
Meet Your Reps at Home This Fall

Several STS members met with their Congressional representatives at home over the past few months to discuss issues important to cardiothoracic surgeons and their patients:

  • Charles D. Harr, MD met with Rep. George Holding (R-NC).
  • Raj B. Lal, MD met with Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL).
  • Bruce J. Leavitt, MD and Seth Wolf, MS met with staff from the office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
  • Jess L. Thompson III, MD met with Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK).
  • Judy E. Tingley, DNP, MPH, RN gave Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) a tour of her facility.

Politicians will continue to campaign back home in their districts in September and October. Join your fellow members and take advantage of this opportunity to advocate on behalf of the specialty. Contact Madeleine Stirling with your home address and what kind of meeting you’d like to conduct (e.g., facility tour, fundraising event), and the Society will handle the details.

During a tour of the Erlanger Heart and Lung Institute, STS Associate Member Judy E. Tingley, DNP, MPH, RN (right) gave Rep. Chuck Fleischmann an overview of how her institution uses the clinical data within the STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database for quality benchmarking and emphasized the opportunity for Congress to engage with CMS regarding the need for price transparencyand proper implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.

Questions? Want to get involved in advocacy?
Contact the STS Government Relations office via email or at 202-787-1230.

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