Advocacy Monthly: September 2018

September 2018

STS Provides Feedback on Physician Payments
The Society recently submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) describing concerns with several elements of the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program Proposed Rule. The issues include significant changes to evaluation and management (E/M) codes, a section of the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) that would hold physicians accountable for certain cost measures, and a new option for clinicians to be scored under their hospital’s performance measures for MIPS.

The Society also signed coalition letters encouraging CMS to reconsider E/M code changes, as well as modify a proposal that would require Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDRs), such as the STS National Database, to let other entities use their proprietary measures for data reporting.

CMS is expected to release the Final Rule in early November.

Society Endorses Letters on Tobacco Regulation, Research Funding, Electronic Health Records
STS recently signed several joint letters that:

  • Asked Congressional leadership to remove language from the 2019 House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that would weaken FDA oversight of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and cigars. The letter noted that there is no appropriate public health justification for exempting these products from oversight;
  • Requested a minimum of $334 million in 2019 funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Several important programs, such as the HIV Research Network, the Multiple Chronic Conditions Portfolio, and the National Guidelines Clearinghouse, have already been shut down due to budget cuts; and
  • Urged CMS to award full credit in the MIPS Promoting Interoperability category to physicians who participate in clinician-led QCDRs via certified electronic health records.

Key Contact Connect
Meet with Your Reps at Your Facility

If you can’t find time to visit your representatives at their offices, they may be able to come to you. Amanda L. Eilers, DO recently met with a staff member for Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) at her institution. She described their meeting as productive:

“I met with Sara Guild, Congressman Duffy’s Outreach Director. She seemed very engaged and genuinely interested in sharing my interests with Rep. Duffy. We reviewed five bills/acts that I feel benefit our patient population as a cardiothoracic surgeon, and Sara said she would present my concerns to the Congressman.”

If you’re interested in hosting a similar meeting, contact Madeleine Stirling, Government Relations Coordinator, to get started.

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

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