June Happenings!

By Michael Main posted 06-28-2017 16:56


As a part of the 2017 ASE Scientific Sessions, ASE sponsored a Value of Echo Summit. There were two sessions focusing on helping the entire cardiovascular ultrasound community understand how their practice will be impacted by recent healthcare changes. The first portion of the summit provided a strategic point of view, discussing where healthcare is and where it is going. The afternoon session focused on a tactical approach, and provided real world application.

During the Scientific Sessions we were also able to take advantage of Baltimore’s proximity to Washington, DC and arranged a Hill Day event. ASE members met with their elected officials to advocate for your patients and to make sure the voice of the cardiovascular ultrasound community is heard. In small groups, we visited the offices of 16 Senators and members of Congress who sit on key committees, and met with their key healthcare staffers to ensure that you can continue to provide quality care in this ever-changing healthcare environment. ASE has dedicated a great deal of time and resources to expand the society’s advocacy efforts and increase our visibility on the Hill and with regulators. However, ASE’s best asset is, and will continue to be, our members. Thank you to all those that were able to make the event.

This month during the American Medical Association’s annual House of Delegates meeting ASE is proud to have worked with the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and a number of other societies on a resolution that instructs the AMA to continue to advocate a delay in the effective date of the Medicare AUC mandate. We were able to ward off an effort by the American College of Radiology to block the resolution. While the current AUC mandate does not directly apply to echo, this misguided requirement creates a new massive program that impacts many medical specialties, and establishes another burdensome administrative Medicare reporting requirement, all without demonstrative benefits to patients.

ASE also sponsored a resolution aimed at improving and protecting the health of immigrants and refugees who have come to the United States. We thank Dr. Peter Rahko and Dr. Kameswari Maganti for all their hard work!

This week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule that would make changes in the second year of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) established under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). The overall rule seems intended to ease the reporting burden on small practices. A few highlights from the proposed rule include:

  • CMS will again assign a weight of zero to the MIPS Cost Category. Other categories will be weighted as follows: Quality = 60, Improvement Activities = 15, Advancing Care Information = 25
  • CMS has proposed to modestly raise the performance threshold to 15. The performance threshold for the 2019 payment year is three. This means a final score at or above 15 will allow an eligible clinician to avoid a negative adjustment in 2020. 
  • CMS is not proposing modifications to the submission criteria for quality measures.
  • CMS will continue to allow eligible clinicians to use electronic health record technology certified to the 2014 edition for the 2018 performance year to receive credit under the Advancing Care Information Category. 
  • CMS is proposing additional flexibilities for clinicians in small practices, including adding bonus points to their final MIPS score.
  • CMS is proposing requirements for MIPS participation at the virtual group level.
  • CMS will add performance standards for scoring improvement in the Quality and Cost categories. 
  • CMS will begin determining whether eligible clinicians are APM Qualified Participants using an All-Payer Combination Option that looks at a clinician’s participation in a Medicare Advanced APM, as well as an Other Payer Advanced APM.