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Washington Update: SVS Ready to Respond

As of Jan. 20, the United States has a new president, Donald J. Trump.

Big changes occur with every change in administration; in 2017, uncertainty hovers over the future of the Affordable Care Act and its provisions. Shortly before Inauguration Day, both the United States Senate and House of Representatives approved a resolution aimed at the act’s eventual repeal. As of this writing, no definitive information exists as to replacement legislation, if any, when it may be approved and the legislation’s provisions.  

As always, the Society for Vascular Surgery will be ready to respond and to provide comments and guidance on any legislation. The SVS is committed to advocating on behalf of SVS members and are here to help navigate any future changes that affect members.

Washington Update: Medicare Reimbursement Issues Identified
Physician Acceptance Important, Report Says

The federal government has identified two critical vulnerabilities in implementing the new Medicare reimbursement replacement program, the Quality Payment Program. Both potentially impact the program’s success:
•    Providing sufficient guidance and help to ensure clinicians are ready to participate in QPP. 
•    Developing information technology systems to support data reporting, scoring and payment adjustment. 

The vulnerabilities are outlined in a United States Department of Health & Human Services/Office of Inspector General review of early implementation of the plan. The review was undertaken, the report said, because the plan is a “significant shift in how Medicare calculates compensation.”

The complex changes have been in the works for nearly two years, following repeal of the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate and passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). The new plan puts increased focus on quality and value of care and is a major shift for SVS members. 

The government reviewed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) management of the early steps toward implementation, and the report notes CMS has made good progress in implementing the QPP. While highlighting the two key vulnerabilities, the report also highlighted other management priorities, the most critical of which is clinicians’ acceptance of and readiness to participate in QPP. 

Another priority includes facilitating participation in Advanced Alternative Payment Models. An ad hoc SVS committee will be creating such APMs for vascular surgeons as no such payment model currently exists. SVS also is working with the American College of Surgeons on episode-based APMs for vascular surgeons.