Do You Need Help Understanding MACRA?

Geoffrey A. Rose, MD, FASE, presented a webinar to help the cardiovascular ultrasound community understand how to comply with the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), one of the two payment tracks being created under the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) to reform Medicare payment. It is expected that over 90 percent of all physicians will need to comply with MIPS to avoid facing penalties. The webinar delves into the details of this complex program and  outlines practical steps for you to achieve  ‘MACRA-readiness.’

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CMS Releases the CY 2017 HOPPS and PFS Final Rules

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the CY 2017 HOPPS final rule. A complete copy of the rule is now available.

This afternoon, CMS released its 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule. This final rule addresses changes to the physician fee schedule and other Medicare Part B payment policies.

ASE will be analyzing these policies, and a more detailed and targeted analysis will be available soon.

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Register Today for ASE’s MACRA/MIPS 101: Essentials You Need to Know Webinar

Join Geoffrey A. Rose, MD, FASE, for a free, interactive, live webinar on Friday, October 21, 2016, at 12:00 PM ET. This webinar is intended to help the cardiovascular ultrasound community understand how to comply with the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), one of the two payment tracks being created under the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) reform Medicare payment. It is expected that over 90 percent of all physicians will need to comply with MIPS to avoid facing penalties.

 

To ensure your FREE registration for this event, please follow these three simple steps.

  1. Log on to your ASE Member Portal with your ASE username (email) and password.
  2. Select “ASEUniversity and CME Credits” on the left.
  3. Select “Live Webinars” on the left and “Register” found in the Live Webinar Event Summary.
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Plans for the Quality Payment Program in 2017: Pick Your Pace

Click here to learn more.

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ASE Comments on the 2017 PFS and HOPPS Proposed Rules

Read copies of ASE’s comment letters on the 2017 PFS and HOPPS Proposed Rules here.

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U.S. Physicians… Just a Few Minutes of Your Time!

CPT codes that describe stress echocardiography are currently under review. Your participation is key in the assessment of the time, complexity, and physician work value for these procedures. This is your opportunity to participate in the Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) process to ensure fair and adequate code valuation. If you were randomly selected with the subject line, “Help ACC and ASE with RUC Physician Work Survey for Stress Echo,” please take a few minutes to complete this new survey.

The information you provide is critical to ensuring appropriate valuation for these services. We greatly appreciate your time, input, and expertise. For more information, please visit here.

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EHR Meaningful Use, What’s Next?

Last week acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Andy Slavitt, stated he intends to replace the Meaningful Use program in 2016. For more detail, read the following articles: EHR Meaningful Use to End in 2016, CMS Leader Says and Andy Slavitt puts meaningful use on ice; Read his J.P. Morgan speech transcript. Our Advocacy team had previously worked with the Alliance of Specialty Medicine and the AMA to advocate on behalf of echo practitioners that the original program needed improvement as physicians were unduly penalized for failure to meet requirements and measures not in their control.

A recent blog post from the CMS Blog provides more insight into the future of Meaningful Use.

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Modest Changes in Echo Professional Fees But Significant Changes in Hospital Outpatient Echo Payment Proposed by Medicare for 2016 (7/10/15)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released proposed changes to the Medicare allowances for physicians’ services paid under the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and services provided by hospital outpatient departments paid under the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS). If the changes are adopted as proposed, the amounts paid for physicians services (Professional and Technical Components) under the PFS would remain relatively unchanged in 2016, but hospitals would experience significant changes in the amounts paid by Medicare for the overhead, supplies, equipment, and non-physician personnel costs associated with outpatient echos. Read more here.

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CMS Medicare Physician Payment Schedule Proposed Rule Released

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2016 Medicare Physician Payment Schedule Proposed Rule proposed rule. View it here.

The CMS Fact Sheet can be found here.  ASE is analyzing these recommendations and will share a more detailed and targeted analysis soon.

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CMS and AMA announce efforts to help get ready for ICD-10

The American Medical Association and CMS jointly announced that an agreement has been reached on important elements of a “grace period” for the October 1, 2015, implementation of the ICD-10 diagnosis code set.

In guidance that is being transmitted, CMS announced that:

  • For a one year period starting October 1, Medicare claims will not be denied solely on the specificity of the ICD-10 diagnosis codes provided, as long as the physician submitted an ICD-10 code from an appropriate family of codes. In addition, Medicare claims will not be audited based on the specificity of the diagnosis codes as long as they are from the appropriate family of codes. This policy will be followed by Medicare Administrative Contractors and Recovery Audit Contractors.
  • To avoid potential problems with mid-year coding changes in CMS quality programs (PQRS, VBM and MU) for the 2015 reporting year, physicians using the appropriate family of diagnosis codes will not be penalized if CMS experiences difficulties in accurately calculating quality scores (i.e., for PQRS, VBM, or Meaningful Use). CMS will continue to monitor implementation and adjust the duration if needed.
  • CMS will establish an ICD-10 Ombudsman to help receive and triage physician and provider problems that need to be resolved during the transition.
  • CMS will authorize advanced payments if Medicare contractors are unable to process claims within established time limits due to problems with ICD-10 implementation.

The October 1 deadline for implementation of the ICD-10 code set is fast approaching, and time is running out for physician practices to complete their preparation. The AMA has a broad range of materials available on its web site to help physicians prepare for the October 1 deadline. For additional information please visit here.

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