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LEGISLATIVE NEWS-ON THE HILL
ASCRS/ASOA WEB SEMINAR SERIES ON MEDICARE INCENTIVE PROGRAMS
On June 7, the House passed, by a vote of 270–146, H.R. 436, the “Health Care Cost Reductions Act,” which repeals the tax on medical devices and limitations on the purchase of over-the-counter medications included in the health care reform law. The legislation also includes provisions to allow individuals to recoup up to $500 of unused funds remaining in their flexible-spending accounts (FSAs) after the end of the plan year. The original bill to repeal the medical device tax, sponsored by Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN), was combined with H.R. 5852 to repeal restrictions on using tax-preferred accounts to pay for over-the counter drugs, as well as provisions of a third bill, H.R. 1004, to improve flexible spending arrangements.
According to the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), repealing the medical device tax would cost $29 billion over 10 years. The JCT also estimated that the over-the-counter restrictions would reduce federal revenue by about $4 billion and allowing payouts of remaining FSA funds would reduce revenue by $4.1 billion over the same period. To offset the cost, the bill includes a provision that would make those with subsidized coverage from state insurance exchanges liable for any overpayments. In a recent cost estimate by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the House-passed bill would decrease the deficit by $6.7 billion over 10 years.
The bill faces opposition from the Senate leadership and received a veto threat from the President. Discussions have begun regarding possible paths to enactment in the Senate, such as adding it onto larger tax reform measures that may be addressed at the end of the year. Congressman Paulsen indicated that the medical device tax’s link to the health care bill and those who supported health care reform could be the biggest challenge, and the offset included in the House-passed bill will not be popular in the Senate.
On Thursday, June 14, the Senate Finance Committee will hold its second roundtable focusing on Medicare physician payment policy and lessons learned from the private sector. The participants include representatives from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Humana, Aetna, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, and Hill Physicians Medical Group. A third roundtable will be held at the end of the month and will include representatives from the physician community.
ASCRS/ASOA will hold the second session in a three-part series of web seminars on Medicare Incentive Programs on Wednesday, June 13 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM. You will receive an overview of the changes and updates to the 2012 Medicare EMR/Meaningful Use Incentive Payment Program and tips on how to prepare for selecting/implementing an EMR system.
EMR/Meaningful Use Incentive Program
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT
ASOA and ASCRS Members: Free Registration with Promo Code: z21a3
Speakers: Speakers: Travis Broome, CMS, Tina Pinke, COT, COE
Credits: Earn 1.00 COE credits by attending this seminar.
All attendees must register at least 24 hours in advance of each web seminar.
Enter Promo Code: z21a3 at the end of the credit card registration process to receive this web seminar for free.
ASCRS and ASOA Web Seminar Series on Medicare Incentive Programs: eRx, EMR, PQRS
The three-part series on Medicare Incentive Programs presents an overview of the CMS EMR Meaningful Use Incentive, e-Prescribing, and PQRS programs, including details on how eligible professionals (EPs) can maximize bonus payments and avoid penalties now and in the future.
EMR Incentive Program
Wednesday, June 13
2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT
Promo Code: z21a3
Wednesday, June 20
2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT
Promo Code: j1255
Registration: All attendees must register at least 24 hours in advance of the web seminar.
ASOA and ASCRS Members–Complimentary Registration with Seminar Promo Code.
Enter Promo Codes at the end of the credit card registration process to receive the web seminar(s) for free.
eRx Incentive Program
The archived recording of the June 6 web seminar will be available to ASOA and ASCRS members.
More details will be released in next week’s Washington Watch.
Warning: 3 Weeks Remain to Avoid 2013 eRx Payment Reduction
Unless you have successfully e-prescribed or qualify for an exemption by June 30, 2012, you will be hit with a -1.5% payment reduction on your total estimated Medicare Part B allowed charges in 2013.
You submitted 10 or more eRx codes (G8553) on your Medicare Part B claim forms, for any Medicare Part B physician fee schedule service provided between January 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012, using a qualifying eRx system or certified electronic health record (EHR), and the claims were received and processed by CMS by no later than July 31, 2012.
If you submit 25 eRx claims (must be denominator eligible) between July 1 and December 31, 2012, you are eligible for the 1% incentive, and would also avoid an e-prescribing penalty in 2014.
Qualifying for an Exemption
If you meet the following criteria, you are not subject to the payment reduction and no further action is needed:
If you meet any of the following hardship exemptions, you must file for an exemption that applies to your particular hardship situation no later than June 30, 2012, by using CMS’ on-line Web-based tool.
If you are not sure whether you successfully participated in the eRx program or if you are subject to penalties, apply on-line for an exemption that pertains to your particular hardship anyway.
Submitting an Exemption Request
Go to the Quality Reporting Communication Support Page to request a significant hardship exemption for the 2013 electronic prescribing (eRx) payment adjustment.
Important Things to Remember
At this time, the quickest way to find out whether a revalidation letter was mailed to you is to check the downloads on the Revalidation page on the cms.gov website. You can now view
Also, CMS now allows an Authorized Official (AO) or Delegated Official (DO) of an organization to e-sign their application within an authenticated Internet-based PECOS session. The AO or DO of an organization that is listed in the Individual Control section of an enrollment will be permitted to e-sign the applicable certification and/or authorization statements and CMS 588 (Electronic Funds Transfer) within Internet-based PECOS instead of being directed to a separate PECOS E-signature Application. However, if the AO or DO is not the individual completing the application or if they do not currently have access to PECOS, they will continue to receive an email directing them to the separate PECOS E-signature Application.
On June 5, PCORI released its preliminary draft methodology report, “Our Questions, Our Decisions: Standards for Patient-centered Outcomes Research”, which is intended to set the groundwork for the standards and types of research methods that can be used to develop comparative effectiveness research (CER). The report includes 60 standards for research that address four broad categories of activities:
• What should we study?
• What study designs should we use?
• How do we carry out and govern the study?
• How do we enable people to apply the study results?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) authorized PCORI, as a nonprofit corporation, to assist patients, clinicians, purchasers, and policymakers in making informed health decisions by providing quality-relevant evidence on how best to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor diseases and other health conditions.
On Tuesday, June 19, CMS subject matter experts will provide an overview of “The 2010 Physician Quality Reporting System and eRx Incentive Program Reporting Experience Including Trends (2007-2011)”. In February, CMS released the report detailing the 2010 participation rates and incentives paid to physicians for PQRS and eRx, and ophthalmology continued to improve their rates of participation and success compared with the 2009 rate. In the eRx program, ophthalmology had the second highest rate of participation at 33.8%; 63% of those who participated qualified for the 2% incentive payment. Ophthalmology is also one of the highest performing specialties for PQRS reporting. In 2010, 39.9% of ophthalmologists participated via claims-based reporting and nearly 60% of those who participated qualified for the incentive payment.
Presentation will be available on the FFS National Provider Calls web page. In addition, a link to the slide presentation will be emailed to all registrants on the day of the call.
Make Your 2012 eyePAC Contribution Today
On May 22, all ASCRS members who have not contributed to eyePAC in 2012 were asked to make their annual contribution. You can make your contribution online at the ASCRS web site by going to Government Relations and clicking on eyePAC in the drop-down box or clicking here to download a contribution form to fax back. Thank you in advance for making a contribution. If you have questions, please contact ASCRS PAC/Grassroots Specialist Gerrie Gray-Benedi at 703-591-2220 or by email at email@example.com.
To find out more about the articles in this communication or to read more about legislative and regulatory issues that affect you and your practice, visit the ASCRS and ASOA websites. You can also visit http://www.specialtydocs.org/, the web site of the Alliance of Specialty Medicine.
© 2012 ASCRS/ASOA