At the beginning of each year, AGA leaders convene in a Public Policy Summit to identify key issues of concern to gastroenterologists in the legislative and regulatory arenas and to develop an advocacy blueprint to guide its advocacy activities. The comprehensive agenda that emerges from the summit includes issues of concern to clinicians and scientific investigators as well as professional issues that affect all gastroenterologists.
Below is a summary of key AGA Public Policy Issues.
Reimbursement Information and Advocacy
The AGA endorses a Medicare Physician Payment Formula that ensures equitable and stable reimbursement.
Federal Funding of Research
AGA supports a 4.5 percent funding increase in FY2015.
Patient Cost Sharing for Screening Colonoscopy
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act waives the coinsurance and deductible for colorectal cancer screening tests. The administration has clarified its policy related to cost sharing for colonoscopy for privately insured patients. However, due to the unique nature of colonoscopy, many patients with Medicare will still wind up paying out of pocket. AGA urges Congress to correct this “cost sharing” problem.
In-Office Ancillary Services
AGA supports the current in-office ancillary services exception under the Stark self-referral laws, which allow physicians to own and provide services such as imaging, pathology and physical therapy. We believe that integrating services such as anatomic pathology into physician practices can promote coordinated care by providing patients with accurate and prompt results and improving quality of colorectal cancer screening through integrated tracking of adenoma detection rates.
Health-Care Reform Debate
AGA continues to monitor the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its impact on gastroenterology. We continue to work to influence the regulatory process as key provisions are being implemented and advocate with our champions in Congress to change provisions of this law.
Protecting Medicare Beneficiary Access To High Quality Specialist Services
AGA, as a member of the Alliance of Specialty Medicine, supports physician payment reform, maintaining access to specialty care, developing evidence-based and clinically relevant quality measures, the development of an electronic health information network, and responsible comparative effectiveness research.
Advocating for ASC Payments
AGA, along with ASGE and ACG, supports stabilizing payment rates for ASCs by changing the inflationary adjustment for ASCs to a hospital market basket update instead of the current consumer price index-urban, which is not an accurate measurement of health -care costs. AGA supports H.R. 2500/S. 1173, the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality and Access Act, which would make this payment update change.
Medical Liability Reform
AGA endorses medical liability reform to avert a health-care crisis.
The Gut Microbiome — The Future of Research and Patient Care
AGA supports a 4.5 percent funding increase in FY 2014.