At the AMA’s recent House of Delegates Interim Meeting, the ACR’s delegation was able to incorporate rheumatology concerns into official AMA policy, in addition to leading a major multi-specialty resolution on the CMS-proposed move to consolidate and cut evaluation and management (E/M) services. The ACR is able to make this progress because members of the ACR join or renew their memberships in the AMA.
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Gary Bryant, MD, chair of the ACR’s delegation to the AMA House of Delegates, reported the ACR submitted or co-sponsored several critical resolutions at the Interim HOD meeting, in November in National Harbor, Md. The ACR authored and led Resolution 227, which dealt with the CMS proposal in its 2019 proposed rule to consolidate and cut evaluation and management (E/M) services. The ACR obtained 19 co-sponsoring organizations to oppose this change, including other prominent specialties and state medical associations. Happily, due to intense advocacy by the ACR and other organizations, the CMS did not include the proposed cuts in the final rule published Nov. 1, and the ACR withdrew this resolution. The ACR stands ready to reintroduce it in the future, because the CMS may only delay this proposal.
Resolution 217 was submitted in coordination with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Gastroenterology Association (AGA). It asked the AMA to advocate against Medicare changes that would recategorize Medicare Part B drugs as Part D. This was strongly supported and passed.
Similarly, Resolution 810 asked the AMA to continue strong advocacy against step therapy in Medicare Advantage plans and impede the implementation of the practice before it takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019. This was initially put on the reaffirmation calendar, but the ACR delegation and partners were able to successfully extract this and had the resolution passed to ensure prioritization in the AMA’s advocacy efforts.
The ACR also co-sponsored an ASCO resolution regarding the Medicare Part B Competitive Acquisition Program (CAP). We provided amended language that strengthened the initial proposal. The amended resolution asking that this program be voluntary and have some form of flexibility, remuneration for drug handling and complex care coordination, include vendor competition, and ultimately not interfering or delaying patient care was passed by the House.
Finally, the ACR co-sponsored Resolution 232 that would oppose any CMS mandatory licensing requirements for Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) measure owners. This was an important issue for QCDRs including the ACR’s RISE registry. We proposed amended language, which was accepted, that emphasized the importance of standards adhered to by others if they were to adopt our measures, ensuring integrity and validity of the measure. This was passed in amended form.