From the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC):
The IAC has announced a long time study of duplex ultrasound for diagnosis of internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis which was published online in Vascular Medicine. The results and suggested modifications can lead to improved accuracy of diagnostic ultrasound testing throughout the vascular community. IAC has secured open access to the online article, as referenced within this news release.
CMS - Call To Action
As you know, vascular surgery is under the threat of a proposed 7% cut in Medicare payment rates scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2021. The CMS is implementing drastic payment cuts to surgeons and other practitioners due to Medicare’s budget neutrality requirements that mandate spending offsets for the payment increases CMS is implementing for primary care office Evaluation and Management (E/M) visits.
The apex of a pandemic is no time to make drastic cuts in payment for any physicians, particularly surgeons, many of whom contributed as first and second wave responders, and lost significant amounts of income from the prohibitions on elective procedures in the early days of COVID-19.
We have only a short window of 6-8 weeks to stop these cuts from being implemented. Our most urgent priority is to get Congress to block these cuts and restore fairness to the fee schedule. We need the leadership of the House and Senate to agree on waiving the budget neutrality requirements for the E/M payment increases and require CMS to incorporate the E/M office visit payment increases into the global surgical packages. Unfortunately, in this election year there are few legislative vehicles to attach a waiver and little time to accomplish this.
Therefore, we are urging every member of SCVS, SVS, VESS, APDVS, and AVF, to join in a unified advocacy effort to contact your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators to request immediate action in September to waive Medicare budget neutrality requirements for the new office visit payment provisions and apply the payment increases to the global surgical packages.
Please go to the SVS website at: https://vascular.org/news-advocacy/advocacy/voter-voice-contact-congress to send a prewritten message to your lawmakers requesting that they sign on letters to their Congressional leadership urging immediate Congressional action in September to stop the proposed Medicare physician payment cuts. We may have only shot at impacting this, and now is the time!
In addition to the unceasing efforts of the SVS Government Relations Committee and Policy and Advocacy Council, the SVS Political Action Committee (PAC) is also very engaged in this effort and is working closely with SVS members to increase opportunities to engage with Congressional leaders at local, virtual events as we work to stop the Medicare payment cuts. A robust SVS PAC is one of our key advocacy tools to mobilize on issues such as the Medicare payment cuts and effectively represent our interests on Capitol Hill. You can find more information about the PAC at: www.svspac.org.
Thank you in advance for your support for our advocacy efforts. Only by working together can we make a significant difference!
Ronald Dalman, MD, SVS President
William Jordan, Jr., MD, SCVS President
Matthew Corriere, MD, VESS President
Murray Shames, MD, APDVS President
Harold Welch, MD, AVF President
Important Update from the ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy
As you can imagine, the ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy’s (DAHP) has been working with federal and state lawmakers as they focus on responding to the coronavirus pandemic, and recent COVID-19 legislation included several ACS-supported advocacy priorities. Learn more about COVID-19 related advocacy efforts. To contact Congress about these and other important priorities, visit SurgeonsVoice.
While the ACS will continue to monitor COVID-19 effects on surgery, the ACS DAHP needs your help to urge surgeon advocates across the country to contact Congress and urge immediate action to stop payment cuts. In January of 2021 finalized policies from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will result in significant cuts to physician payment for most surgical services delivered to Medicare patients, destabilize health system financing, and drastically diminish the opportunity for hospital and physician practices to recover financially from COVID-19.
As a result, the ACS and other surgical associations have urged Congress to intervene and introduce legislation that would waive budget neutrality, effectively preventing the cuts. To help supplement ACS advocacy efforts and publicly respond to this critical issue with a united voice, the ACS created the Surgical Care Coalition.
It is also important to note that SurgeonsPAC is a vital resource in our advocacy toolbox as relationships are critical to advancing ACS surgical advocacy priorities. Since March 16, the DAHP federal lobbying team participated in over 100 virtual meetings or events with elected officials. These opportunities have allowed DAHP staff to express ACS concerns regarding physician payment cuts, the economic impact of COVID-19 on physicians and practices across the country, and other critical federal legislative initiatives. SurgeonsPAC is poised to make an impact in the 2020 election cycle. The SurgeonsPAC Board of Directors and staff continue to evaluate viable congressional races across the country, particularly health professionals who could become future champions for surgery.
The DAHP will continue to push Congress but surgeon advocacy is essential to this effort. As leaders within the ACS, I urge you to take immediate action and disseminate this important advocacy update to ACS Chapters and other specialty societies. For questions about ACS advocacy priorities, contact ACS DAHP staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director, ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy