As 2018 comes to a close, we reflect on how, together, we were able to help advance several AGA policy priorities — administrative burden relief, digestive disease research and funding, and patient access and protection — as well as the science and practice of gastroenterology.
In 2019, we will be counting on you, our members, to again lead the charge to achieve AGA’s mission — empowering clinicians and researchers to improve digestive health — by calling on legislators and regulators to ensure the voice of gastroenterology continue to be heard.
NIH Funding Increase
AGA advocated and secured a $2 billion increase in NIH funding for fiscal year (FY) 2019. When added to increases from the two previous fiscal years, NIH’s funding has increased by 30 percent over the past three years, which is the largest increase since the doubling period in the last decade.
IPAB Repeal Prevents Automatic Medicare Cuts
Congress repealed the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) that was created as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). AGA and all of organized medicine long opposed IPAB since its sole purpose was to make budgetary cuts to Medicare if it reached a certain threshold of spending.
MIPS Changes Means More Flexibility for Physicians
AGA and the physician community were successful in securing flexibility under the new Medicare Quality Payment Program and the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) that were created under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. The changes give CMS more flexibility in implementing the program and will ensure that physicians have an opportunity to be successful in MIPS.
500 AGA Members Prevent Radical Changes to Outpatient Documentation
In response to a CMS proposal to radically change how outpatient evaluation and management (E/M) services are documented, more than 500 AGA members urged CMS not to move forward with its plan. As a result, CMS withdrew or delayed many of the proposed changes to E/M services that negatively impacted reimbursement. CMS did move forward with several changes to E/M documentation in an effort to reduce administrative burden.
AGA Members Send More than 940 Letters to Congress
AGA launched the Congressional Advocates Program to provide an infrastructure and tools for members to effectively advocate on behalf of their profession and patients. AGA members heeded our calls to action and sent more than 940 letters sent to Congress and federal agencies throughout 2018. We thank our advocates whose participation makes a difference.