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September 27, 2018

Spotlight on Washington: NIH funding boost, surprise billing and more

AGA tracks regulation and legislation important to the GI field. Here are quick updates on issues that are moving this week.

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    • “Surprise billing” legislation unveiled. A bipartisan group of senators recently unveiled legislation that aims to stop the practice of balanced billing for patients when they receive emergency treatment or treatment by an out-of-network provider. The bipartisan sponsors (Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-LA; Michael Bennet, D-CO; Tom Carper, D-DE; Charles Grassley, R-IA; Claire McCaskill, R-MO; and Todd Young, R-IN) plan to refine the bill and introduce it at the beginning of the next Congress. AGA’s is currently reviewing the draft proposal and the impact it could have on patients seeking GI treatment and care.




ICYMI (In case you missed it) – AGA encourages you to urge your member of Congress to take action to reduce prior authorization hassles. Use our simple online system.



    • Opioid legislation agreement unveiled. The House and Senate came to an agreement on a final package to address the opioid epidemic, an important public health issue and key priority for both parties. The legislation addresses the public health epidemic by expanding access to addiction treatment and prevention, increasing law enforcement of drug trafficking and expanding loan repayment programs for health care providers in substance use disorder. The legislation also includes a provision that would standardize prior authorization for Part D drugs in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. House is expected to pass the bill before they recess for the elections and the Senate is expected to pass in October.


    • AGA, together with ACG and ASGE, weigh in on proposed changes impacting ASCs. On Sept. 24, the ACG, AGA and ASGE submitted a joint letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to the calendar year 2019 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) Payment System proposed rule. The letter addresses several provisions in the proposed rule that impact ASC payments, including endoscopy centers. Release of the final rule is expected in early November.



That’s it for this week! Keep an eye out for a video summary on our social media channels and send a tweet using #AGAAdvocacy letting us know what you would like to see in future “Spotlight on Washington” columns. 


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