Public Policy

January 29, 2019

Federal Government Shutdown Affects Congressional Healthcare Activity and Federal Agencies

On January 25, 2019, the longest federal government shutdown was ended with the passage and signing of a three-week continuing resolution fully funding the federal government through February 15, 2019.  The partial shutdown began on December 22, 2018 and lasted 35 days. Prior to the partial shutdown, Congress had already passed five of its major appropriations bills funding about three-fourths of the federal government, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs. As a result, virtually all government health programs such as Medicaid and Medicare were insulated from the effects of the shutdown, but other health care-related areas were impacted by the shutdown. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) saw approximately 40 percent of […]
December 1, 2017

CMS Issues 2018 Final Physician Fee Schedule

On November 2, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule that updates payment policies, payment rates, and quality provisions for services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) on or after January 1, 2018. The PFS pays for services furnished by physicians and other practitioners in all sites of service. These services include but are not limited to visits, surgical procedures, diagnostic tests, therapy services, and specified preventive services. As part of the final rule, CMS issues final values for new codes and codes deemed misvalued. Please see the spine code spreadsheet for a comprehensive comparison of RVUs and reimbursements of spine procedures from the 2017 final rule to the 2018 final rule. Some […]
November 30, 2017

ISASS Policy & Advocacy News – November 2017

News and noteworthy information for November 2017: ISASS Advocacy NCCI Edits – Cage & Instrumentation Coding CMS Issues 2018 Final Physician Fee Schedule CMS Issues 2018 Final Hospital Outpatient and ASC Rule CMS Issues 2018 Final Quality Payment Program Rule Quality Payment Program – Act NOW to Avoid Losing 4% of your Medicare Reimbursements   ISASS Advocacy Chair of the ISASS Coding & Reimbursement Task Force and winner of the 2017 ISASS Distinguished Service Award, Morgan Lorio, MD highlights the Society’s advocacy work over the past year. “ISASS’ advocacy action takes many forms across multiple forums, but at the most basic level, our number one goal is to support spine surgeons and spine patients,” Lorio said. “We do this through […]
October 4, 2017

ISASS Signs on to Multi-Society Letter Urging Statutory Flexibility in Implementing MACRA

On October 2,  ISASS and 118 state and specialty societies wrote to Congress urging the enactment of legislation to ensure that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has the flexibility to continue a transitional approach to the implementation of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) required by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).  The letter was addressed to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and also went to chairs and ranking members of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees. MACRA was bipartisan legislation signed into law in April 2015 to permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), streamline physician quality reporting programs, and provide incentive payments for physician participation in alternative payment models. […]