U.S. Senate Approves Biden Administration Nominee as CMS Administrator On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s pick to run U.S. health insurance programs, putting in place a key player who’ll carry out his strategy for expanding affordable coverage and reining in prescription drug costs. Chiquita Brooks-LaSure was approved by the Senate and will be the first Black person to head the CMS. The Senate vote was 55-44, with five Republicans joining Democrats in approving her nomination. Brooks-LaSure had been expected to win stronger bipartisan support, but a controversy over a CMS action affecting the Medicaid program in Republican-led Texas appears to have spoiled those chances. Brooks-LaSure, 46, has spent most of her career in government […]
CMS Announces Revisions to Quality Payment Program On May 20, 2021, CMS announced that the 2020 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Cost Performance Category under the Medicare Quality Payment Program (QPP) incentive program will be reweighted to 0% of the final score even if eligible physicians or groups submitted 2020 data in other MIPS categories in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more than a year, ISASS and other stakeholders, including the American Medical Association (AMA), have been recommending that CMS zero out this category during the pandemic for several reasons, including concerns that decreases in patient visits and increases in the costs of caring for patients with COVID-19 could unfairly penalize physicians. With this action, CMS […]
Read the Spring 2021 issue of “Vertebral Columns” Vertebral Columns continues to focus on topics relevant to your clinical practice as a spine surgeon. This issue highlights the benefits and drawbacks of big data in spine surgery, the cost-effectiveness of image guidance, how to advise patients with preoperative lower extremity weakness caused by lumbar pathology, patient satisfaction after spine surgery, and physician unionization. Download the full issue here OR view below.
ISASS Comments on Payer Coverage Policy on Intraoperative Monitoring ISASS submitted comments to Cigna on a draft coverage policy and literature review regarding intraoperative monitoring (IONM). The letter was a joint letter with other spine surgery societies, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. In the comment letter, the groups advocated for surgeon decision-making control over the use of intraoperative monitoring and asked Cigna to revise their policy which called for only a specific set of conditions to be allowed for coverage of interoperative neuromonitoring. The letter recommended that the decision to approve the use of IONM be designated to the treating surgeon and that if and when the surgeon asks for the use […]