June 25, 2019

U.S. Senate to Take Up Legislation Aimed at Addressing “Surprise Billing”

On June 18, a key Senate committee held hearings and says it is ready to start marking up a bill next week designed to contain healthcare costs. The wide-ranging legislative package on curbing healthcare costs is sponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the chairman and ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Given the committee’s influence, and because this legislation has bipartisan support in the Senate where not many bills are moving, industry observers are taking the HELP panel’s proposal very seriously. The bill lays out three options for paying surprise medical bills but does not specify which path the final legislation should take. Advocates for each of the choices were among […]
June 25, 2019

CMS Issues a Proposed Rule to Update E-prescribing Standards To Reduce Provider Burden and Expedite Patient Access To Needed Medications

On June 17, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that would improve patients’ access to necessary medications by updating the prior authorization process for Medicare Part D, the program that provides coverage for prescription drugs that beneficiaries pick up at a pharmacy counter. The prior authorization process requires that providers supply additional clinical information to verify that the medication can be covered under the Medicare Part D benefit. The process is intended to promote better clinical decision-making and help ensure that patients receive medically necessary prescription drugs. The proposed rule would update the Part D e-prescribing program by adopting standards that ensure secure transmissions and expedite prior authorizations. Under the proposed changes, clinicians would […]
June 25, 2019

CMS Seeks Public Input on Patients over Paperwork Initiative to Further Reduce Administrative, Regulatory Burden to Lower Healthcare Costs

On June 6, CMS issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking new ideas from the public on how to continue the progress of the Patients over Paperwork initiative. Since launching in fall 2017, Patients over Paperwork has streamlined regulations to significantly cut the “red tape” that weighs down our healthcare system and takes clinicians away from their primary mission—caring for patients. CMS estimates that since January 2019, the healthcare system will save an estimated 40 million hours and $5.7 billion through 2021 from reduced administrative burdens. These estimated savings come from both final and proposed rules. This RFI provides an opportunity for stakeholders to share new ideas not conveyed during the first Patients over Paperwork RFI in 2017 and continue […]
June 25, 2019

AMA House of Delegates Meets and Reviews High Priority Health Policy and Physician Practice Issues

ISASS and other Physician Specialty Societies met in Chicago from June 8-12, as part of the annual AMA House of Delegates convention.  The AMA House of Delegates is the AMA’s policy-making body and consists of specialty and state societies and other physician stakeholders. The more than 500 voting delegates selected by their member organizations are charged with establishing broad policy on health, medical, professional and AMA governance issues. Members of the House of Delegates include state medical associations, the five federal services, national medical specialty societies and professional interest medical associations, sections and groups. ISASS is considered a national medical specialty society in the House of Delegates and participates in the Specialty and Service Society (SSS) Caucus, the largest caucus […]