MACRA and drug pricing legislation updates

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January 27, 2017
Welcome to the ACP Advocate,

Today's first article explains how ACP is working to improve several aspects of Medicare's new Quality Payment Program. This is the first year for physicians and their practices to begin participating in the program, whether through its Merit-Based Incentive Payment System or as an Alternative Payment Model, and as the article describes, ACP continues to advocate for improvements to make it less burdensome and more meaningful to physicians and their patients.
Our second article today tells how a group of U.S. senators has introduced legislation, supported by ACP, to allow Medicare to directly negotiate the price of prescription drugs. Led by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minn., the proposed legislation would increase patient access to vital medications.

The next issue of the ACP Advocate will be distributed on Feb. 10. We're planning to feature articles on a federal judge's decision to block the health insurance merger between Aetna and Humana (see sidebar for ACP statement applauding the decision). and on ACP's participation in a scheduled Feb. 2 fly-in with other primary care physician organizations to meet with legislators to advocate for preserving key coverage and consumer protections established by the ACA.

For more coverage of what's happening in Washington, take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty. You can also follow me on Twitter @BobDohertyACP.

As always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to:

Yours truly,

Bob Doherty
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians

In the news
» ACP Suggests Ways to Tweak Physician Payment Plans

With plans already finalized for this year, changes most likely would not occur till 2018

Jan. 27, 2017 (ACP) -- When it comes to the rules of Medicare, final isn't necessarily final. That, however, may be good news for the American College of Physicians, which is working to improve several aspect... (read more)

» Bill to Let Medicare Negotiate Drug Prices Gets New Life in Senate

Change would increase patient access to vital medications, ACP maintains

Jan. 27, 2017 (ACP) -- A group of U.S. senators is hoping that the second time is the charm for legislation that would allow Medicare to directly negotiate the price of prescription drugs.

Led by Se... (read more)

About this newsletter
The ACP Advocate is an e-newsletter, edited by the College's Washington, DC governmental affairs division, created to provide you, our members, with succinct news about public policy issues affecting internal medicine and patient care. To learn more about ACP's Advocacy and to access the ACP Advocate archives, go to
In this issue
» ACP Suggests Ways to Tweak Physician Payment Plans
» Bill to Let Medicare Negotiate Drug Prices Gets New Life in Senate

In focus
» ACP Praises Blocked Health Insurance Merger
ACP praised the Jan. 23 ruling by a federal judge that blocked a proposed merger between health insurers Aetna and Humana. The ruling over the potential impact on competition and insurance prices is a big “win” for patients and their physicians. An in-depth article is planned for the Feb. 10 Advocate.
» Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Policies for 2017
New codes are available for physicians to bill under Medicare Part B in 2017. These include additional codes for chronic care management, prolonged services, and more. ACP's summary of the physician fee schedule rule includes the key Medicare policy changes that physicians should know for 2017.
» Attest to Meaningful Use to Avoid a Payment Adjustment
Physicians have until February 28, 2017, to attest to meaningful use for the EHR Incentive Programs for 2016 performance. Clinicians must attest by the deadline to avoid a 2018 payment adjustment. To help providers prepare for the 2016 EHR Incentive Programs attestation period, CMS has released an attestation worksheet for eligible clinicians. Physicians can log their meaningful use measures for each objective in the worksheet and use it as a reference when attesting for the 2016 Medicare EHR Incentive Program in CMS’ Registration and Attestation System.
» Submit PQRS Data for 2016
The Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) is open for submission of quality reporting data for the 2016 performance period. Physicians must submit PQRS data on their 2016 performance to avoid receiving payment adjustments in 2018. Submission dates vary based on how physicians choose to report, so practices should check with submission vendors for deadlines. Additional details are available on ACP’s PQRS page.

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