Immigration, Joint message to Congress, Insurance mergers blocked

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February 10, 2017

Welcome to the ACP Advocate,

Today's first article explains the actions ACP has taken to support ACP members and others who are adversely affected by President Trump's executive order on immigration and refugees, including several internal medicine resident members in U.S. hospitals who were traveling and banned from returning to the United States when the order went into effect.

In recent statements, ACP reaffirmed our long-standing commitment to non-discrimination including in immigration policy; recommended policies to enable practicing physicians, residents, fellows and medical students from the seven affected countries who had been approved for visas to freely travel to and from the United States; called for an end to the blanket ban on refugees who had been already been vetted and granted permission to relocate to the United States with priority going to those with urgent medical conditions, and called for pathways for "Dreamers" to become permanent legal residents.

Our second article tells how ACP and four other medical organizations converged on Capitol Hill in early February to send a powerful joint message to Congress: protect patient access to health care. Together, the five groups -- ACP, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Osteopathic Association -- represented some 500,000 physicians and medical students. While calling for improvements in current law including the Affordable Care Act, the coalition urged Congress not to roll back coverage and consumer protections for the millions who would be at risk if the ACA is repealed.

Our final article today looks at how two recent federal court rulings, which blocked the proposed mergers between the insurance companies Aetna and Humana, and Anthem and Cigna respectively, will benefit patients and their physicians--and how the ACP contributed to achieving these big wins for competition, choice and fairness. In its letter to the Department of Justice in December 2015, and in follow up conversations, ACP warned that such consolidation would make it more difficult for physicians to successfully negotiate with insurers over fair pricing and reimbursement rates. Indeed, if the mergers had gone through, the current top five insurance companies would have melded into just three.

The next issue of the ACP Advocate will be distributed on Feb. 24.

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 Speaks Out for a Fair, Non-Discriminatory Immigration Policy

Travel ban ensnarls ACP members, adds to refugees' health risks and runs counter to its long-held positions, College notes

Feb. 10, 2017 (ACP) -- The American College of Physicians has joined a groundswell of public outcry in the wake of disruption in the U.S. medical profession and beyond caused by President Trump's executive or... (read more)

» ACP to Congress: Do No Harm to Our Patients

Along with other medical groups, College asks senators to protect recent health care advances

Feb. 10, 2017 (ACP) -- As the future of the Affordable Care Act teeters on the political edge, the American College of Physicians and four other medical organizations converged on Capitol Hill in early Februa... (read more)

» ACP Heralds Court Decisions Denying Mergers of Big Insurers

Ruling seen as a wedge against higher prices and fewer options for patients

Feb.10, 2017 (ACP) -- The uncertain future for American health care is creating plenty of headaches for physicians and patients alike, but recent rulings by two federal judges who took a stand in favor of pa... (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 Speaks Out for a Fair, Non-Discriminatory Immigration Policy
» ACP to Congress: Do No Harm to Our Patients
» ACP Heralds Court Decisions Denying Mergers of Big Insurers

In focus
» Register for ACP's Internal Medicine Meeting 2017
The ACP Internal Medicine Meeting is regarded as the premier scientific meeting in internal medicine. Each year, ACP brings together physicians from around the globe to experience the most comprehensive live educational event in internal medicine. Attendees benefit from: nationally recognized faculty, hands-on clinical skills instruction, CME credit and MOC points, a variety of learning formats, and networking opportunities.
» 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
CMS extended deadline: Physicians have until March 13, 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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