Healthcare Funding Addressed in Congressional Budget Resolution
LUGPA Sees Opportunity for Independent Practices Under New Healthcare Policies
Chicago, IL, February 9, 2018 – Today, the United States Congress passed a major budget resolution to fund the government, which included several provisions important to health care providers. LUGPA has been a vocal champion for many of the provisions including those affecting Medicare reimbursement rates and policies. The following statement can be attributed to Neal D. Shore, MD, FACS, president of LUGPA, the leading voice for urologists in independent practice:
LUGPA’s mission is deeply rooted in preserving and promoting the ability for independent physician practices and specialty providers to deliver coordinated quality care. We are pleased to see provisions within the Advancing Chronic Care, Extenders, and Social Services (ACCESS) Act addressing policies and concerns that directly impact LUGPA member practices and other specialty practices throughout the country. LUGPA advocated for provisions that will ultimately incentivize and reward private practices appropriately for providing value-based care and proactively participating in the Quality Payment Program. We are grateful and appreciative that Congress recognized the importance of the need for these changes to support independent physician practices.
Among the provisions of the ACCESS Act which LUGPA applauds is the permanent repeal of the Independent Physicians Advisory Board (IPAB). While this agency was never empaneled, it served as a looming threat to Medicare reimbursement for independent physicians. We believe that fully restoring this authority to Congress is the right way to maintain oversight of Medicare costs.
The ACCESS Act also includes an extension of the reimbursement rate freeze for radiation oncology, which LUGPA strongly supported. The rate freeze extension will allow for additional time to develop an alternative payment model for radiation services—a process LUGPA stands ready to support with our expertise. The rate freeze also reinforces the importance of site neutrality in reimbursements, which will preserve patient access to radiation oncology services in the setting of their choice.
As a vocal supporter of transitioning to a value-based care system, LUGPA supports Congress’ modifications to MACRA. The removal of Part B drugs from penalties and bonuses under MIPS, prevents providers from being penalized for administering live-saving drugs to patients. Additionally, improving the alternative payment model review process within the Physician-focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC) will allow fluid communication between the committee, organizations like LUGPA and the Secretary of CMS. We anticipate it will increase participation in APMs under the QPP.
As a long-standing advocate for specific modifications to the Affordable Care Act that level the playing field for independent practices to thrive under new payment systems, LUGPA looks forward to harnessing these new provisions under a value-based care delivery system and continuing to deliver comprehensive, high-quality urologic services.
LUGPA is a trade Association that represents independent urology group practices in the U.S., with more than 2,300 physicians who make up more than 25 percent of the nation’s practicing urologists, and provide more than 30 percent of the total urologic care in the U.S. The Association is committed to providing the best resources and information for its member practices through advocacy, research, data collection and benchmarking efforts. LUGPA advocates for independent urology practices by promoting quality clinical outcomes, fostering new opportunities and improving advocacy in the legislative and regulatory arenas. For more information, visit lugpa.org.