Washington Report from MGMA

Originally published in the March 16, 2016 issue of MGMA’s Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

MGMA urges 90-day MU reporting in 2016
MGMA joined 33 other organizations in a letter to Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), calling for a 90-day reporting period for the Meaningful Use Program in 2016. While CMS shortened the program’s reporting requirement to 90 days in 2014 and 2015, this year eligible professionals are required to successfully report for 365 days. In the letter, the organizations argue that full-year reporting limits innovation for providers and their EHR vendor partners by leaving no downtime to modify products, improve usability, and test innovative solutions. The longer reporting period will also reduce the time providers have to prepare for the transition to new requirements under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act and will most likely result in large numbers of providers being forced to apply for hardship exceptions.

MGMA expresses support for new telehealth legislation
This week, MGMA sent a letter to members of Congress expressing support for the newly-introduced legislation, Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act, S. 2484/H.R. 4442. The CONNECT for Health Act would expand coverage for telehealth services by lifting a number of Medicare’s restrictive coverage requirements for these convenient and flexible services. Additionally, this legislation would benefit  physician practices by creating a program to help them meet the goals of the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System through the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM), allow both services to be used by qualifying participants in alternative payment models, and permit the use of RPM for certain patients with chronic conditions. Visit the MGMA Advocacy Center to contact your lawmakers and ask them to support this important legislation.

Prepare now for upcoming Open Payments review period
The Open Payments Program, part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is a national transparency program intended to highlight the financial relationships between physicians, teaching hospitals and drug and device manufacturers. Every year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) collects data about payments and other transfers of value made by these drug and device manufacturers and publishes it on the Open Payments website. Beginning in April, providers will have a 45-day review and dispute period of 2015 data. To allow adequate time to review the data before it is published online, providers should begin the registration process as soon as possible. Providers must first register with the CMS Enterprise Portal, and then register in the separate Open Payments system. According to CMS, the registration process should take no longer than 30 minutes to complete and must be completed in one sitting. Those who registered last year do not need to re-register, but may need to reset their password to unlock their account if there has been no activity for 60 days.

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