Biden Administration to End COVID-19 PHE on May 11

Originally published in the February 2, 2023, issue of MGMA’s Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

The Biden Administration announced that it plans to end the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) on May 11, 2023. This decision comes after multiple renewals over the past three years. MGMA appreciates that the Administration heeded our call to provide at least 90-days’ notice prior to concluding the PHE. The end of the PHE will have ramifications for a variety of flexibilities afforded by the pandemic over the last several years, such as HIPAA penalty waivers, controlled substance prescription waivers, and COVID-19 testing and treatment coverage.

For more information on the flexibilities that will conclude along with the PHE, download MGMA’s member-exclusive resource.

February 21st Webinar: Legislation, Expectations and Advocacy, Oh My!

February Lunch & Learn Webinar:
Legislation, Expectations and Advocacy, Oh My!

Tuesday, February 21, 2023 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm

Presented by the North Carolina Medical Society Foundation in partnership with the North Carolina Medical Group Management Association, we invite you to join in as the NCMS Legislative Advocacy Team, including Thomas Kincheloe, NCMS Director of Legislative Affairs, take a look at what to expect in the 2023 legislative session in North Carolina, and how it may impact your practice and patients.

The key objectives for this webinar are:

  • Review the 2022 election results and how they impact your practice and patients.
  • Introduce you to the 2023 advocacy agenda.
  • Highlight bills that have been filed (so far) and what to expect.
  • Put a spotlight on where your advocacy efforts are needed and how.

Registration

This webinar is free but you must be registered to attend. After you register, you will receive an emailed confirmation with the webinar link and phone-in instructions. Please check your spam/junk folder if you do not see the confirmation email after you register. Space is limited so register early!

Questions

For questions or more information, please contact the NC Medical Society Foundation offices at ncmsfoundation@ncmedsoc.org.

Annual Conference Registration Open: Join Us May 17-19 in Charleston

Annual Conference Registration is Open
Join Us this May in Charleston

Jen Hamilton is a labor and delivery nurse from North Carolina who accidentally found TikTok fame during the pandemic by sharing her real, authentic, and hilarious thoughts on healthcare, motherhood, and life. She’s been featured in news outlets like Daily Mail, the New York Post, and Good Morning America, and she’s our Welcome and General Session speaker for Thursday, May 18th, presenting “The Power of Small: Creating Small Connections that Can Change Everything.” Learn more.

Attendee registration is now open! Browse this post or click here to see this year’s highlights and make plans to join us today!

New! Wednesday Charleston Tours

We’re adding more fun to this year’s conference. On Wednesday evening we’ll be offering three tours of Charleston. Whether you’re interested in food, cocktails or a little bit of history and scare, we’ve got something for everyone to enjoy!

Savor the Flavors of Charleston
6:30pm – 9:00pm

In Charleston’s delicious, award-winning food, you taste more than a chef’s skill and passion, you taste the vibrant flavors from farmers’ fields, the bounty from the waters, and more than 300 years of rich history, culture and culinary tradition.

Pricing – $125 per person (without alcohol) & $175 per person (with alcohol).


Ghost and Graveyard
7:00pm – 8:30pm

Charleston’s rich history brings with it incredible stories — and ghosts! In a city that’s endured everything from war, slavery, earthquakes, and hurricanes to financial prosperity and artistic achievement, ghosts, haunted places, and legends are everywhere.

Pricing – $40 per person.


Toast of the Town
6:30pm – 8:30pm

Charleston’s talent for entertaining is world renowned! Join us and visit the quaint bars of three of Charleston’s most popular, upscale boutique inns, and learn about how this colonial port city became known as one of the best places to raise a toast.

Pricing – $95 per person


Learn more about our Wednesday evening tours and additional Annual Conference highlights here.

Hotel Accommodations

The Charleston Marriott, overlooking the Ashley River, offers easy access to beautiful downtown historic Charleston, the old city market and great dining and entertainment. The NCMGMA room block rate is $205 per night. Learn more.

Register Today!

Online registration is now open. Full conference costs start at $425 for members. See all of our conference pricing here. To register today, please follow the online registration link below.

Questions

If you have any questions about the Annual Conference, please contact
the NCMGMA offices at info@ncmgm.org.

COVID-19 PHE Renewed

Originally published in the January 12, 2023, issue of MGMA’s Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra renewed the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) yesterday. This renewal extends the PHE through mid-April 2023 and has implications for Medicare telehealth, COVID-19 testing, and other waivers. HHS has reiterated its promise to give a 60 days’ notice before letting the PHE expire.

While many telehealth flexibilities are tied to the PHE, it is important to note that the recently passed Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, does ensure certain ones will remain in effect through Dec. 31, 2024, regardless of PHE status.

More information may be found in MGMA Government Affairs’ newly updated telehealth resource.

Message from the NCMGMA Past President Matt Johnson

Dear Members,

Serving as the NCMGMA President this past year has been a great privilege. Without question, the highest reward has been developing new relationships with so many talented leaders and strengthening relationships with old friends. An organization is only as good as its members, and NCMGMA truly stands out with so many giving individuals that are always generous with their time and knowledge.

It isn’t easy to pull together volunteers to sit on committees, be engaged, and share their talents. We are fortunate to have so many willing to serve as chapter officers, committee chairs and members, and board of director officers. It is a time commitment that can pull you from regular day-to-day responsibilities, and your sacrifice to serve is extraordinary. Thank you for your servant leadership and for being an example for us all.

For those yet to serve on a committee or as a chapter officer, I encourage you to do so. Your ideas will be welcomed, and you will be supported regardless of your experience. This is a wonderful way to learn and give back. Please consider this as you progress as an NCMGMA member.

2022 was filled with accomplishments; too many to name them all. Let me highlight a few of them that stand out.

We had an incredibly successful Spring Conference at the Wilmington Convention Center. As meeting in person returned and gained momentum, we had a strong turnout for the event. Our affiliate members and Alliance sponsors showed up in full force, allowing us to host a fantastic experience for participants. Beyond the talented slate of speakers, the networking and roundtable activities provided many excellent exchanges. The conference closed with solid representation from our Advocacy Committee and our friends from the NC Medical Society.

A first for our organization took place later in the Spring when we held our first-ever Master Class in Winston-Salem. Sandra Jarrett and the Education Committee went to great lengths to put together an incredible two-day event featuring renowned speaker Mary Kelly, who knocked everyone’s socks off. This event was so successful that we decided to do it again in 2023. Registration is open so don’t wait long to enroll, as this event will sell out fast!

The final big event of the year was our Fall Conference, held in Cherokee, NC. The newly renovated convention center at Harrah’s Casino made for the perfect venue to meet. Todd Pittman and the Conference Committee once again outdid themselves with the slate of speakers and activities at this conference. The vendor hall was packed, and lots of fun was had by all. The work for the 2023 conferences started almost immediately after the Fall Conference, so stay tuned for more.

In a time when we have seen the competition for employees at its most significant in recent history, we have leaned on each other for ideas for attracting and retaining talent. The listserv has been an incredible resource for us. Additionally, there may not be a more critical time than now to have an up-to-date Salary Survey as we evaluate our current payroll. We are fortunate to have this tool, as many states do not. Participation is crucial for it to continue and to remain relevant. Thank you to Frank Chitty and that Committee for putting this together, and thank you to all who have supplied data.

I thought I could be brief with this update, but there were just too many accomplishments that needed acknowledging, and I’m sure I’m leaving some out.

Another one that stands out for me was watching the growth of our Student Outreach Committee. John Clement and Lee Katherine Ayerhart led this committee to see a greater increase in student participants than we have had in years! We have also seen a resurgence of the Wilmington Chapter, which is very exciting. I can’t wait to see what’s next for our organization.

None of these achievements would be possible without the sage leadership of our Executive Director, Melissa Klingberg. She is a tireless worker and the glue that keeps us all together. Serving beside her was an honor and privilege.

I’ve had the luxury of seeing some previews of things ahead for 2023. With NCMGMA’s 2022-23 president, you can count on a fantastic year with Chad Ghorley at the helm. Please support him, as so many of you have helped me, as we continue to be the “leaders for tomorrow’s healthcare.”

Respectfully Submitted,

Matt Johnson, MA, MBA
NCMGMA Immediate Past President

Congress Releases Year-end Legislation, Addressing Medicare Cuts and Telehealth

Originally published in the December 22, 2022, issue of MGMA’s Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

Earlier this week, Congress released the text of their year-end spending package, which contains a handful of healthcare provisions that will impact medical groups.

Medicare physician payment: The legislation averts 6.5% of the scheduled 8.5% reduction to physician reimbursement in Medicare, resulting in an approximate 2% cut to the Medicare conversion factor for 2023. By way of background, in 2021, CMS shifted funds in the physician fee schedule to pay for an increase in work RVUs, which raised reimbursement for office visits. This shift resulted in a decrease to the conversion factor due to a statutorily mandated budget neutrality adjustment. Congress provided funds to offset the adjustment in 2021 and partially offset it again in 2022. Going into 2023, we expected a cut of 8.5%, resulting from both a decrease to the conversion factor (4.5%) and PAYGO cut (4%). For the third year in a row, we’ve urged Congress to address the de facto cuts — this year in the form of adding 4.5% back into the fee schedule and waiving PAYGO. Unfortunately, despite 10,000 letters from MGMA members, Congress did not have the appetite to fully waive budget neutrality requirements to address the slated 4.5% cut. Instead, Congress will only partially mitigate it by allowing a 2% cut in 2023. This is in addition to legislation waiving the 4% PAYGO for 2023 and 2024. MGMA has voiced its disappointment that Congress is allowing a 2% cut to occur in 2023 and will continue working to find a more sustainable and comprehensive solution.

Alternative Payment Models (APMs): The 5% incentive bonus is set to expire at the end of this year. The legislation would extend the bonus for an additional year, through 2023, at 3.5%.

Telehealth: Many telehealth waivers, including being able to treat a patient in their home, were extended through 2024. This is positive development supported by MGMA to ensure continuity from pandemic-era telehealth policies.

Lab cuts: Pending the passage of this legislation, practices will receive a one-year reprieve from the laboratory cuts of up to 15% that would have gone into effect in January 2023. This provision was also supported by #MGMAAdvocacy.

We expect Congress to pass this legislation into law by Friday. We will let you know if Congress modifies the current text.

Act Now: Only 17 Days Until Medicare Cuts Take Effect

Originally published in the December 15, 2022, issue of MGMA’s Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

With only 17 days remaining in 2022, time is rapidly running out for Congress to act to avert the 4.5% reduction to the Medicare conversion factor set to effect on Jan. 1. We know from our members that the impact of this cut, especially in light of current inflationary pressures and workforce shortages, will be devastating for medical groups nationwide.

As the Medicare physician fee schedule is the only Medicare payment system without an annual inflationary update, the 4.5% reduction will only exacerbate current financial concerns and is frankly untenable. Should these cuts take effect, medical groups may be forced to make difficult business decisions including reducing the number of Medicare patients served, limiting the number of services provided, laying off staff, and even selling their practices.

MGMA continues to advocate against this detrimental reduction and for permanent payment reforms. If you haven’t done so already, join in #MGMAAdvocacy today by sending a letter to your members of Congress to pass legislation to stop the full 4.5% payment reduction from taking effect.

Already sent a letter? The time is now to pick up the phone. Call your members of Congress immediately and implore them to protect beneficiary access to care by passing legislation to #StopTheFullCut. Already asked your colleagues to take action? Now is the time to ask your friends and loved ones — the health of our nation’s seniors depends on it.

MGMA and Partner Orgs. Urge Congress to Prevent Full 4.5% Cut to Medicare Payment Rates

Originally published in the December 8, 2022, issue of MGMA’s Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

On Monday, MGMA and over 100 other healthcare stakeholder organizations sent a letter to congressional leadership urging action to avert the entire 4.5% reduction to Medicare payment rates scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2023. The letter illustrates the severity of this pending cut and the negative impact it will have on practices, especially in light of current inflationary pressures. As the Medicare physician fee schedule is the only Medicare payment system without an annual inflationary update, the pending 4.5% reduction will only exacerbate current financial concerns.

MGMA is continuing to advocate against this harmful reduction and for permanent payment reforms. Join in #MGMAAdvocacy today by sending a letter to your members of Congress to pass legislation to stop the full 4.5% payment reduction from taking effect.

Make Your Voice Heard! Join Us for 2023 Advocacy Days in March

Hear the Issues. Meet the Experts. Take Action Now

March 28-29, 2023
NC Medical Society Offices
Raleigh, NC

Join fellow NCMGMA members in Raleigh on Tuesday, March 28th at the NC Medical Society offices for vital industry and legislative updates from key decision-makers and players within North Carolina, as well as an evening networking reception sponsored by Curi. Stay on Wednesday, March 29th, and meet with our legislators, along with other North Carolina administrators.

There is no shortage of issues at hand in NC and NOW is the time to be heard

Schedule of Events

Tuesday, March 28th

3:00pm – 3:15pm
Welcome & Introductions

Jacob Rodman, CMPE, NCMGMA Advocacy Co-chair
Melissa White, NCMGMA Advocacy Co-chair

3:15pm4:15pm
North Carolina Healthcare Update
Chip Baggett, JD, NC Medical Society

5:30pm – 7:00pm
Networking Reception

Rye Bar & Southern Kitchen
Sponsored by Curi


Wednesday, March 29th

8:00am – 8:30am
Legislative Visits

Gather at NC Medical Society Offices
Discuss talking points

8:30am – 12:00pm
Legislative Visits

NCMGMA & General Assembly Meetings

Networking Reception Sponsor

Speaker

Chip Baggett, JD
Chief Executive Officer & Executive Vice President
NC Medical Society

Chip is responsible for state level advocacy efforts (primarily focused on the NC General Assembly) as well as communications and fundraising for the NCMS and NCMS Foundation. Chip has a long history in organizational advancement and advocacy. Dating back to college, he has fundraised in numerous paid as well as volunteer capacities. He has led successful corporate and personal annual fund programs and gone through training at the Indiana School of Fundraising. Chip has worked in many different facets of healthcare, ranging from a children’s science and health museum to pharmaceutical sales, before going to work directly for physicians and PAs as a medical society executive, first at the county level and then at the NC Medical Society.

Hotel Information

Reserve your room now at the Raleigh Marriott City Center. Limited standard rooms available at the discounted rate of $209/night for single/double occupancy plus tax. To reserve your hotel room, please click here. All reservations must be accompanied by a first night room deposit or guaranteed with a major credit card. If a guest does not cancel a reservation within 48 hours before 6:00 PM of the guest’s check-in date, then the hotel may charge the credit card one night’s room fee plus any applicable taxes.

Registration

Advocacy Days online registration is now open. The cost to register is $95 for NCMGMA members, $125 for non-members and $10 for students. To register today, please follow the online registration link below.

Questions

If you have any questions about Advocacy Days, please contact the NCMGMA offices at info@ncmgm.org.

Call To Action: 31 Days Until Medicare Payment Cuts Take Effect

Originally published in the December 1, 2022, issue of MGMA’s Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

With just one month remaining in 2022, MGMA needs your immediate help urging Congress to take action to avert significant Medicare payment cuts set to take effect on Jan. 1. The time to act is now! Utilize our online portal to send a letter to your members of Congress today encouraging the passage of legislation to avert the 4.47% reduction to the Medicare conversion factor, waive the statutory 4% Pay-As-You-Go sequester, provide an inflationary update based on the Medicare Economic Index, and extend the alternative payment model 5% incentive payment.

Already sent a letter? Please share this link with everyone at your practice and ask them to do the same: www.congressweb.com/MGMA/67. Want to get the word out beyond your colleagues? Encourage others to get involved in this critical advocacy effort by sharing a post from our Medicare Cuts Advocacy Social Media Toolkit!

Without congressional action, these payment reductions will take effect and have a drastic impact on beneficiary access to care and group practice financial resiliency. Take a look at our survey results to see what others are saying about the payment cuts, including how they disrupt practice operations and overall investment throughout the healthcare industry. Join in #MGMAAdvocacy today calling for the swift passage of legislation to avert these devastating payment cuts!