AGA Washington Insider

A policy blog for GIs

AGA Fights for GI on Capitol Hill

Alliance fly in 2014 five doctors on Capitol HillAGA physicians took Capitol Hill by storm and met with more than 16 Congressional offices to discuss Medicare physician payment reform, medical liability reform and physician workforce shortages.

AGA physicians Joel V. Brill, MD, AGAF; Carla H. Ginsburg, MD, MPH, AGAF; Lawrence Kim, MD, AGAF; Lawrence R. Kosinski, MD, MBA, AGAF; and Fernando Carreira, MD (pictured at left and on AGA’s Facebook page) participated in the Alliance of Specialty Medicine’s annual legislative conference during which they heard nine members of Congress and other government officials discuss health-care reform implementation, Medicare payment reform and other pressing policy issues facing physicians.

AGA physicians discussed many of our quality improvement initiatives and payment model ideas with Rep. Bill Cassidy, MD, R-LA. Dr. Cassidy, a hepatologist, wants to ensure that small physician practices are able to participate in shared savings models in any new payment system and has been advocating for the viability of small practices. Dr. Brill stressed that 40 percent of GI practices are comprised of one to three physicians and any new payment system must enable them to participate and flourish. Clearly, payment reform is needed given the 2014 Medicare policies and reimbursement rates that were released earlier this week.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, also addressed attendees about issues of importance to physicians and health care. Rep. Wyden, a strong advocate for ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), is the lead sponsor of S. 1137, the ASC Quality and Access Act, which would stabilize payments for ASCs by changing the inflationary update from the current consumer product index-urban to the hospital market basket update, which AGA believes more accurately reflects practice costs.

Aside from Dr. Cassidy and Rep. Wyden, AGA and alliance physicians also heard from Rep. Michael Burgess, MD, R-TX, vice-chair of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee and an OB-GYN; Rep. Tom Price, MD, R-GA, an orthopedic surgeon and member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee; and freshman member Rep. Raul Ruiz, MD, D-CA, an emergency physician who spoke of the importance of developing evidence-based policy solutions not tied to ideology or partisanship.

The physician members of Congress who addressed attendees stressed the importance of physician engagement and involvement in the legislative process since so much of what happens in Washington impacts the practice of medicine. Read more about what these and other presenters discussed on AGA’s twitter feed; follow the hashtag #specialtydocs.

AGA is the voice of gastroenterology on Capitol Hill and will continue to fight for the future of GI.

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