Dear ACC Members,
As you know, we are on the brink of a historic Senate vote that would permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) that has created well over a decade of instability for our patients and our practices. The bill to be considered, H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, is a well-vetted piece of legislation that was developed in a bipartisan, bicameral manner and enjoys the support of ACC and virtually all of organized medicine. This consensus legislation passed the House two weeks ago with an overwhelming level of support- 392 members from across the political spectrum. We now must push the Senate to act.
We have issued multiple calls to action for you to contact your legislators. With over 6,000 messages to the Hill from members of the ACC alone, the response has been unprecedented and impressive. In recent days, we have seen speculation and misinformation that is a potentially damaging distraction from this critical effort.
The facts are clear. H.R. 2, supported by the ACC, does not require participation in maintenance of certification (MOC), nor does it establish ABMS, ABIM, or any specific entity to administer MOC. No one would be forced to participate in MOC.
Rather, H.R. 2 would establish a framework to streamline the current array of quality reporting and incentive/penalty programs. One element of the program would address clinical practice improvement activities. The legislative language cites examples of the types of activities that CMS must offer as options, including but not limited to activities such as patient centered medical homes, expanded office access, population health management, and practice improvement activities undertaken as part of physician certification or recertification. Any physician choosing to pursue MOC would be allowed to count MOC activity toward the clinical practice improvement portion of the new quality incentive program.
This bill represents an opportunity to stabilize Medicare payment policy, begin the essential transition from volume to value, and streamline quality reporting programs. H.R. 2 is a significant improvement over current law and we cannot allow this opportunity to slip away.
I urge you to join me in continuing to press the Senate to pass H.R. 2 as quickly as possible upon their return from spring recess. The ACC has heard directly from congressional staff that senators are seeking opinions this week from constituents on H.R. 2 to determine how to vote on this legislation. Senate staff in Washington are tallying the number of calls and letters to determine if support from the states is significant enough for them to vote in favor of HR 2. There are just a few days left to convince the Senate to finish the job.
I encourage you to contact your senators now and tell them to take up and pass H.R. 2 – even if you already have done so. Take 30 seconds to send a pre-populated letter or call their offices at 800-833-6354.
For talking points to use in your conversations, click here.
We must not be distracted. We must continue to deliver a strong and unified message to convince the Senate to act.
Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC
President, The American College of Cardiology