AAOMS Advocacy E-news
Feb. 21, 2017

For further information contact:
Adam Walaszek
Governmental Affairs Department


Federal Affairs

Housing Block Deadline Approaching

Don’t miss the opportunity to educate members of Congress about OMS and the issues facing your patients and your practice! Please join us in Washington on March 21-22 for the 17th Annual AAOMS Day on the Hill. Registration is open but make your hotel reservations soon as the housing block closes tomorrow.

Day on the Hill Logo Members will discuss the following issues during the Day on the Hill legislative visits:

  • Support for antitrust reform.
  • Expanding the use of FSAs and HSAs.
  • Reforming student loan repayment.

No previous advocacy experience is necessary. Visit AAOMS.org/dayonthehill for more information or contact Adam Walaszek at 800-822-6637, ext. 4392, or awalaszek@aaoms.org.

Price Confirmed as HHS Secretary

Tom Price

On Feb. 10, the Senate confirmed U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), an orthopaedic surgeon, as HHS Secretary by a 52-47 vote. Price’s nomination went to the Senate floor after the Senate Budget Committee waived the rules for its confirmation process in order to bypass the need for approval from Democrat Committee members. President Trump has stated that the direction of healthcare reform would be significantly influenced by Price, once confirmed as HHS Secretary. AAOMS endorsed Secretary Price and looks forward to working with him to ensure the voice of healthcare providers is heard during consideration of HHS initiatives. CMS Administrator nominee Seema Verma sailed through her Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing on Feb. 16. The Senate is expected to confirm her nomination after they return to Washington from their weeklong President’s Day recess.

New Momentum in ACA Repeal Efforts

Now that HHS Secretary Price, who led Republican ACA repeal efforts while in Congress, has been confirmed, Republicans hope he can focus on advancing a health reform plan. In his first ACA-related act as Secretary, Price released a proposed rule intended to calm concerns from health insurers about the sustainability of the market should some ACA mandates be repealed. The proposed rule tightens the length of the 2018 open enrollment period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 (instead of Jan. 31) to:

  • Reduce opportunities “for adverse selection” by those who learn they will need services in late December and January.
  • Encourage healthier individuals who might have previously enrolled in partial-year coverage to enroll in full-year coverage.

The House Ways and Means, Budget and Energy & Commerce Committees have tentatively set their first round of markups for repeal legislation to begin the week of Feb. 28.

AAOMS-Supported Legislation Reintroduced in the 115th Congress

Legislation addressing a number of AAOMS-related issues has been reintroduced in the 115th Congress and AAOMS has submitted letters of support to these bill sponsors. They include repealing the Medical Device Tax, expanding the use of HSAs and antitrust reform. Additionally, AAOMS submitted testimony for a Feb. 16 House Judiciary Committee hearing in support of HR 372, legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. and dentist Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) to remove the exemption for health insurers from the McCarran-Ferguson Act.

State Affairs

‘Surprise Billing’ Legislation Trends in 2017

While still early in the legislative cycle, one trend so far this year seeks to address “surprise bills” received by patients. With the narrowing of provider networks, there has been increased occurrence of patients receiving emergency or unforeseen treatment by a non-participating provider at a participating hospital or facility. In most cases, patients are unaware of and have no control over the providers giving care, leaving patients vulnerable to pay for out-of-network care. Georgia and Washington are just two of the states that are seeking to address this issue. Several recent proposals include prohibiting balance billing, requiring providers and insurers to accept assignment of benefits and mandatory arbitration when disputes arise. AAOMS will continue to monitor as these bills progress.

Health Information Technology

CY 2016 EHR ‘Meaningful Use’ Attestation Deadline Extended to March 13

CMS is extending the deadline for providers to attest to the “meaningful use” program. Medicare providers must attest to their successful adherence to the requirements of the “meaningful use” program during the 2016 program year by 11:59 p.m. PT on March 13. Providers must attest to satisfying the requirements of the “meaningful use” program for any 90-day continuous reporting period within the 2016 calendar year. Providers who failed to adhere to “meaningful use” in 2016, or fail to attest their participation by the deadline, will face a 3 percent reduction in their professional fees in 2018. For more information, visit the CMS website or contact CMS directly at 888-734-6433, option 1.

Practice Management

2016 PQRS Deadline Extended

The PQRSWizard has extended its deadline for reporting 2016 PQRS measures to 5 p.m. EST on March 10. Now is a pivotal time to begin PQRSWizard registration to avoid penalties of up to 6 percent for non-participation in PQRS. The PQRSWizard site has a number of educational resources and live webcasts available to assist OMSs with registering and participating in a PQRS Registry.

PQRS Wizard

A webcast focusing on PQRSWizard with live Q&As will be presented at 12:30 p.m. ET Feb. 24. Register for the “Submitting your PQRSwizard Report: A review of the most frequently asked questions of 2016” webcast at https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1134426. Access a library of demonstrations through the AAOMS support page. For more information on PQRS, visit the AAOMS Coding and Reimbursement web page or the CMS PQRS website.

CDC Releases App for Infection Prevention in Dental Settings

PQRS Wizard

The CDC in January released a new “CDC Dental Check” mobile app to assist dental facilities with monitoring compliance with recommended infection prevention practices. Practices can use it to evaluate dental health care personnel (DHCP) compliance with administrative policies and clinical practice infection prevention and control recommendations. This app is based on recommendations from the CDC’s “Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings – 2003” as well as other recommendations relevant to dentistry published by CDC since then. App users can navigate to key references and resources for each area of focus including sterilization, safe injection practices and hand hygiene. For more information or to download, visit the CDC’s Oral Health website.

CMS Updates Open Payment Data

CMS updated its Open Payments Dataset in January to reflect changes that have been made to the data since they was last published on June 30. CMS updates the Open Payments data records each year to account for disputes and data submission corrections made to records since the data were initially published. Open Payments, required by the ACA, collects information about the payments drug PQRS Wizard and device companies make to physicians, including OMSs, and teaching hospitals for travel, research, gifts, speaking fees and meals. It also includes ownership interests that physicians or their immediate family members have in these companies. CMS encourages providers to review and update, if necessary, the data reported on their behalf by drug and device manufacturers. Providers have 45 days to update incorrect information while manufacturers have 15 additional days after the 45-day review period to fix any disputed records. CMS will publish the 2016 payment data and any updates on June 30.

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