The New Gastroenterologist

AGA News – August 2022


Huge win for patients: CRC screening coverage continuum is complete

In a huge win for patients, Medicare will begin covering colonoscopies after a positive noninvasive stool test starting next year. Medicare was previously the only insurer who did not cover this critical prevention procedure.

This change comes after a year of advocacy led by AGA – including multiple meetings with senior officials at Health & Human Services and legislative pressure by members across the country.

“Cost-sharing is a well-recognized barrier to screening and has resulted in disparities. Patients can now engage in CRC screening programs and be confident that they will not face unexpected cost-sharing for colonoscopy after a positive noninvasive screening test,” says David Lieberman, MD, AGAF, who met with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials multiple times to push this policy forward. “AGA knows that increased participation in screening will further reduce the burden of colorectal cancer.”

“This is a win for all patients and should elevate our nation’s screening rates while lowering the overall cancer burden, saving lives. Importantly, the CMS proposed rule changes will lessen colorectal cancer disparities eliminating a financial burden for many patients,” says AGA president John Carethers, MD, AGAF, who met with CMS earlier this month to advocate for this change.

Thank you to everyone in the GI community who advocated for this important change!

CMS announced the coverage change as part of the 2023 Medicare proposed rule, which was released July 7, 2022. The rule must be finalized this Fall before taking effect Jan. 2, 2023.

What you need to know about proposed changes to Medicare payment policies

On July 7, CMS released the calendar year (CY) 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Proposed Rule. The rule will be posted in the Federal Register no later than July 11.

Good news!
In a win for patients and thanks to collective advocacy efforts from AGA and partner societies, CMS is proposing to expand the regulatory definition of “colorectal cancer screening tests” and waive cost sharing for a necessary follow-up colonoscopy after a positive stool-based screening test.

Looming cuts
The rule proposes 4% cuts to Medicare physician reimbursement through required decreases in the conversion factor and expiration of temporary fixes passed by Congress. AGA will continue to work with a coalition of national and state medical societies in urging Congress to prevent these cuts before Jan. 1, 2023.

What to know
CMS expands CRC screening in a proposal to waive cost-sharing for a follow-up colonoscopy to a positive stool-based colorectal cancer screening test and to cover the service for individuals 45 years of age and above.

Medicare payment cuts are looming with cuts to the proposed CY 2023 conversion factor.

Split/shared visits policy delayed until CY 2024.

Payment rates for new bariatric device codes proposed.

Don’t let insurance policies burden GI practices

Join us at AGA Advocacy Day on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, to virtually meet with your members of Congress to urge them to rein in insurance policies like prior authorization and step therapy.

If GI providers don’t have a seat at the table and engage with lawmakers, these decisions will be influenced by payers and other parties that do not have you or your patients’ best interests at heart.

AGA Advocacy Day is held shortly before the end of the fiscal year – prime time to educate policymakers and their staff about your everyday challenges and the reality of GI patient care in your state. We will also discuss the need for robust federal funding for GI research and the devastating impact that Medicare cuts could have on your practice.

Register today and AGA will take care of the rest, including scheduling your meetings and providing comprehensive advocacy training. Now more than ever, your voice needs to be heard on Capitol Hill.

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