Vol.2, #4
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Association of Black Cardiologists - Policy Pulse


ABC Participates in Health Equity Summit in Washington
Submitted by Summit Health Care Consulting
On October 5, the Association of Black Cardiologists participated in the annual Amgen Health Equity Summit: Building Health Equity Solutions Through Partnership. The meeting built upon previous years’ discussions by highlighting ways to incorporate health equity into advocacy platforms, featuring discussions centered around community initiatives to reduce disparities and promoting strategies to improve minority enrollment in clinical trials.
The gathering offered an opportunity to develop solutions and opportunities for stakeholders to become more engaged at the federal level in addressing health equity policy. The event organizers will release an executive summary describing these agreed upon ideas by the end of October. The panelists discussed how to engage patient advocates in health equity policy initiatives and the importance of building trust within the community for improving clinical trial diversity. The audience heard from the grandchildren of Henrietta Lacks, who discussed their grandmother's important contribution to scientific research and told of their interaction with the National Institutes of Health that gave the family some control over her famous cell line.
The discussion focused on the need for community initiatives to promote overall health equity and clinical trials diversity. The importance of bringing health programs to the patient, rather than the other way around, through community education and screenings, church-based health information programs, and corporate responsibility efforts was emphasized. It was agreed that medical researcher diversity, as well as overall health care workforce diversity, was key in improving health equity and many believed mentorship efforts were the key to fostering young, diverse talent.


PQRS - How to Report Across 2016 Medicare Quality Programs Call
Tuesday, November 1 from 1:30 to 3 pm ET

Social Security Number Removal Initiative Open Door Forum
Tuesday, November 1 from 2 to 3 pm ET

Learn how the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI) will impact you. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) requires CMS to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. A new randomly generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new cards for transactions like billing, eligibility status, and claim status.
Open Door Forum (ODF) Participation Instructions:
Conference call only; Dial: 800-837-1935 and reference Conference ID: 98745631
Please dial-in at least 15 minutes before call start time
For TTY services, dial 800-855-2880
A podcast will be available on the ODF Podcast Transcripts webpage

2017 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Negative Payment Adjustment Notification
CMS has begun distributing letters to Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) individual eligible professionals (EPs), EPs providing services at a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) billing under method II, and group practices regarding the 2017 PQRS negative payment adjustment. The letter indicates that the recipient did not satisfactorily report 2015 PQRS quality measures or satisfactorily participate in a qualified clinical data registry (QCDR) in order to avoid the 2017 PQRS negative payment adjustment and, therefore, all of their 2017 Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) payments will be subject to a 2.0% reduction. Go here for more details regarding the 2017 and 2018 PQRS negative payment adjustment.

CMS Announces New Initiative to Increase Clinician Engagement
Click here to learn more about the initiative to reduce medical review for certain Advanced Alternative Payment Models.


2015 Supplemental Quality and Resource Use Reports are Available  
On October 17, CMS made available the 2015 Supplemental Quality and Resource Use Reports (QRURs). Supplemental QRURs are for informational purposes only and complement the per capita cost and quality information provided in the 2015 Annual QRURs. The information contained in the Supplemental QRURs is not used to calculate payment adjustments but can help physicians understand areas for performance improvement in advance of the 2017 performance year for the new Medicare Quality Payment Program. Authorized representatives of group and solo practitioners can access the 2015 Supplemental QRURs on the CMS Enterprise Portal using an Enterprise Identify Data Management (EIDM) account with the correct role. Only TINs with at least one attributed episode will receive a full 2015 Supplemental QRUR. For more information on how to access the 2015 Supplemental QRURs, please see the “Instructions for Medical Group Practices and Solo Practices to Access Their 2015 Supplemental QRURs”, available for download on this CMS webpage.

CMS Offers Web Resources to Help Clinicians Prepare for MIPS
Submitted by Summit Health Care Consulting
On Oct. 14, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the rule[1] governing the new Quality Payment Program (QPP) which replaces the flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula and rewards clinicians for quality of services rather provided rather than volume.
The QPP offers clinicians two pathways for participation: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPs) and Alternative Payment Models (APMs). It is expected that for the initial MIPS performance year of 2017, the vast majority of clinicians will select the MIPS pathway largely out of necessity due to the limited number of qualified Advanced APMs.  CMS has developed a number of web resources for clinicians as they prepare for MIPS participation.
For the initial 2017 performance year, which is tied to 2019 payment, clinicians will be scored across three performance categories[2] : 
  • Quality - 60% of the composite score
  • Advancing Care Information - 25% of the composite score
  • Improvement Activities -15% of the composite score
Clinicians exempt from MIPS include: 1) those newly enrolled in Medicare; 2) those with less than or equal to $30,000 in Medicare charges and less than or equal to 100 Part B enrolled Medicare patients; and 3) those significantly participating in an Advanced APM. MIPS eligible clinicians include: physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists, and certified registered nurse anesthetists.
      CMS Resources CMS maintains the definition of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) and uses the Stage 3 EHR meaningful use objectives and measures as the basis for the Advancing Care Information category under MIPS. Learn more here about the reporting requirements based on EHR edition.

Collection of Race and Ethnicity Data in Clinical Trials - Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff

Webinar: Medical Research Scholars Program - November 4
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP) is hosting a webinar to discuss the application process with students and faculty on Friday, November 4 from 11am-12pm (EST). For more information about the webinar please visit the MRSP homepage.  MRSP now accepting applications for the 2017-2018 MRSP class.  The application deadline is January 13, 2017. 

Developmental science research sheds new light on the origins of discrimination, social exclusion 

Neighborhoods important factor in risk of stroke for all races 
Complimentary Registration
Dr. Walter M. Booker, Sr. Memorial Symposium
Sarasota Symposium

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