IMS Continues Federal Advocacy

Date of Publication June 21, 2018

IMS representatives were back in Washington, DC, this week to continue to push for geographic Medicare payment equity. As you may recall, over the past year. IMS has been working closely with the Wisconsin Medical Society and members of our respective congressional delegations to push for an Iowa and Wisconsin-specific fix to the geographic practice cost index (GPCI). While these efforts resulted in the introduction of bipartisan legislation sponsored by nearly every member of the two state delegations, the standalone legislation has failed to advance. Efforts thus far to incorporate the legislative language in the a larger legislative vehicle have proved unsuccessful, but did result in the restoration of the temporary 1.0 Physician Work (PW) GPCI floor for an additional two years. This week, IMS met with lawmakers and their staff to discuss strategies toward permanently addressing the issue. Watch upcoming IMS publications for additional information on these efforts.

This week’s meeting also focused on the next steps in the ongoing fight to combat opioid abuse. The two-year federal budget deal appropriated a significant amount of federal funding to support a number of initiatives in this fight, including nearly $1 billion in funding for new state grants to support additional treatment programs. This sudden influx of funding left federal agencies scrambling to determine how best to quickly put the funding to work. In this week’s meetings, IMS stressed the importance of Iowa’s elected officials pushing the federal agencies to ensure a cohesive strategy in these efforts.

 Senator Grassley has been especially involved in crafting the opioid abuse policy measures, through his role as chairman of one of the three standing committees charged with putting together the next package of opioid measures. Among the pieces under consideration, is a requirement that all Medicare Part D prescriptions be issued electronically so as to prevent prescription tampering. The Opioid Omnibus Bill enacted in Iowa this session includes a similar e-prescribing mandate. In discussing the Part D proposal, IMS reminded our congressional members of the additional administrative and financial burden these e-prescribing mandates will have on Iowa practices, especially the small, independent practices. We encouraged our representatives to consider also identifying programs to help support those practices that might struggle to comply with the new law, as they are finalizing their new opioid package, which is expected to be on the President’s desk by early fall.

IMS also mixed a little politics into this visit to Washington, meeting with representatives of the American Medical Political Action Committee (AMPAC) to discuss Iowa’s congressional races and plan for the general election this fall. The Iowa Medical Political Action Committee (IMPAC) works in tandem with AMPAC to vet Iowa’s federal candidates and provide support. IMPAC is scheduled to meet several times this fall to conduct congressional candidate interviews.

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