| | More

May 7, 2010


ATS Gives Away 10 Free PQRI Wizard Subscriptions to ATS Members

The ATS and CECity - a provider of CME education, Quality Improvement and Outcomes platforms products - are giving away 10 free subscriptions to PQRI Wizard, a CECity software program that assists practices receiving the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) bonus by simplifying the measures reporting process.

Since 2007, CMS has conducted a voluntary quality measure reporting program where physician can receive additional Medicare bonus payments for reporting on a range of quality measures. Clinicians who meet the reporting requirements will earn a PQRI incentive payment equal to 2 percent of their total estimated Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) allowed charges for covered professional services furnished during that same reporting period. In addition to individual quality measures, CMS has also developed quality measure sets that reduce the number of patients that clinicians must report on. Clinicians can now report on the Community Acquired Pneumonia measure, which requires CAP quality measures be reported for 30 encounters (the encounters do not have to be Medicare beneficiaries).

To be eligible for the drawing to win one of the ten free PQRI Wizard subscritions

1) You must be an active US ATS member;
2) You must be a provider eligible to participate in the CMS PQRI program; and
3) You must be active in clinical practice.

In exchange for receiving a one-year free subscription to PQRI Wizard, participants will be asked to

1) Participate in two conference call to share their experience with the program (one conference call 6 months after implementation of the software, a second call at the conclusion of the reporting year);
2) Provide ATS with information the number of patients you reported PQRI measures on and whether you were successful in getting a PQRI bonus payment;
3) Be willing to be share impressions of the CMS PQRI program and the PQRI Wizard product for a future newsletters to the ATS membership.

To enter the drawing to win, send an e-mail with the subject line "PQRI Wizard Drawing" to CodingQuestions@thoracic.org.

Please include your name, phone number, email address and ATS membership number in the body of the e-mail. Only one entry per ATS member will be accepted. The deadline for submitting your entry is Wednesday, May 26th and winners of the drawing will be contacted by June 1, 2010.

What If I Don't Win?
For those who aren't lucky enough to win the drawing, ATS members can still use their ATS membership number to purchase a discounted subscription to PQRI Wizard for $249 - a savings of $50 off the regular purchase price. To receive the ATS discount please have your ATS membership number ready and visit the ATS website at: http://www.thoracic.org/


CBO Increases the Estimated Cost of the SGR Fix

This week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued revised estimates for a permanent fix of the sustainable growth rate factor (SGR), estimating it will cost $275.8 billion over 10 years - an increase of $68 billion over earlier estimates. The increased cost estimate will complicate Congressional efforts to pass a permanent fix to the SGR problem.

Congress has twice passed legislation forestalling the 21 percent cuts scheduled to go into effect in 2010, but the current temporary patch expires June 1. The latest Congressional continues the Congressional pattern of passing temporary legislation to avert the looming cuts, while leaving the problem unsolved. The ATS and its colleagues in the physician community will continue to pressure Congress to pass a legislation that permanently fixes the SGR formula.

Free Coding and Billing Consultation in New Orleans

Do you have questions about U.S. billing and coding? Need guidance on how to code and document an unusual encounter? Want expert advice on how to use new pulmonary procedure codes? ATS Coding and Billing Consultant Diane Krier-Morrow can help answer these and other coding, billing and documentation questions you have. Mrs. Krier-Morrow will be available for free personal consultations appointments at the ATS International Conference in New Orleans on Sunday, May 16 and Monday, May 17 until Noon. To request an appointment, please send an email to codingquestions@thoracic.org.



ATS Joins Letter in Support of Increased NIH Funding

This week, the ATS joined an ad-hoc Group for Medical Research letter to the United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies in support of increased funding for the NIH. The letter requests $35 billion for the NIH in FY 2011. The letter states, "By supporting $35 billion for biomedical research and the NIH, you can help ensure the nation does not lose the health and economic benefits of this extraordinary investment (the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act) and take the next crucial step by beginning a course of sustained NIH funding in the FY 2011 budget and beyond."



ATS Supports Equitable Medicaid Payment for Pediatric Providers

Also this week, the ATS joined a letter coordinated by pediatric specialty organizations to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, urging her to protect child access to specialty care by ensuring that all pediatric subspecialties are included in a new measure passed under healthcare reform that will adjust Medicaid payment rates for pediatric providers over time. The letter points out that children on Medicaid have higher rates of chronic illnesses that require specialty care than do non-Medicaid patients, and that pediatricians, pediatric subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists work within the Medicaid program more than any other organized physician group. Despite this, the letters signors state, "the difficulties in obtaining reimbursement and the low rates of return on billing are significant disincentives to correcting this problem (pediatric workforce shortages) and negatively impact access for children in Medicaid." The ATS will keep members informed as regulations are developed on this issue.

Points of Contact

Gary Ewart Senior Director, Government Relations
Nuala Moore Senior Legislative Representative
Joe Kirby DC Office Administrator