American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Legislative and Regulatory Updates

ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC Activity at 2021 Virtual Leadership & Advocacy Summit

At the annual ACS Leadership & Advocacy Summit, held virtually May 15–17, the ACS Professional Association political action committee (ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC) raised more than $33,000 from more than 68 surgeons and other eligible contributors. In addition to raising funds to help elect and re-elect congressional candidates who demonstrate a commitment to advocating for ACS-supported priorities, SurgeonsPAC offered its first ever charitable match program and plans to donate 20 percent of the total funds raised to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Direct Relief, organizations working to address critical issues that benefit health professionals and patients. SurgeonsPAC also recognizes the following contributors for their commitment to political efforts at the Summit:

  • Annabel E. Barber, MD, FACS
  • Joshua A. Broghammer, MD, FACS
  • Patricia M. Byers, MD, FACS
  • Annesley W. Copeland, MD, FACS
  • Mark A. Dobbertien, DO, FACS
  • Jay J. Doucet, MD, FACS
  • James J. Hamilton, Jr., MD, FACS
  • Sara L. Hartsaw, MD, FACS
  • David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS
  • Amy E. Liepert, MD, FACS
  • Vernon W. Miller, MD, FACS
  • Valerie W. Rusch, MD, FACS
  • Marshall Z. Schwartz, MD, FACS
  • Michael J. Zinner, MD, FACS

While presentation of the PAC awards traditionally is a featured part of the Advocacy Summit program, the virtual nature of the meeting necessitates a different approach. Congratulations to the 2020 PAC award recipients, including Rhode Island with the highest percent of SurgeonsPAC participation; Texas for most dollars raised; and Beth Sutton, MD, FACS, ACS Regent, who will receive the Warshaw-PAC MVP Award (named in honor of Andrew L. Warshaw, MD, FACS, founder of the PAC) for consistently leveraging the PAC via her leadership roles within the College.

Other SurgeonsPAC-sponsored activities included an event for 2021 contributors featuring a longtime friend of the College, Phil Roe, MD. Dr. Roe, a former congressman representing Tennessee's 1st District, shared anecdotes of his time in the U.S. House of Representatives, including his work on surgical advocacy issues, and entertained attendees with several guitar solos.

For more information, visit the SurgeonsPAC website (log in: ACS username and password) or contact ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC staff at 202-672-1520 or surgeonspac@facs.org.

Note

Contributions to ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Contributions are voluntary, and all members of ACSPA have the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. Federal law prohibits ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC from accepting contributions from foreign nations. By law, if your contributions are made using a personal check or credit card, ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC may only use your contribution to support candidates in federal elections. All corporate contributions to ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC will be used for educational and administrative fees of ACSPA and other activities permissible under federal law. Federal law requires ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC to use its best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and the name of the employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year. ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC is a program of the ACSPA, which is exempt from federal income tax under section 501c (6) of the Internal Revenue Code.

2021 MIPS Exception Applications Now Available

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has opened applications for the Promoting Interoperability Performance Category Hardship Exception and Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception for the 2021 Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Performance Year. CMS is once again offering clinicians the opportunity to request reweighting of up to all four MIPS performance categories for 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. Applications must be submitted to CMS by December 31, 2021.

By submitting an Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances application and citing COVID-19 as the reason for your application, you are eligible to receive reweighting of one or more MIPS performance categories—Quality, Improvement Activities (IA), Cost, and Promoting Interoperability (PI)—to 0 percent of your overall MIPS score. It is important to note that if your application is approved, but you submit data for Quality, PI, or IA, it will override your performance category reweighting and you will be scored on the categories submitted. So, if you have an approved application and do not want to be scored in those areas for which your application was approved, do not submit data. Note that Cost will not be included in your score if you select the category for reweighting in your application (CMS calculates Cost based on claims, so there is no data submission requirement). Since these MIPS data and these hardship applications can be submitted at both the individual and group level, it is important to check with your group practice to see what actions it plans to take.

To submit an Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances application, you must have a HCQIS Access Roles and Profile (HARP) account to complete and submit an exception application. With your HARP account information, sign in to qpp.cms.gov, select "Exception Applications" on the left-hand navigation, select "Add New Exception" and select "Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception." You will be notified by e-mail if your application was approved or denied. If approved, your eligibility will be added to your profile on the QPP Participation Status Tool.

For more information, visit the visit the Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception Quality Payment Program web page.