News and noteworthy information for April 2016:


ISASS16 Advocacy Survey Extended

Several of the sessions at ISASS16 were “interactive”, where session moderators asked attendees to complete short surveys about their own practice. Your answers to these short surveys are important to help shape ISASS advocacy activities in the months ahead. Thank you to those attendees who completed the short surveys on site; we are pleased to extend the survey period for those who were not able to complete the surveys at the meeting. To access these short surveys, visit and enter your badge number from the meeting. Once logged in, the surveys are found by clicking the “Take Survey” button, and then by clicking on each survey link (four surveys in total). All four surveys combined should take no more than 5-8 minutes to complete. If you no longer have your badge number handy, please email Jeff Norris ( for your badge number.


Open Payments Physician Review and Dispute Period: April 1 – May 15

Review and dispute for the June 30, 2016 Open Payments data publication began on April 1, 2016 and will end on May 15, 2016. Direct or indirect payments or other transfers of value made to physicians, teaching hospitals, physician owners and investors are reported to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) by manufacturers and group purchasing organizations on an annual basis. Payments for calendar year 2015 were reported to CMS during February and March 2016. Physicians have the opportunity to review and dispute the data from April 1 to May 15 prior to publication of the data on CMS’ website on June 30, 2016. After reviewing the data, physicians can affirm records or initiate disputes. Note that CMS does not mediate disputes; physicians must contact the reporting entity to work through the dispute. Review and dispute is voluntary, but strongly encouraged.

To Review Your Data (approx. 30 minute process):

  1. Register in Enterprise Identity Management (EIDM) via CMS Enterprise Portal –
  1. Request access to the Open Payments system

Physicians who registered during program year 2013 or 2014 do not need to register again. A physician may nominate one authorized representative to perform system functions on their behalf.

More Information:


FDA Panel Issues Recommendations for Medical Device Evaluation System

On April 4, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel released the second in a series of reports on the development of a Coordinating Center that will be charged with housing a national medical device evaluation system (NMDES) to generate better evidence more efficiently for medical device evaluation and regulatory decision-making. The recommendations were developed by a national medical device evaluation system Planning Board convened in 2014 by the FDA. The Planning Board is composed of representatives from federal agencies, patients, clinicians, provider organizations, health plans, industry and experts in health information systems. The Coordinating Center would act as a long-term and broad-based strategic coordinator of efforts to bring together, organize, evaluate, and secure medical device data through the NMDES.


NIH Clinical Center: 3-D Imaging in Children and Adults with Scoliosis

On April 5, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center announced testing of a new imaging technique called stereophotogrammetry (SP) in children and adults with scoliosis. SP uses four sets of digital cameras to generate a 3-D computer image. Unlike other types of evaluations which require radiation, SP only uses digital photographs to learn more about physical deformities such as scoliosis. NIH is currently recruiting individuals older than two years of age that have been diagnosed with scoliosis or any spine or chest wall deformity to participate in the study.


Senate HELP Committee Approves Last Bills of Medical Innovation Package

On April 6, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP Committee) approved the last five of 19 bills in a bipartisan legislative package expected to serve as a companion to the House-passed 21st Century Cures Act. The bills include:

Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he is working to bring the legislative package to the Senate floor for full consideration along with a bipartisan agreement on NIH Funding.


CMS Releases Proposed 2017 Hospital Inpatient and Long-Term Care Hospital Payment Rule

On April 18, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule to update 2017 Medicare payment policies and rates under the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and the Long-Term Care Hospital (LTCH) Prospective Payment System (PPS). The proposed rule, which would apply to approximately 3,330 acute care hospitals and approximately 430 LTCHs, would affect discharges occurring on or after October 1, 2016. The proposed rule includes:

Specific to spine procedures in hospital inpatient settings, CMS is proposing:

CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule until June 17 and will issue the final rule by August 1, 2016.


CMS Releases Proposed Rule Implementing Key Provisions of MACRA

On April 27, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule implementing key provisions of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). MACRA repealed the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) methodology for updating the physician fee schedule and replaced it with a new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). The proposed rule establishes the MIPS, a new program that consolidates components of the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the Physician Value-based Payment Modifier (VM) and the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program. The proposed rule also establishes incentives for participation in alternative payment models. CMS is accepting comments on the proposed rule through June 26, 2016.

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