SGO Issues April 16, 2015
SGO hails SGR repeal
2015 Annual Meeting abstract presentations available online
SGO Registry demo open until May 31
Prevention emphasis added to SGO website
Understanding Ovarian Cancer video/booklet available in SGO store
TESARO joins SGO Industry Corporate Council
On April 14, the Senate approved a permanent repeal of the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), which had called for 21 percent cuts in Medicare reimbursement this year. Congress had previously stopped these double digit cuts 17 times. Passed by the House on March 26, the bill will now go to President Obama, who has stated that he will sign it into law.
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, H.R. 2, will allow the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to process Medicare claims at the current conversion factor. A new conversion factor will be effective July 1, with positive payment updates of 0.5 percent provided for the next four and a half years, through 2019.
Beginning in 2019, H.R. 2 provides for bonuses ranging from 4 to 9 percent for physicians who score well in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), a new pay-for-performance program under the current Medicare fee-for-service payment system. For those physicians who chose to participate in alternative payment models, there will be a 5 percent bonus and an exemption from MIPS.
Of interest to gynecologic oncologists and other surgical specialties, H.R. 2 contained language to halt CMS’ efforts to eliminate bundled payments for 10-day and 90-day global surgical services; instead, it will collect data on these services beginning in 2017 to determine the accuracy of payment rates. These data will be collected from a representative sample of physicians, rather than from all who bill global surgical services.
“For 17 years the medical community devoted enormous time and effort to avert the double digit payment cuts threated by the SGR,” said SGO President Robert L. Coleman, MD. “It’s been a long time coming, and we are thrilled with this outcome. SGO will work hard to educate our members on the new system and continue our plans to develop alternative payment models that appropriately compensate our members for their time, expertise, and the positive patient outcomes for which we are well known.”
SGO, the American Medical Association (AMA) and over 750 national and state-based physician and specialty organizations went on the record in support of H.R. 2. In addition to encouraging members to participate in letter writing campaigns, SGO Government Relations Committee members made frequent calls and visits to Capitol Hill offices, and wrote several comment letters to the Congressional committees regarding the drafting of the underlying policy, using the SGO Practice Summit Report as a guide.
The AMA has released a summary of H.R. 2, with answers to frequently asked questions. According to the AMA, some of the most important features of H.R. 2 include:
- Physicians in alternative payment models (APMs) receive a 5 percent bonus from 2019 to 2024.
- In 2026 and beyond, physicians in APMs qualify for a 0.75 percent update; all others will receive a 0.25 percent annual update.
- The fee-for-service payment model is retained, and physician participation in APMs is entirely voluntary.
- Technical support is provided for smaller practices, funded at $20 million per year from 2016 to 2020, to help them participate in APMs or the new fee-for-service incentive program.
- Funding is provided for quality measure development, at $15 million per year from 2015 to 2019. Physicians retain their preeminent role in developing quality standards.
- Current quality incentive and payment programs are consolidated and streamlined, and the aggregate level of financial risk to practices from penalties has been lessened in comparison to current law.
SGO 2015 Annual Meeting abstract PowerPoint presentations are available online until May 5. Gynecologic Oncology has published the Abstracts Presented for the 46th SGO Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer as an online supplement to the April 2015 issue (Volume 137, Supplement 1, p1-210).
The SGO Clinical Outcomes Registry (SGO COR) demonstration site will remain open through May 31, 2015. Members can sign up to join SGO COR and submit data, amend a current record and run reports using the only registry geared towards gynecologic oncology.
To access the demo site, visit the SGO COR log in page and enter the following user ID and password:
User ID: SGO2015AMDemo
Participants may add a record by using the “Add New” function, or amend a current record by choosing “All patients” in the “Search by” dropdown menu and then clicking “Select.”
For more information on participating in the SGO COR, review the Participation Guide located at www.sgo.org/COR.
Communications Committee Chair Stephanie V. Blank, MD, said the new content reflects SGO’s increased emphasis on prevention of gynecologic cancers.
“Since 2013 when our prevention awareness campaign was launched under the leadership of Dr. Barbara Goff during her SGO presidency, the Communications Committee has made a concerted effort to help women understand how they might reduce their chances of developing a gynecologic cancer,” said Dr. Blank. “That includes genetic testing for women with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer, HPV testing as well as HPV vaccination for children, and maintaining a healthy body weight, which is especially important to lower the risk of a cancer recurrence.”
The Genetics section includes a brief explanation of genes and genetic testing, as well as the role of genetic testing in gynecologic oncology. There is also a description of specific syndromes in gynecologic oncology, such as hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) and Lynch syndrome.
SGO’s new HPV content mentions the strains of the human papillomavirus that are responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. The page also includes a discussion of HPV screening methods as well as the importance of cervical cancer prevention using the HPV vaccine. Additional resources on the HPV page include links to SGO statements and information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The SGO Obesity Toolkit, with content for physicians as well as patients, is available for download, in addition to a link to resources on obesity for patients and providers from the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
“By redesigning part of the sgo.org home page to make this new content readily accessible, we hope that we can increase overall awareness among our website visitors, as well as provide our members with the tools they need to educate their patients about preventive measures,” said Dr. Blank.
First introduced at the SGO Annual Meeting in Chicago last month, SGO’s Understanding Ovarian Cancer DVD and companion booklet are now available through the SGO Store in packs of 10 for distribution to patients in physicians’ offices.
This 15-minute patient-education video features the stories of two patients, with interviews from three SGO members: Stephanie V. Blank, MD, at New York University Langone Medical Center, New York; Carol L. Brown, MD, from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York; and Jill S. Whyte, MD, from Hofstra North Shore LIJ School of Medicine in Hempstead, NY.
In the video, Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Shannon Miller shares her own experience with ovarian cancer. The program also offers patients an introduction to the staging of the disease, how it can be treated, and how they can make changes to improve their health and well-being. The 32-page companion booklet includes risk factors, symptoms and the diagnosis of ovarian cancer; treatment options; clinical trials; genetic testing; and resources for patients. The video is available on YouTube, the SGO website, and a PDF of the brochure can be downloaded here.
SGO is pleased to welcome TESARO to the Industry Corporate Council (ICC). TESARO is an oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the lives of patients with cancer. It aims to develop and commercialize safer and more effective supportive care agents and therapeutics. The ICC is comprised of select leaders in the pharmaceutical and device industry, and is a means for SGO leaders and its industry partners to focus on initiatives of mutual concerns in gynecologic oncology.