Heart of Health Policy | ACC Advocacy: What to Expect in 2023

Heart of Health Policy

The focus of ACC Advocacy is to advance health policy solutions aimed at increasing the quality and value of patient care and promoting equitable access to care for all heart patients. ACC Advocacy staff offer their insights on what to expect over the next year across Congressional Affairs, Regulatory Affairs, and Payer and Care Delivery Policy.

Congressional Affairs

The Congressional landscape, and ultimately Congressional priorities, are expected to be different in 2023 as Republicans now hold a slim majority in the U.S. House while Democrats maintain a majority in the U.S. Senate. However, a core component of ACC's legislative success has been working with members across both sides of the aisle to tackle the most pressing issues facing the cardiovascular community and broader medical community. Among the legislative issues expected to gain traction:

  • Prior Authorization: While prior authorization legislation unanimously passed the House in 2022, it faced hurdles in the Senate due to a Congressional Budget Office score of $16 billion over 10 years. However, there is momentum for the new Congress to pass legislation as this remains a patient access issue for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries and source of burnout for clinicians.
  • Medicare Payment Reform: There is Congressional appetite for long-term Medicare payment reform and the ACC expects there will be additional opportunities to weigh in on longer-term Medicare reform with the new Congress. The College will continue lobbying Congress to obtain meaningful and durable remedies for Medicare.
  • Telemedicine: Telehealth remains a bipartisan issue of importance. While the year-end spending package passed in December 2022 granted a two-year extension of telehealth flexibilities as part of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, the ACC and the broader House of Medicine will continue to advocate for permanent flexibilities.

Regulatory Affairs

Budget and statutory constraints will continue to create a challenging environment for physician payment in the Medicare landscape. The ACC will continue to provide the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with the necessary information to make sound policy decisions within existing program parameters. This will include valuation of specific cardiovascular services as well as broader payment policy initiatives such as telehealth and supervision flexibilities.

Efforts to reduce administrative burdens will also continue, with the ACC continuing to evaluate proposals to streamline prior authorization and to standardize and update electronic standards for health care transactions. Additionally, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and CMS continue to look for ways to facilitate efficient approval and coverage of emerging technologies, ACC will continue to engage in discussions, specifically around rapid coverage.

Payer and Care Delivery Policy

The ACC Advocacy Team will continue to evolve the College's role in the value-based care space throughout the new year. Specifically, the ACC will continue to engage with payers and prior authorization vendors to ensure patients have access to high-quality cardiovascular care and look for opportunities to reduce the burden and requirements for authorization of cardiovascular tests, medications and procedures. Continuing to educate clinicians on the basics of value-based care and alternative payment models will also be important, with the ACC looking to develop new value-based care and alternative payment reform educational materials and tools. Additionally, the College will continue to work with its members, payers and other stakeholders to help optimize the role of cardiovascular professionals within accountable care systems.

Get Involved

An informed and engaged cardiology membership is vital to all aspects of ACC's Advocacy work. Looking to get more involved in Advocacy as we kick off 2023? Stay up to date on the latest news with ACC Advocacy's weekly newsletter, the Advocate. Learn more and become a part of ACC's HeartPAC (HeartPAC.org). Save the date for ACC's 2023 Legislative Conference, taking place Oct. 15-17 in Washington, DC.

Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine, ACC Advocacy, Medicare, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S., Health Policy, Legislative Conference

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