DDW News

Public policy panel will address health care uncertainties

An SSAT Panel Session on Monday will feature expert perspectives on several areas of uncertainty in the medical profession. The session, Health Policy in the United States: The View from Different Angles, is sponsored by the SSAT Public Policy & Advocacy Committee and the Health Care & Quality Outcomes Committee.

SSAT Public Policy & Advocacy Committee Chair Ross Goldberg, MD, FACS, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix, will discuss the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Quality Payment Program (QPP).

Ross Goldberg, MD

“QPP isn’t going away,” he said. “There have been some changes, and there may be more. The question is: What do our members need to know now and going forward?”

Dr. Goldberg will examine the Merit-based Incentive Payment System and the Advanced Alternative Payment Models.
“I’ll review the changes that came about when the final rules were announced, which shifted things around,” Dr. Goldberg said. “Like it or not, we must adapt to the shifting CMS payment policies. It’s important to pay attention to this alphabet soup of terminology.”

Building on Dr. Goldberg’s presentation, Melinda Hancock, CFO of the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, will examine how new payment systems are affecting academic medical centers.

“Ms. Hancock has a lot of experience with these new payment models,” Dr. Goldberg said. “A lot of our members are in the academic world, and she will be able to offer advice for how centers can deal with shifting payment policies.”
Pierre Saldinger, MD, FACS, chair of the department of surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Queens, will provide and update on quality metrics.

“Dr. Saldinger has become a big champion of quality metrics,” Dr. Goldberg said. “He can speak with extensive knowledge about the evolving aspects of quality metrics. All the payment systems are moving from quantity to quality, which can be a good thing. But what does quality mean? Everyone has different definitions.”

Ideally, Dr. Goldberg said, more surgeons will get involved and lead the efforts to define surgical quality.
Finally, Stuart Marcus, MD, FACS, chief clinical officer of Amita Health, Arlington Heights, IL, will provide an update on accountable care organizations (ACOs).

“In his role at Amita Health, Dr. Marcus is right in the middle of the discussion about the future of ACOs,” Dr. Goldberg said. “If ACOs go away or evolve into another form, he can tell you how that will likely happen. The pilot ACOs have now accrued enough data to actually see how they’re doing, and Dr. Marcus will have access to that data to inform his predictions.”

Dr. Goldberg said he hopes the session will clear up a lot of the certainty surrounding reimbursement issues and public policy.

“There’s a lot of angst among clinicians about what will happen,” he said. “We want to educate our members and offer answers and guidance from experts who really understand the issues. We hope that by providing information, members will feel more empowered and will use the information to their advantage.”

Please refer to the DDW Mobile App or the Program section in Monday’s DDW Daily News for the time and location of this and other DDW® events.

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