Latest updates on ACP's priorities, initiatives

ACP Spotlight offers readers a look at ACP's current top priorities and initiatives, as well as highlights from our e-newsletter, ACP Internist Weekly.

ACP's next Internal Medicine Meeting will be a virtual experience

ACP's annual Internal Medicine Meeting in 2021 will be an all-virtual format that will stream live online April 29 to May 1. This comprehensive three-day educational program will continue the College's tradition of excellence and unify the many voices of internal medicine.

Internal Medicine Meeting 2021: Virtual Experience will present timely topics and the latest evidence-based clinical practice information—all from the world-class faculty attendees rely on from ACP. Learners can engage in live interactive sessions with opportunities for longer Q&A with faculty, along with networking, Virtual Exhibit Hall events, and more.

The virtual meeting offers more professional development opportunities to stay current and earn more CME and MOC than ever before. Participants can choose between two access levels: Standard access includes 30 days of post-meeting access to the sessions, while Premium access includes three years.

Register or learn more.

Improvements still needed in MPFS, QPP

ACP is calling for several additional improvements in the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS). CMS has extended payment for audio-only services beyond the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, but via a new code that will lower payments. While a new code for complexity of care is a major step toward better valuing patient services, ACP is concerned that it may be used less than expected. Reducing the estimated utilization would have helped to lessen the impact of the impending budget neutrality adjustment.

CMS has left reimbursement for vaccines at 2019 levels. ACP has warned that this will not cover expected increases in costs associated with vaccine purchase, storage, administration, and record-keeping, especially for COVID-19 vaccines.

Regarding the Quality Payment Program (QPP) rule, in a positive move for physician practices under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), CMS will extend the extreme and uncontrollable circumstances hardship exception policy to 2021 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the final rule reverses a proposal to lower the MIPS performance threshold; reverses a proposal to use 2021 data to score quality measures; and increases the weight of the cost category without addressing longstanding concerns.

For the Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APM) pathway, the rule does not include broad COVID-19 related protections. CMS also finalized the new APM Performance Pathway for APM participants participating in MIPS, along with a number of quality reporting changes for Medicare Shared Savings Program participants that ACP worries could cause wide-scale disruptions in reporting.

ACP's full statement on these changes is online. For more on new E/M codes for 2021, see Practice Rx in this issue.

New interactive cases on high-value care available

ACP's high-value care modules feature a series of interactive cases designed to teach clinicians how to provide higher-value care. The modules include a mix of ambulatory and inpatient cases and encourage physicians to practice using selected tools/resources to improve high-value care delivery.

The cases are eligible for online CME and MOC medical knowledge points and patient safety credits, with CME/MOC free to ACP members. New modules on disparities, out-of-pocket costs, and more are available online.