ACG, AGA, ASGE: 5 Recent Updates on GI Societies

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Here are five recent updates on the American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association and American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Clinical tools.
In November, the American Gastroenterological Association published the Clinical Decision Tool for the Screening and Evaluation of Hepatitis C in the journal Gastroenterlogy. Each decision point included in the clinical decision tool was evaluated and graded for strength of evidence and strength of recommendation. The tool was released with the future of accountable care delivery in mind. The tool is designed to aid gastroenterologists in providing HCV-positive patients with cost effective, evidence-based initial evaluation.

In December, the AGA launched new guidelines for inducing and maintaining remission in Crohn's disease. The guidelines are designed to assist physicians in deciding among immunomodular monotherapy, anti-TNF- α monotherapy and combination therapy. The guidelines were published in the journal Gastroenterology. The AGA also offers a new clinical decision support tool for Crohn's disease. The new guidelines were presented by chair of the AGA Institute Clinical Practice and Quality Management Committee David Weinberg, MD, MSc, AGAF.

In addition to its new clinical decision support tools, the AGA announced four studies published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology that address a research gap in diverticulosis.

ACG Annual Meeting.
The ACG held its 2013 Annual Meeting in November. David A. Johnson, MD, shared eight top areas of interest in a Medscape report. The eight highlights include:

1.    Fecal occult blood testing
2.    Prevalence of hepatitis E
3.    IBS marker
4.    FMT for C. difficile infections
5.    FUSE colonoscope
6.    Surveillance colonoscopy
7.    POEM and achalasia
8.    EndoStim and reflux

Industry advocacy.
The AGA, American College of Gastroenterology and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy announced a joint partnership to protest the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 2014 Medicare reimbursement cuts to upper GI/endoscopy services. The three societies created a payment analysis of common GI codes under the Medicare physician fee schedule to demonstrate the effect payment cuts will have. The AGA, ACG and ASGE intend to reach out to policymakers to address the concern over payment cuts and work with them to mitigate the cuts.

The ASGE has also demonstrated support of repealing the sustainable growth rate formula. The society penned a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance and Ways and Means Committee on this issue. In the letter, the ASGE expressed strong support for SGR repeal and a 10-year period of payment stability, support of a value-based purchasing payment program and concern over the reporting burden created by CMS quality improvement programs.

Industry recognition.
In early December, the ASGE recognized six Texas endoscopy centers through its Endoscopy Unite Recognition program. The six newly honored centers include:

•    Endoscopy Center at Central Park (Bedford, Texas)
•    Endoscopy Center at Redbird Square (Dallas)
•    Humble (Texas) Kingwood Endoscopy Center
•    North Richland Hills (Texas) Endoscopy Center
•    Old Town Endoscopy Center (Dallas)
•    Preston Crossing Endoscopy Center (Plano, Texas)

The ASGE also recognized Avista Endoscopy Suites in Louisville, Colo., and Texas Health Resources Harris Methodist Hospital HEB Endoscopy & Special Procedures in Bedford. In addition to the new recognitions, the society granted three-year renewal of recognition for 24 endoscopy units.

The ASGE Endoscopy Unit Recognition Programs guidelines include quality assurance, privileging, endoscope reprocessing, staff competency assurance and CDC infection control guidelines.

Looking ahead.
In preparation for the year to come, the ASGE announced its new 2014 course offerings. The new courses include:

•    Risky Business: Managing Cancer Risk in Chronic Digestive Conditions
•    GI Bleeding Toolbox: Acute and Chronic
•    EMR STAR Certificate Program – Lower GI and Upper GI

The AGA also released three tips for gastroenterologists to prepare for the future of the medical field.

•    Deliver high-value care
•    Demonstrate quality
•    Maximize revenue

More Articles on Gastroenterology:
14 Colonoscopy Quality Indicators to Consider
10 Most-Read Stories on Gastroenterology
9 Things to Know About C. difficile Infection Diagnosis

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