Advocacy Update - 40+ Organizations Join ASNC's Latest Push Toward AUC Mandate Repeal

This month, 43 medical societies, including the American Medical Association, joined ASNC in a message urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to consult the physician community and deliver a candid report to Congress on the significant problems with the AUC Program.
The letter from ASNC and the other societies to CMS follows up on a congressional request issued as part of a spending bill passed by the House of Representatives. In a report accompanying the 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Funding bill, the House called on CMS to report to Congress on –
  • The status of AUC Program implementation; and
  • The relevance of the AUC Program in the context of existing quality improvement programs and their influence on encouraging appropriate use of advanced diagnostic imaging.
"We are urging CMS to deliver the report that Congress requested and to work with the physician community to confront problems with the AUC mandate and make sure the problems are clearly stated and explained,” says ASNC Health Policy Committee Chair David Wolinsky, MD, MASNC. “Congress needs to hear from CMS that the AUC mandate is complex, administratively burdensome, unnecessary, unworkable and should be repealed.”

The coalition's letter to CMS emphasizes – 
  • Over the past eight years, CMS has published several rules attempting to fulfill the highly prescriptive nature of the AUC program
  • In the 2022 physician fee schedule final rule, CMS noted only 9-10 percent of 2020 claims would be have been considered compliant with the AUC program.
  • Physicians are being asked to comply with other quality reporting programs and are still facing overwhelming staffing shortages and other challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.  
The letter further asks CMS to –
  • Assess the impact the AUC Program would have on small and rural practices with a particular focus on practices exempt from MIPS due to the low-volume threshold; 
  • Release additional data about the current education and operations testing period; and
  • Evaluate alternatives to claims-based reporting that contribute to program complexity.
ASNC spearheaded the effort that led to the request from Congress to CMS. For years, ASNC has been encouraging a dialogue between CMS and lawmakers about the challenges associated with the AUC Program. 

ASNC will keep you apprised of CMS's response and will be monitoring the 2023 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule, due this summer, for possible AUC Program information or changes.