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What Is the AICPA’s Health Care Expert Panel and What Do They Do?

Health care expert panelUp until about a year ago, I had only heard that the AICPA has expert panels  but I didn’t really have any idea about what they are or what they do. I was asked to staff the Health Care Expert Panel  and I can tell you last year has been quite a ride!

Who Is the Health Care Expert Panel and What Is Its Mission?

The Panel consists of 13 members who represent a mixture of firm practitioners as well as preparers and users who work in the industry. They all have one thing in common—they are considered to be some of the health care industry’s “cream of the crop” and best equipped to carry out the panel’s mission to protect the public interest and address the needs of AICPA members in the areas of financial reporting (including business reporting), audit and attest services, and regulatory matters from the health care industry perspective.

What Does the Expert Panel Do?

The short answer is: it looks out for you!

The long answer is that the primary areas of focus for all expert panels are to:

  • Identify emerging industry issues: financial reporting (including business reporting), audit and attest services and regulatory matters, and propose solutions;
  • Liaise with regulators, standard setters, external industry groups, federal or state agencies, and other AICPA committees/expert panels; and
  • Provide industry accounting and auditing guidance/information through various AICPA vehicles such as publications, webinars/webcasts and conferences.

Specifically, the Health Care Expert Panel works tirelessly each year to assist staff in updating the AICPA Audit and Accounting Guide Health Care Entities and drafting the annual AICPA Audit Risk Alert Health Care Industry Developments to address emerging industry issues and provide industry accounting and auditing guidance.

The panel also provides guidance by developing nonauthoritative Technical Practice Aids on emerging issues or on practice issues that need clarification. Over the past year, TPAs have been finalized regarding implementation issues surrounding the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, code sets used to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures, and the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s Accounting Standards Update Nos. 2010-24 and 2011-07. TPAs are codified into the AICPA Technical Practice Aidsproduct line, but the more recent ones are also available on the Recently Issued Technical Practice Aids webpage of the AICPA website.

Several panel members also present technical sessions at the annual AICPA Health Care Industry Conference and participate in panel-setting discussions. In fact, a couple of them also serve on the AICPA’s Health Care Conference Planning Committee!

Earlier this year, panel members developed a first-ever webinar titled, “An Up Close Look at the Health Care Guide, including Emerging GAAP Issues.” Focused on the overhauled 2011 edition of the guide as well as on certain emerging issues, the webinar had significant attendance and is now available as an on-demand product.

On certain FASB proposed ASUs, the panel performs an advocacy function by providing health care-specific comments to the AICPA Financial Reporting Executive Committee for consideration and potential inclusion in the Financial Reporting Executive Committee comment letters to the FASB. Over the past year, input was provided for the FinREC comment letter regarding FASB’s Proposed ASU (Revised), Revenue from Contracts with Customers.

On an ongoing basis, the panel maintains a relationship with the FASB and with the Health Care Financial Management Association.  The panel has also begun to cultivate new relationships with various AICPA teams. In addition, the chairs and staff of the State and Local Governments, Not-for-Profit and Health Care Expert Panel meet quarterly to update each other on matters of mutual interest.

And this was only the first year! As the second year begins, the panel is well underway to tackle other issues such as the appropriate accounting treatment for incentive payments for meaningful use of electronic health records, specifically for critical access hospitals, and revenue recognition for accountable care organizations, among others. I’ll be holding onto my seat with both hands this year!

If you have any issues you’d like the panel to consider exploring, let me know.

Andy Mrakovcic, CPA, Technical Manager – Audit and Attest Standards, American Institute of CPAs. Andy has been with the AICPA since 1990, starting on the professional publications team, where he updated the AICPA’s professional literature and eventually assisted in managing the team for several years. Andy also served as editor-in-chief of the Accounting Trends and Techniques publication and since 2007, has assisted the AICPA Auditing Standards Board with its Clarity Project and the issuance of Statement on Auditing Standards No. 122, Statements on Auditing Standards: Clarification and Recodification. In 2011, Andy began staffing the AICPA Health Care Expert Panel.

Medical billing image via Shutterstock

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