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This week’s headlines:
Congressional action

AADA provides comments on Senate HELP Committee drug shortage bill draft
On March 29, members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee released bipartisan draft language to address prescription drug shortages. The language, which will accompany the FDA human medical product user fee legislation, was drafted by a bipartisan working group that includes Senators Harkin, Enzi, Alexander, Bennet, Blumenthal, Burr, Casey, Corker, Franken, Hagan, Isakson, Kirk, Klobuchar, Merkley, Mikulski, Murkowski, Murray, and Roberts. The purpose of the draft language is to encourage discussion amongst stakeholders concerned with drug shortages and to provide feedback to HELP Committee staff regarding possible improvements and/or unintended consequences.

The AADA applauds the Senate HELP Committee’s attention to this important issue and its effort to involve members of the physician community in the draft process. As requested, the AADA submitted comments to HELP Committee staff last week, commending language the AADA supports in the draft and adding suggestions important to the specialty of dermatology. As the process moves forward the AADA will continue to engage in dialogue with HELP Committee staff and advocate for solutions to the prescription drug shortage crisis.

Federal agency focus

AADA and AMA Urge CMS to cut time frames for reporting overpayments
A proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would require physicians to identify, report, and return an overpayment if discovered within 10 years of when the overpayment was received. The American Academy of Dermatology Association has urged CMS to lessen this requirement, noting it carries significant legal and financial penalties. Given the excessive burden this would place on physician practices, the Academy has also joined with the American Medical Association and other specialty societies to request that CMS lessen these requirements and ensure that physicians’ due process rights are protected.

CMS extends ICD-10 implementation deadline
Dermatology practices will now have until Oct. 1, 2014 to complete the transition to ICD-10 according to a proposal announced by CMS on April 9. The proposal, which moves the compliance deadline back a full year, follows an earlier announcement by the CMS Office of E-Health Standards and Services (OESS) that it will not initiate enforcement action for an additional three months, through June 30, 2012, on the requirements that medical practices and other covered entities transition to Version 5010 of the HIPAA transaction code standards. Learn more about the ICD-10 and 5010 transitions.

Private payer activity

AADA working with Aetna to resolve concerns about new dermatopathology policy
Earlier this week, AADA leadership met with Aetna to share its concerns regarding the payer’s new policy that would require practices offering in-office surgical pathology services to be accredited by the College of American Pathologists in addition to being CLIA certified in order to receive payment for these services. Immediately after Aetna announced this troubling policy, the Academy convened a rapid response team of leaders in the areas of dermatopathology and health care finance to advocate on this important issue. The rapid response team discussed the scores of member letters and emails the AADA has received on this issue, which it used to create an action plan and talking points.

During this week’s meeting with Aetna, the Academy appealed to Aetna to reconsider the applicability of its policy to dermatologists. Given the urgency of the impending deadlines in this policy, and our need to provide direction to members in a timely fashion, the Academy appreciates how responsive Aetna has been to engage in a dialogue with dermatology on this issue. The Academy will continue to work with Aetna to address this troubling issue and will continue to provide updates to members.

State policy roundup

Tennessee Senate urges action on the performance of cosmetic procedures
On April 11, the Tennessee Senate Health and Welfare Committee returned to a subcommittee a bill that would regulate the performance of cosmetic medical procedures and classify them as the practice of medicine. This action rendered the bill dead for the remainder of the 2012 state legislative session. In response, the full Senate adopted Senate Resolution 94 on a vote of 27 to zero on April 16. The Senate Resolution urges the state Board of Medical Examiners, in consultation with the Department of Health, the Board of Nursing, the Board of Osteopathic Examiners, the Committee on Physician Assistants, and the Board of Cosmetology to promulgate rules and regulations by Jan. 1, 2013 to prescribe standards applicable to the practice of cosmetic procedures or treatments. The standards would involve, but are not limited to, the use of invasive laser technology and the use of chemical peels. The AADA will continue to monitor any future actions on this resolution by the Tennessee General Assembly and by the Board of Medical Examiners.

Political affairs – SkinPAC

SkinPAC breaks record for most successful 30-day period
SkinPAC recently had its most successful 30-day period on record, raising more than $110,000 between March 13 and April 13. SkinPAC has been kicking into high gear since the Annual Meeting with the 2012 launch of its telemarketing campaign.

SkinPAC will be having a fundraiser targeted at raising money from Mohs surgeons in Chicago on Saturday, May 5 at 7 p.m. at a private suite in the Fairmont Hotel. The event is being hosted by Brett Coldiron, MD, Brett Moody, MD, and Pat Davey, MD. The host committee is asking for a $500 contribution to attend the event. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Sam Hewitt, the AADA’s manager of political affairs, at (202) 712-2609, or by email at shewitt@aad.org.

SkinPAC’s political purpose is to solicit and receive contributions to be used to make political campaign expenditures to those candidates for federal elective office, and other federal political committees, who demonstrate understanding and interest in the views and goals of the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

Contributions to SkinPAC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. SkinPAC cannot accept contributions from corporate accounts. All AADA members have the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. Federal law prohibits us from accepting contributions from foreign nationals. Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, physical address, occupation, and the name of the employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year.

Upcoming events

Register now for the 2012 AADA Legislative Conference, Sept. 9 – 11, Washington, D.C.
The AADA is pleased to invite the entire Academy membership to register for the 2012 Legislative Conference, Sept. 9 – 11 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, 10 minutes from the US Capitol. The Legislative Conference is a unique blend of didactic and interactive advocacy training sessions, political debate and the direct lobbying of your members of Congress. Conference attendees learn about critical health policy issues from national health policy experts, political insiders, and AADA advocacy leaders. A keynote address will be delivered by former CMS administrator, Mark McClellan, MD, PhD. However, the most powerful aspect of the Legislative Conference is your ability to build and strengthen personal relationships with your members of Congress and their staff.

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