If you can't see the images in this email, please click here.

This week’s headlines:
Congressional action

Indoor tanning bed labeling legislation introduced, fails to include FDA reclassification
On April 19, Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) introduced S. 2301, the Tanning Transparency and Notification Act of 2012 which calls on the FDA to enhance indoor tanning bed labeling requirements based on recommendations the agency made as a result of the TAN Act of 2006. The AADA has been working closely with Sen. Reed’s office to introduce a Senate companion bill to H.R. 1676, the Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act, which calls on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reclassify indoor tanning beds, however Sen. Reed introduced his new Senate legislation removing the AADA-supported FDA reclassification language and leaving only the enhanced labeling portion of the bill. The AADA sent a letter to both senators stating the importance of including language calling on the FDA to reclassify tanning beds, in addition to the enhanced labeling requirements that, alone, do little to deter the use of indoor tanning beds.

House and Senate committees continue working on prescription drug, medical device legislation
The House Energy & Commerce Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee are working on a bipartisan effort to reauthorize prescription drug and medical device user fee legislation. The resulting bills are expected to come to the House and Senate floors for action sometime in June. Both the House and Senate draft bills include language to address the ongoing prescription drug shortages that physicians across the country are facing and propose solutions to mitigate future shortages. Additionally, the Senate HELP Committee version currently includes legislation (S. 2301) introduced by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) calling on the FDA to enhance indoor tanning bed labeling requirements based on the agency’s recommendations (see story above). As the Committee process moves forward, the AADA is monitoring the legislation and urging Congress to also include language calling on the FDA to reclassify indoor tanning beds.

Federal agency focus

AADA provides comments to the FDA regarding biosimilars
On May 11, the Food and Drug Administration will convene a public hearing regarding biosimilars. The hearing will include conversations on naming, labeling, and pharmacovigilance of these new therapies. In anticipation of the hearing, the AADA has submitted comments to the agency highlighting our continued concerns regarding naming and pharmacoviligance issues. The Academy urges the agency to provide unique non-proprietary names for all biosimilars to reduce any confusion with the reference biologic products. An update on the May 11 meeting will appear in the next issue of Dermatology Advocate.

Private payer activity

AADA rapid response team convinces Aetna to clarify policy on accreditation for in-office pathology labs
Aetna has assured the Academy that dermatology practices with in-office laboratories will be exempted from a recently announced policy requiring practices to be both Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified and College of American Pathologists (CAP) accredited to receive payment for surgical pathology services. The Academy took the lead on this issue and has been working closely with Aetna since early April to address concerns about the recent change. As a result, Aetna has agreed that dermatologists do not need to provide additional accreditation documentation. Aetna expects to provide written notification to affected practices in the next few weeks.

Dermatology societies to collaboratively share recently approved AUC for Mohs surgery with payers
The Academy is collaborating with the American College of Mohs Surgery, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association, and American Society for Mohs Surgery to engage in an ongoing dialogue with payers about the recently approved Appropriate Use Criteria for Mohs surgery (Mohs AUC). Next week, the societies will begin this dialogue by sending a joint letter to Novitas Solutions, Inc. (aka Highmark Medicare Services, Inc.) which will provide context for interpreting the Mohs AUC, and communicate how the Mohs AUC support the clinical indications for Mohs surgery, which will serve to preserve its use for our patients. This coordinated effort will help minimize misinterpretation or misuse of the AUC.

The Mohs AUC have been submitted for publication to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery and are posted to the Academy’s website. Members of the Academy and collaborating organizations are encouraged to review the Mohs AUC and complete the online survey to provide feedback on what educational resources would be helpful to them in implementing the Mohs AUC in their practices, and to provide comments on areas for consideration in future updates of the Mohs AUC.

State policy roundup

Vermont becomes second state in the nation to ban tanning for minors
On May 2, Vermont became the second state in the nation to prohibit the use of tanning devices by children and teens under the age of 18. The AADA and Vermont Dermatological Society (VDS) commended the state legislature for taking the lead on this important public health issue. Vermont was one of nearly 25 states considering legislation related to regulation of the indoor tanning industry and minors’ access this session, and the second state after Utah to enact a bill this year. The AADA and VDS hope Vermont’s leadership will serve as a catalyst for other states with pending legislation that could take action before the end of their 2012 legislative sessions, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

California patient safety bill moves swiftly through state assembly
On April 26, the California State Assembly unanimously passed Assembly Bill 1548, cosponsored by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) and the California Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery (CalDerm), by a vote of 71 to zero. The bill, which the AADA supported via written comments, will now move on to the California State Senate for further consideration. AB 1548 would increase financial penalties for corporate practice of medicine. The bill, as previously reported here, was passed by the full state legislature on two previous occasions and vetoed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. This year’s legislation has been moving swiftly through the legislative process. AADA will continue to support ASDSA and CalDerm in this effort.

Cosmetic tax proposals stripped from California bills
Last week, two pieces of legislation were amended to remove language that would have applied California state sales tax to cosmetic medical procedures. The AADA and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association jointly commented in opposition to AB 2540 and AB 1963 prior to hearings in Assembly policy committees last month. The AADA will remain vigilant with the ASDSA and the California Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery to ensure these proposals do not resurface this year.

Tanning bill passes Missouri House of Representatives
On April 30, the Missouri House of Representatives passed House Bill 1475 by a vote of 91 to 56. The legislation would require minors under the age of 17 to obtain parental consent before using a tanning bed. The bill is now being sent to the state senate for consideration. The Missouri Dermatological Society Association (MDSA) has been working tirelessly for several years, with the support of the AADA, to pass legislation to better regulate the tanning industry in the state, including provisions related to minors’ access. HB 1475 is the first stand-alone bill in two years to proceed to this point in the legislative process. AADA will continue to support the efforts of the MSDA on this issue.

Mississippi enacts ‘Patient’s Right to Informed Health Care Choices Act’
On April 18, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour signed Senate Bill 2670, "The Patient's Right to Informed Health Care Choices Act." The AADA and the Mississippi Dermatological Society supported SB 2670 and its companion bill, House Bill 899, early in the legislative process with written comments. The legislation is based on the American Medical Association’s model bill on truth in advertising, developed by the Scope of Practice Partnership, and helps to ensure that patients are promptly and clearly informed of the actual training and qualifications of their health care practitioners. The bill requires in part that all advertisements for health care services are free from deceptive and misleading information and identify the type of license held by the provider(s). In addition, health care practitioners are required to post in their office and affirmatively communicate their specific license to all patients. The new law is effective July 1.

Maryland enacts board certification disclosure requirements
At the close of the Maryland legislative session last month, the General Assembly unanimously passed Senate Bill 395 and House Bill 957, requiring all health occupation boards in the state to submit information to the legislature by the end of 2012 on exactly what regulations or policies currently exist for their licensees related to advertising. In addition, the legislation requires any physician who advertises board certification to disclose his or her specialty or subspecialty field of certification and the name of the certifying board. Only physicians with certification from approved boards will be permitted to advertise board certification. Gov. O’Malley signed both pieces of legislation on May 2, and the new law will take effect on Oct. 1.

Political affairs – SkinPAC

SkinPAC to host fundraiser in Chicago
SkinPAC will be having a fundraiser in Chicago on Saturday, May 5, 2012 from 7 to 9 p.m. in a private suite, room 3712, at the Fairmont Hotel. This reception will coincide with the American College of Mohs Surgery Annual Meeting, but is not associated with the organization; however Mohs surgeons have been invited to attend. The event is being hosted by Brett Coldiron, MD, Brent 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.

If you no longer wish to receive future emails from the Academy, please
click here.