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This week’s headlines:
Congressional action

AADA responds to Ways and Means inquiry regarding SGR
In an effort to study possible solutions to reform the flawed SGR, several members of the Ways and Means Committee recently sent a letter to the physician community requesting feedback on several questions related to practice, payment, and quality. The AADA responded to the Committee members with a letter on May 25. The letter expresses concern about the instability the SGR causes for dermatology with regard to, among others things, practice management, payment models, and health information technology investment. The AADA also conveyed appreciation for the initiative of these members of Congress and their willingness to work with the physician community to find a solution to the SGR. AADA staff continues to work with Congress to bring an end to this system, which is a detriment to physicians and patients alike.

House and Senate pass prescription drug and medical device legislation
The House and Senate have both passed legislation to reauthorize Food and Drug Administration user fee programs for prescription drugs and medical devices, establish user fee programs for generic drugs and biosimilar biological products, make changes to regulations regarding medical devices, and establish requirements related to drug supply chain safety and drug shortages. With the current authorization expiring in September, the House and Senate are expected to quickly reconcile their legislative differences and pass a final negotiated bill by July 4.

Rep. Mike Thompson highlights the AAD SPOT Skin Cancer™ initiative on social media
Working with the AADA, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) helped spread the message about skin cancer prevention and detection in a Facebook message to his followers on May 19. His post highlighted May as Melanoma/Skin Cancer Awareness Month® and the AAD’s new skin cancer public awareness initiative, SPOT Skin Cancer™.

Federal agency focus

AADA supports delay of ICD-10 implementation
The AADA indicated its support for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decision to delay the compliance date for implementation of the International Classification of Diseases 10th Edition Diagnosis and Procedure Codes (ICD-10) in comments submitted to the agency in May. The one-year delay will allow providers extra time to complete the transition to the new coding system. The AADA’s comment letter encourages CMS to consider extending the time period for compliance further for smaller practices, to provide substantial education and training for providers on the implementation, to allow for a temporary overlap period when both ICD-9 and ICD-10 would be acceptable, and to conduct a pilot test of ICD-10 prior to requiring providers to fully transition to the system.

Private payer activity

Aetna informs dermatologists of exclusion from burdensome in-office pathology policy
Aetna has sent a letter to dermatology practices confirming that dermatologists are excluded from a 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. Aetna states that in response to feedback from the American Academy of Dermatology Association, it has reconsidered this policy and will continue to allow dermatologists and dermatopathologists to perform in-office pathology testing without further accreditation. Aetna recognizes and supports the qualifications of dermatologists to perform pathology testing for its members. This development followed shortly after AADA’s rapid response team of leaders in the areas of dermatopathology and health care finance appealed to Aetna to reconsider the applicability of this policy to dermatology.

State policy roundup

AADA comments on Oregon office-based surgery rule changes
The AADA and the Oregon Dermatology Society (ODS) submitted comments urging the Oregon Medical Board to reconsider the proposed minimum threshold for office accreditation for the performance of liposuction under tumescent local anesthesia. Oregon’s proposed rule would require office accreditation for office-based liposuction procedures when more than 250 cubic centimeters of supernatant fat is extracted, regardless of type of anesthesia used. The AADA and ODS proposed 500 cubic centimeters of supernatant fat as a more appropriate minimum threshold for office accreditation. The AADA and ODS also thanked the Board for its commitment to transparency of heath care provider credentials, as the proposed rule would also require physicians to disclose their board certification and specialty field in patient informed consent forms prior to any office-based surgery procedure.

Chicago considers ordinance to prohibit teen tanning
Alderman Debra Silverstein of Chicago’s 50th Ward introduced a city ordinance that would prohibit minors under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning devices in the city of Chicago. Alix Charles, MD, and June Robinson, MD, testified at a hearing on the ordinance held by the Committee on License and Consumer Protection on May 30. The Committee passed the proposed ordinance unanimously and it will be considered by the full City Council on June 6. The AADA and the Illinois Dermatological Society (IDS) sent a letter of support for the ordinance to the Committee, and are working with Alderman Silverstein to urge the full Council to support the measure. Chicago members are encouraged to contact their Alderman to share their support. Find contact information for your city ward and alderman here.

New Jersey Assembly advances indoor tanning ban bill
The New Jersey General Assembly advanced Assembly Bill 2142 to the State Senate on May 24 by a vote of 58 to 7, with 13 abstentions, paving the way for the Garden State to become the third state in the nation to prohibit minors from accessing indoor tanning beds. The bill is awaiting referral in the State Senate, which passed a similar measure in the 2011 legislative session. The AADA will continue to work with the Dermatological Society of New Jersey to support this legislation.

Political affairs – SkinPAC

SkinPAC raises record amount
SkinPAC has raised more than $860,000 for the current election cycle and more than $168,000 since May 1 — both new records! In the 2009-2010 election cycle, SkinPAC had raised just $564,000 by May 31, 2010. If SkinPAC raises $1,000,000 for the election cycle, AADA President Daniel Siegel, MD, has pledged to publicly shave his head and beard, and anyone who gives $5,000 will get a swipe of the razor. To contribute to SkinPAC, please visit www.SkinPAC.org, or call Sam Hewitt, AADA’s manager of political affairs, at (202) 712-2609.

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 U.S. 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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