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This week’s headlines:
Congressional action

GAO report highlights concerns over in-office pathology services
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report that raises concerns that dermatologists and other specialty physicians are inappropriately increasing utilization of pathology services and driving up Medicare’s cost when those services are provided within the office, rather than at an outside lab. The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) is concerned with the report's findings and takes a strong position against the inappropriate use of ancillary services. While the AADA has concerns about certain aspects of the report, it remains committed to ensuring that dermatologists retain their ability to interpret their own slides in a manner that supports timely, appropriate, and cost-effective delivery of dermatopathology services for the benefit of quality-based patient care. View the official statement from the AADA. Read more about this issue in Member to Member and Dermatology World. For more information, contact William Brady at wbrady@aad.org.

House subcommittee approves proposal to repeal flawed Medicare physician payment formula
The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee has approved draft legislation that would repeal the flawed sustainable growth rate formula and replace it with a system focused on quality and efficiency. The draft legislation calls for performance-based payment models through an expanded Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) program. For the first five years, physicians would receive statutory updates at 0.5 percent per year. In the sixth year, physicians who score well in this expanded quality program could earn an additional 1 percent. Physicians who do not participate in the quality program would be subject to 1 percent cut. The American Academy of Dermatology Association will continue to work with Congress to ensure that any new payment system recognizes multiple practice settings and does not impede patient access to high-quality, dermatologic care. For more information, contact Shawn Friesen at sfriesen@aad.org.

House appropriates $15 million for the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program
The Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 appropriations bill — which includes $15 million for the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) — has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The PRCRP funds research on a number of specific cancers, including melanoma and other skin cancers. From FY 09 to FY 12, $9.9 million was awarded to skin cancer research through this program. This funding aided in the development of a melanoma risk prediction model for the U.S. military population. Additionally, funding for the PRCRP led to the development of a study on delayed skin damage resulting from sun exposure, which could lead to a new formulation of sunscreen to protect from delayed sun damage. For more information, contact Christine O’Connor at coconnor@aad.org.

AADA supports legislation that preserves dermatology scope of practice
The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) is commending Rep. Andy Harris, MD, (R-Md.) for introducing legislation that would repeal a provision in the Affordable Care Act that could undermine the ability of health insurers and private individual and group health plans to make qualification distinctions among varying groups of physicians and other health care professionals. Traditionally, states have regulated the practice of medicine and other health care providers through distinct licensure and various certifications. However, beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, such distinctions could be considered “discrimination”. As a member of the Coalition for Fair Participation and Coverage, the AADA is committed to tightening and enforcing regulations that define the practice of medicine to ensure that structures are in place to ensure patient safety. Read the coalition letter of support. For more information, contact Christine O’Connor at coconnor@aad.org.

Federal agency focus

Deadline to submit comments on FDA indoor tanning proposal Aug. 7
There are only a few days left to submit comment letters to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the agency’s recent proposal to strengthen regulations on tanning devices. On May 6, the FDA issued a proposed order that recommends against the use of tanning beds by minors under 18, calls for the reclassification of indoor tanning devices from a Class I to a Class II medical device, and would require labeling on indoor tanning devices that clearly communicates the risks of skin cancer to all users. Read more about the FDA proposed order.

Thanks to the dermatology specialty’s overwhelming interest in this issue, nearly 1,600 comments have been submitted to the docket — a large majority of which have been sent in support of reclassification. In anticipation of significant opposition from the indoor tanning industry, however, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) has been calling on its members to submit comment letters to the FDA in support of this proposal. The AADA has developed a template letter for members to personalize and submit to the FDA. Contact Amanda Grimm at agrimm@aad.org for more information.

Don’t miss: ACO information session at Summer Academy Meeting
Join Marta Van Beek, MD, MPH, on Aug. 2 during the plenary at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Summer Academy Meeting for a discussion on Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). Find out about health care delivery trends, and how the specialty of dermatology might integrate into this new model of coordinated care. For more information on ACOs, visit the AAD ACO Resource Center at www.aad.org/aco.

State policy roundup

Connecticut governor vetoes medical spa bill
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has vetoed a bill that would require that all cosmetic medical procedures be performed by a physician — or an advanced practice registered nurse, physician assistant or registered nurse under a physician’s supervision — at any facility called a medical spa, medspa, or medispa. The legislation would have required a physician to serve as the facility’s medical director and perform initial physical assessments of each person prior to the performance of cosmetic medical procedures. The American Academy of Dermatology Association, along with several state and national organizations, supported this legislation. Gov. Malloy vetoed the bill reasoning that it could unnecessarily limit the scope of practice of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and other licensed medical professionals. For more information, contact Lisa Albany at lalbany@aad.org.

Indoor tanning legislation tips and tactics
While the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), its members and state dermatology societies have been successful in advocating for stricter regulations on indoor tanning, the indoor tanning industry’s arguments have become increasingly aggressive. Don’t miss “Protecting America’s Youth: Responding to Tanning Industry Arguments and Advance Effective Policies” with Bruce A. Brod, MD, chair of the AADA State Policy Committee, at the 2013 Summer Academy Meeting on Saturday, Aug. 2 at 10 a.m. in the Sutton South room, and find out how you can advance effective policies on indoor tanning, and respond to the tanning industry’s arguments. View the preliminary program and register for the 2013 Summer Academy Meeting. For more information, contact Lisa Albany at lalbany@aad.org.

Apply today for a State Advocacy Grant
State societies looking to fund advocacy activities to influence legislation and/or regulatory initiatives in 2014 are encouraged to apply for financial assistance through the American Academy of Dermatology Association’s (AADA) State Advocacy Grant Program. The AADA is offering this program for state dermatology societies to help advance key state health policy initiatives. Applications are due Sept. 30. Visit the AADA State Advocacy Grant program Web page to learn more. For more information, contact Kersten Burns at kburns@aad.org.

Upcoming events

Secure your spot at the 2013 AADA Legislative Conference
Registration for the American Academy of Dermatology Association’s (AADA) 2013 Legislative Conference on Sept. 8-10, is filling up fast. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to join your colleagues in the heart of Washington, D.C. to hear from health policy experts, discuss dermatology issues, attend advocacy training taught by D.C. insiders, and meet directly with members of Congress and their staff to voice dermatology’s concerns. Conference attendees become the trusted and influential voice for their members of Congress by learning about critical health policy issues from national experts, political insiders, and AADA advocacy leaders. Visit the conference Web page to learn more and register for this premier event. For more information, contact Blake McDonald at bmcdonald@aad.org.

SkinPAC Donor Lounge premieres at Summer Academy Meeting
Need to get away from the hustle and bustle of Summer Academy Meeting? Come to the SkinPAC Donor Lounge at the New York Hilton Midtown’s Lincoln Room. The Lounge is open on Friday, Aug. 2, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. to SkinPAC donors at the $500+ level and will feature complimentary coffee, lunch, Wi-Fi, and plenty of room to relax or hold a quiet conversation. For more information, contact Katie Jones at kjones@aad.org.

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