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This week’s headlines:

Political affairs – SkinPAC

SkinPAC surpasses $1 million goal
SkinPAC has raised an unprecedented amount by surpassing its $1 million goal! In January, in an effort to encourage donations, Academy President Daniel Siegel, MD, pledged to publicly shave his head and beard if SkinPAC raised $1 million in the 2011-2012 election cycle.

Last week, at the Summer Academy Meeting in Boston, Dr. Siegel made good on that promise. Visit www.SkinPAC.org to view footage from the special head-shaving event.

Crossing the $1 million threshold shows Washington, D.C., decision makers that dermatology has some serious “skin in the game,” at the most important time of the year. For more information about SkinPAC, please call Abigail Osborne at (202) 712-2604.

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.

Congressional action

AADA president urges members to engage candidates
In his Plenary speech at the Summer Academy Meeting in Boston, AADA President Daniel Siegel, MD, challenged the audience to make sure through this fall’s elections that their legislative bodies are filled with men and women who understand dermatology issues and are committed to addressing and solving them. To make that happen, he encouraged dermatologists to schedule appointments with their legislative representatives to communicate dermatology’s message and the expectation of measuring up to dermatology’s yardstick on three “deal-breaker” issues: drug shortages, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.

A new online resource is available to assist members who are interested in engaging candidates for public office on issues of importance to dermatology and dermatology patients. Included are sample dermatology-related questions to ask during campaign events, resources to find out more about elections in your area, and information about how the AADA can help you set up meetings with your members of Congress at their local offices. Visit the Academy website or email Blake McDonald to discuss how the AADA can help you get involved.

Federal agency focus

CMS releases final EHR stage 2 rule
On Aug. 23, 2012, CMS released its final rule for stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs. CMS believes that the rule will enhance health information exchange between providers, and promote patient engagement by giving patients secure online access to their health information.

In response to the March 7 proposed rule, AADA issued a comment letter criticizing unachievable compliance thresholds, as well as efforts that measure physician performance by initiatives that require patient action or compliance. The AADA expressed that the proposed rule failed to advance meaningful physician-patient interaction.

While the final rule adopts many provisions presented in the proposed rule from March, the agency reduced some thresholds for successful compliance.

The final rule will become effective in 60 days. More information, including a fact sheet on the final rule, is available on AAD.org. Members with questions may contact Richard Martin at (202) 842-2618.

CMS affirms compliance deadline for ICD-10 delayed until Oct. 1, 2014
CMS released a final rule on Aug. 24 finalizing its previously proposed delay in the compliance date for use of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition diagnosis and procedure codes (ICD-10). The new compliance deadline is Oct. 1, 2014.

The final rule, designed to achieve administrative simplification, also adopts the standard for a national unique health plan identifier (HPID), and a data element that will serve as an “other entity” identifier (OEID). HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius lauded the final rule, stating, “These new standards are a part of our efforts to help providers and health plans spend less time filling out paperwork and more time seeing their patients.” For more information on how to transition your practice to accommodate the new ICD-10 codes, click here.

CMS details Recovery Audit Prepayment Demonstration
On an Aug. 9 open forum conference call, CMS outlined its Recovery Audit Prepayment Demonstration. During that call, CMS confirmed that the demonstration, commencing Aug. 27, will focus on short inpatient hospital stays in 11 states (California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas) that have either high error rates or high volumes of inpatient stays. CMS announced the following target Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Groups (MS-DRGs), which will be the focus for auditors for the first six months of the Recovery Audit Prepayment Demonstration:

  • MS-DRG 312: Syncope and collapse
  • MS-DRG 069: Transient ischemia
  • MS-DRG 377: G.I. hemorrhage with MCC
  • MS-DRG 378: G.I. hemorrhage with CC
  • MS-DRG 379: G.I. hemorrhage without CC/MCC
  • MS-DRG 637: Diabetes with MCC
  • MS-DRG 638: Diabetes with CC
  • MS-DRG 639: Diabetes without CC/MCC

On the conference call, CMS stated that it will consider adding other high-error codes to the target list after the initial six-month period. CMS will post relevant educational materials and periodic updates on the RAC Demonstration website.

Private payer activity

AADA working with CAP, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association on lab claims filing process
The AADA is still working with Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) to resolve the issue with their claims filing process for independent clinical laboratories that was first reported in Dermatology Advocate on June 29. The newly enforced BCBSA ancillary provider claim filing guidelines for independent lab services indicate that a provider should bill to the plan in the state the specimen was drawn. Prior to this policy change, such claims were typically filed with the local Blue plan. This policy has actually been in place since 2005, but most of the plans were not observing it. BCBSA decided to mandate that all Blue plans adhere to this policy by Oct. 14, 2012.

The AADA has been collaborating with the College of American Pathologists (CAP) on finding a permanent resolution. Both groups have been working with BCBSA representatives and local BCBS plans. The AADA will continue to provide updates. For questions regarding this policy or the AADA's actions, please contact Jacqueline Buschmann at (202) 842-6334.

State policy roundup

D.C. enacts legislation to regulate body art
Mayor Vincent Gray of the District of Columbia signed B19-0221, the Regulation of Tattoo Artists and Body-Piercing Artists Act. On Aug. 14, the AADA sent written comments urging the mayor to sign the bill, which will provide consumers with a safe, sterile environment when purchasing body art services, and will protect the District's youth by prohibiting tattoo and body-piercing services from being performed on minors. The provisions of B19-0221:

  • Require tattoo and body-piercing facilities to meet and maintain minimum health and safety standards;
  • Allow the Department of Health to conduct inspections of the facilities and issue penalties for noncompliance; and
  • Establish professional qualifications required to obtain a license and perform such services.

Maryland considering updates to indoor tanning regulations
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has requested comments on whether the current regulations on indoor tanning should be updated. Maryland’s current law requires that anyone under 18 have written parental consent in the presence of an employee to use indoor tanning devices. The AADA submitted written comments urging the department to consider prohibiting all minors from using indoor tanning devices.

2013 AADA State Advocacy Grant applications sought
The AADA is now accepting applications for the 2013 State Advocacy Grant Program. The program provides financial assistance to state dermatology societies for the advancement of their health policy initiatives. State societies applying for the grant must submit an application and all required supporting materials by Sept. 30. Learn more about the State Advocacy Grant Program and download your application today by visiting the State affairs Web page.

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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