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This week’s headlines:
Congressional action

Take action: Oppose limits on pathology services
The Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act of 2013 (PIMA), would eliminate the exception to the Medicare Stark Law that allows physicians to provide advanced imaging, anatomic pathology, radiation therapy, and physical therapy services within their offices, and the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) is mobilizing all members to contact their members of Congress to oppose the bill. The AADA, joined by the American Medical Association and more than 30 specialty groups, also recently sent a letter to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives opposing PIMA (HR 2914). Log on to the AADA Dermatology Advocacy Network (DAN) to contact your members of Congress to oppose this legislation and preserve dermatologists’ ability to provide these important services to their patients. (New DAN layout requires member ID – without the preceding zeros – and birth date to login.) For more information, contact Christine O’Connor at coconnor@aad.org. For more information on how to get involved, or to share your congressional contacts, email grassroots@aad.org.

Congress returns from recess, Medicare payment reform effort continues
Congress is back in session next week and Medicare payment reform and sequestration are on the agenda as lawmakers resume talks on how to fund the government and manage the debt ceiling. Prior to breaking for the August recess, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, unanimously approved the Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act (HR 2810), which would repeal the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and replace it with a system focused on quality incentives and the development of alternative payment models. While the timeline for House consideration is yet to be determined, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee are also working on draft legislation. The AADA sent a letter expressing appreciation for the effort to repeal the SGR while also highlighting some concerns with the legislation. If Congress does not repeal and replace the SGR formula, a 24 percent across-the-board Medicare rate cut will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Members can anticipate a call to action from the AADA encouraging them to get involved on this important issue. Log on to the AADA Dermatology Advocacy Network to find your members of Congress and their contact information. For more information on the SGR, contact Shawn Friesen at sfriesen@aad.org.

Federal agency focus

AADA opposes CMS proposal to cap physician reimbursement, increase quality reporting measures
Fees for first stage Mohs micrographic technique (17311), Photochemotherapy with UV-B (96910), and Photochemotherapy with UV-A (96912) face reduction if CMS implements a proposal to cap reimbursement of physician services based on the ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) or hospital outpatient prospective payment systems (OPPS) fee schedules. The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) strongly opposed CMS’ proposal in its comment letter on the 2014 Proposed Physician Fee Schedule. See related article below.

In addition, the AADA urged CMS to reconsider proposed changes to the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) that would raise the number of measures that providers must report on from three to nine in 2014, to both earn the 2014 incentive and avoid the 2016 penalty. The AADA argued that CMS’ proposal does not reflect the pace of measure development and there are too few applicable measures to allow physicians to successfully participate in PQRS. Read the AADA’s comments on these issues and more from the 2014 Proposed Physician Fee Schedule. Learn more about the 2014 Proposed Fee schedule in the Aug. 30 issue of Member to Member. For more information, contact Richard Martin at rmartin@aad.org.

CMS proposes site-neutral payment policies, hospital and in-office payment parity
Plans to advance site-neutral payment policies and move toward payment parity between hospital-based clinic settings and physician offices are included in both CMS’s Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems (OPPS/ASC) proposed rule and the proposed Physician Fee Schedule. The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) has submitted comments to CMS expressing strong opposition to these provisions. The OPPS/ASC proposed rule would collapse outpatient evaluation and management codes, which may result in certain providers being systematically overpaid, while others are underpaid, and, consequently, could reduce access to care for the sickest patients. This site-neutral policy is tied into a provision of the 2014 Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule that would use ASC or OPPS fees to value physician services and reduce payments. See related article above. Read the AADA’s comment letter on the OPPS/ASC proposed rule. For more information, contact Richard Martin at rmartin@aad.org.

Proposal to release Medicare physician data raises red flag
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) asked stakeholders to comment on whether it should release physician payment information. In its comment letter, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) strongly opposed this proposal, and advocated for continued recognition of physicians’ right to privacy, expressed concerns over the accuracy of the data, and urged for inclusion of protections against inaccuracies, misinterpretations, and other potential harms. Read the AADA’s comment letter to CMS. For more information, contact Richard Martin at rmartin@aad.org.

AADA advises CDC on strategies to strengthen skin cancer prevention efforts
Citing various social and physiological barriers to successful skin cancer prevention efforts, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) has recommended that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Office of the Surgeon General implement a multi-pronged campaign — including federal, state, and local governments as well as key stakeholders — to educate the public on tanning and skin cancer and institute programs that teach safe skin behaviors at an early age. Read the AADA comment letter to CDC. Recognizing that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is associated with increased skin cancer risk, the CDC issued a request for comment seeking information about ways to prevent skin cancer by reducing UV exposure. CDC will collect and provide the information to the Office of the Surgeon General where it is expected that Interim Surgeon General, dermatologist Boris Lushniak, MD, will identify opportunities to raise awareness on sun-protection practices. Read more in the Aug. 16 issue of Member to Member. For more information, contact Amanda Grimm at agrimm@aad.org.

FDA approves topical treatment for rosacea
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Galderma’s alpha-2 adrenergic agonist brimonidine (Mirvaso) to be used in the treatment of rosacea. Mirvaso is a topical treatment for facial redness in adult rosacea patients only. Read more from the FDA. For more information, contact Amanda Grimm at agrimm@aad.org.

State policy roundup

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 Lisa Albany at lalbany@aad.org.

Political affairs – SkinPAC

AADA launches new SkinPAC website
SkinPAC, the American Academy of Dermatology Association’s (AADA) political action committee, has launched a new website. AADA members can now view which lawmakers SkinPAC is supporting, submit candidate recommendations for SkinPAC support, view pictures of AADA members with lawmakers, and more. Visit www.SkinPAC.org to find out how the AADA’s political action committee is working for dermatology. (Log in using your member ID – without the preceding zeros – and birth date.) For more information, contact Katie Jones at kjones@aad.org.


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