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This week’s headlines:
Congressional action

AADA president urges members to meet with lawmakers and candidates; AADA prepares to take dermatology’s message to Capitol Hill
Last month, AADA President Daniel Siegel, MD, challenged members to meet with their elected officials and local candidates to educate them on the current issues facing dermatology practices and patients. Next week, more than 100 dermatologists and patient advocates will do just that and travel to Washington, D.C., to offer a united voice to their elected representatives in Congress on important issues regarding Medicare payment cuts, the scope and reach of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the dangers of indoor tanning, and the need to preserve patient access to the full range of care that dermatologists are uniquely qualified to provide.

Even if you are not able to travel to Washington, D.C., next week, you can still participate by raising these issues with representatives and candidates in your community and state. A new online resource is available to assist members who are interested in engaging with their elected officials and 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 on 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

AADA submits comments on CMS 2013 Physician Fee Schedule
The AADA submitted comments on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule on Aug. 31. The AADA expressed concern over CMS’ delay in finalizing the Physician Work RVU values for 2013. The AADA also advocated for expansion of reimbursement for telehealth services to include dermatology store-and-forward telehealth encounters, and offered CMS recommendations on its proposal to provide care coordination payments to physicians. The AADA provided additional comments on quality reporting initiatives, electronic prescribing, and physician feedback reports — the policy issues that made up the bulk of the proposed rule. CMS is expected to release its final rule with an additional comment period in November.

Draft comparative effectiveness methodology report released for comment
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has released its draft methodology report for public comment. The report sets out standards and methods that can be used to develop comparative effectiveness research (CER). When finalized, the methodology report will serve as a guideline for researchers seeking grants from PCORI. The extensive report, which was produced by PCORI’s 17-member Methodology Committee, addresses standards for formulating research questions, patient-centeredness, research prioritization, general and crosscutting methods, causal inference, heterogeneity of treatment effects, missing data, data networks, adaptive trials, data registries, and diagnostic tests.

It is critical to ensure that CER is designed, conducted, and analyzed optimally so that it can be clinically relevant and inform health care decision making. The methodology report, as it evolves over time, will play a major role in development of CER because of PCORI’s role in funding research. PCORI recently announced the approval of 50 research-funding awards, totaling $30 million over two years, through its Pilot Projects Program. Additional funding of other projects will follow. The AADA Government Affairs staff anticipates submitting comments on the draft report prior to the Sept. 14 deadline. For more information, visit the PCORI website.

FTC approves generic industry’s drug shortage initiative
On Sept. 5, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the Accelerated Recovery Initiative (ARI). Proposed by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA), the initiative seeks to help the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) efforts to mitigate the alarming number of reported drug shortages. GPhA plans to work with IMS Health Incorporated, a health care analytics, management and consulting firm, to collect information from manufacturers of drugs that are in short supply about their current and projected production and supply schedules. IMS will use this information, and available market data, to analyze whether, and to what extent, the anticipated supply of a given drug is likely to fall short of the projected demand over the next several months. This information and analysis will be provided to FDA staff to assist in their efforts to mitigate a drug shortage.

While the information collected is proprietary, the ARI program proposal provides a number of safeguards to prevent antitrust concerns. The new ARI program will be used in addition to FDA’s current strategy for mitigating drug shortages which includes urging manufacturers to notify the FDA of any potential supply shortage, increasing staff on the FDA’s drug shortage management team, and implementing and maintaining a database that can analyze the characteristics of drug shortages. Learn more about the drug shortages impacting dermatology.

State policy roundup

Indoor tanning ordinance passes in Springfield, Ill.
By a 7-3 vote, the Springfield City Council passed an ordinance to prohibit youth under age 18 from using indoor tanning devices at salons in Springfield. The ordinance — which was supported by the AADA and the Illinois Dermatological Society via written comments — was recently endorsed by the Sangamon County Medical Society. Following Chicago, Springfield is the second local jurisdiction in Illinois to prohibit minors from indoor tanning. The ban takes effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

2013 AADA State Advocacy Grant deadline approaching
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 AADA State affairs Web page.

CalDerm, others defeat bill intended to reverse MICRA protections
In the final hours of the 2011-12 legislative session, CalDerm, the California Medical Association, Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP), and other members of the pro- Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) coalition, successfully defeated S.B. 1528 and other legislation that would have weakened MICRA. These bills aimed to increase the medical damages that could be recovered in personal injury cases, jeopardizing MICRA’s long-standing protections. Under S.B. 1528, plaintiffs could have recovered the value of medical services, rather than the amount charged. As a result of CAPP’s successful lobbying, the final vote was 13-43.

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