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This week’s headlines:
Congressional action

AADA supports legislation recognizing role of dermatology in preventative health care
On Oct. 4, the AADA sent a letter commending Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) for introducing legislation that recognizes the role of specialty physicians, such as dermatologists, in providing expert guidance for developing and updating preventive health recommendations. HR 5998, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012, proposes reforms to the current structure and decision-making of the USPSTF, such as the creation of the U.S. Preventive Services Stakeholders Board. Also proposed is a Government Accountability Office report that compares USPSTF recommendations to those from organizations like the AADA.

The AADA has recently worked with the USPSTF on implementing recommendations focusing on skin cancer prevention and limiting UVR exposure. In May, while the task force issued final recommendations recognizing the importance of behavioral counseling on skin cancer prevention for children, adolescents, and young adults, the group failed to recommend the same counseling for all populations, including the adult population. Read more on AADA’s response to the task force’s recommendations on sun-protection counseling.

Federal agency focus

FDA now authorized to collect user fees
As of Oct. 1, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is authorized to collect user fees from sponsors to fund reviews of innovator drugs, medical devices, generic drugs, and biosimilars. The new program is designed to provide the FDA sufficient resources to ensure that new and innovative products are thoroughly reviewed and approved in a timely manner. Funding provides support for trained reviewers who determine whether or not a proposed new drug or product is effective and safe for patients. The FDA Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA), which was enacted in July, also reauthorizes two FDA programs that encourage pediatric drug development, standardizes Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS), and continues to monitor and mitigate drug shortages.

The AADA worked with Congress as the legislation was being drafted to ensure patient safety through the inclusion of a comprehensive, risk-benefit analysis of new products and existing programs. The AADA will continue to monitor the provisions of the law and communicate with FDA officials on issues such as risk management and drug shortages. Read more on the Safety and Innovation Act, and AADA’s advocacy efforts on issues affecting patient safety and drug availability.

HHS to review CMS contracting oversights
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released its Work Plan for fiscal year 2013. The OIG Work Plan, which lists the issues its auditors will review, presents a roadmap of OIG priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. Some of the new audits will build upon previous OIG work with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that identified vulnerabilities in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s (CMS) oversight of its contractors.

Specifically, these new priorities include review of CMS’s Assessment and Monitoring of Performance of Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) — focusing on whether MACs met, did not meet, or exceeded performance standards, and whether or not CMS identified, and MACs addressed, performance deficiencies. Additionally, OIG will also review the overview of CMS’s Contract Management Landscape — addressing CMS’s contract management internal control for contractors carrying out the administration, management, and oversight of CMS’s health programs.

The AADA will continue to monitor the Work Plan and its implications for dermatology. Read the full text of the OIG Work Plan.

State policy roundup

AADA attends Maryland indoor tanning hearing
On Sept. 18, the Maryland Children's Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council held a public hearing to gather comments on regulations for minors using tanning devices. Current Maryland rules require that minors under the age of 18 obtain written parental consent in the presence of an employee of an indoor tanning facility.

Directed by Josh Sharfstein, secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the hearing focused on the health risks associated with tanning devices and use by minors; information on whether or not the state’s consent and age verification procedures are being followed; and recommendations on whether or not to change consent and age verification procedures.

The AADA is working with the Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi) to offer recommendations that would tighten the existing indoor tanning requirements. If the Advisory Council issues recommendations to Sec. Sharfstein to amend the informed consent form or process, there will be another public comment period in the next few months.

AADA offers advocacy assistance to state societies
As the 2012 legislative session is wrapping up in many states, the AADA would like to connect with you about your society’s state legislative plans for the 2013 session and how the AADA can support your efforts. Please contact Lisa Albany or Kersten Burns to learn more about the resources available for state advocacy, or visit the AADA State affairs Web page.

Leadership opportunities

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation seeks health policy fellow applications
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is seeking applications for the 2013-2014 Health Policy Fellows program. The program offers a minimum of a one-year stay in Washington, D.C. for mid-career health professionals with an interest in health and health care policy. Fellows will actively participate in health-policy processes at the federal level and use that leadership experience to improve health, health care and health policy. The deadline for submitting references is Nov. 7. Full applications are due Nov. 14, 2012. Read more about the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellows, or visit the 2013-2014 Call for Applications to find out more on how to apply.

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