December 12, 2014

Members of the ENT Advocacy Network are advised this will be the final edition of The ENT Advocate for 2014. Follow the AAO-HNS Government Affairs Twitter account or visit the Legislative and Political Affairs webpage for any applicable updates over the holidays and look for the next edition of The ENT Advocate on Friday, January 9, 2015!

Lead Story:
113th Congress Prepares to Adjourn with No SGR Repeal
Lawmakers are debating the final legislative package of the 113th Congress – a massive appropriations bill known as the “Cromnibus.” Despite the size of the bill, it fails to address several outstanding health-related issues, including repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) physician payment formula. As a result, the bipartisan and bicameral repeal bill introduced earlier this year (H.R. 4015/S. 2000) will need to be reintroduced when the 114th Congress convenes on January 6, 2015.

Action Requested:
New Congress, New Opportunities
The New Year is only weeks away, and with it comes renewed opportunities to meet with your Members of Congress, some of which may be newly-elected. Don’t miss the chance to meet locally with members of the 114th Congress to discuss legislative issues important to the specialty. View the 2015 Congressional calendar for upcoming district work periods. For more information or assistance in scheduling your meetings, please visit the Legislative Grassroots webpage or contact govtaffairs@entnet.org.  

Become an ENT PAC Monthly Donor Today!*
Act now to set up your 2015 recurring monthly donation to ENT PAC. Simply fill out the online form, and select the recurring contribution option. Your donations will be processed on the fifth of each month. Please note – one-time online contributions made between now and the end of the year will be attributed to 2014. Recurring contributions initiated between now and the end of the year will not begin until January 5, and will be attributed to 2015.

Informational Updates:
State Trackers: Monthly Calls Begin Next Week
AAO-HNS “State Trackers” are gearing up for another exciting legislative session. The first in a series of monthly state tracker conference calls will be held on Wednesday, December 17, at 8:00 pm EST. The call will include a discussion regarding the expectations of the program, a review of the issues included in our tracking reports, and a refresher on how to use CQ StateTrack reports. If you are interested in this effort to protect the specialty’s interests in your state, contact the Government Affairs team at govtaffairs@entnet.org.

Coalition Urges Lawmakers to Rescind CMS Policy Eliminating Global Payments
On December 2, 29 physician specialty groups, including the AAO-HNS, sent a letter to Congress urging it to rescind a new CMS policy, which would transition 10- and 90-day global period codes to 0-day global period codes. Although a rescission was not included in the final legislative language of the Cromnibus (see Lead Story), the bill does include report language urging CMS to consider further the impact of its proposed policy on patient care and providers.

Republicans Gain Another Senate Seat
On December 6, incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu was defeated in Louisiana’s run-off election by Rep. Bill Cassidy, MD. The race was called relatively early in the evening with Dr. Cassidy having earned 57 percent of the vote. As a result, Republicans will hold 54 seats in the U.S. Senate when the 114th Congress convenes in January. For more information on this and other races, check out the AAO-HNS Federal Elections Center.

From the Health Policy Team:
AAO-HNS Releases Top 100 ENT Services Reported for Calendar Year 2015
In response to popular demand, the Academy has outlined the 100 most frequently reported CPT codes by providers with sub-specialty designation "4-Otolaryngology" within the Medicare enrollment database for CY 2015. Charts are available for both the physician office and hospital outpatient settings.

Now Summarized: 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule
The Academy has summarized key provisions affecting otolaryngology in the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule, including: CMS’ proposals for transitioning global codes, identifying increased values for several esophagoscopy codes, affirming the RUC recommended values for endoscopic Zenker's and VNG codes, and finalizing changes to CMS quality initiatives.

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