November 14, 2014

Lead Story:
Legislative Action Alert - Tell Congress Its Work Is NOT Done on SGR Repeal!

With Members of Congress having returned to Capitol Hill this week, now is the time to urge swift action to permanently repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Contact your federal legislators TODAY and urge them to pass H.R. 4015/S. 2000 during the lame-duck session. It only takes a couple of minutes to make a difference!

Action Requested:
Get a Jump Start on the 114th Congress
As we countdown to the start of the 114th Congress, help ensure the strength of our specialty’s voice on Capitol Hill by becoming an ENT PAC Investor today! Log-in to www.entpac.org using your AAO-HNS ID (NOT your email address) and password to make an immediate contribution. Or, send a personal check (payable to ENT PAC) to 1650 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314.*

Help Wanted: State Trackers
Are you interested in learning more about healthcare-related legislation in your state? Volunteer to be a state tracker and help protect the specialty’s interests on your home turf! We have yet to identify a volunteer “tracker” in Alaska, Idaho, Mississippi, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Wyoming – leaving these states vulnerable to ill-advised legislative proposals. With the 2015 legislative session is just around the corner, contact govtaffairs@entnet.org to get involved today.

“Follow” AAO-HNS Government Affairs on Twitter
Stay current on what is happening during the lame-duck session by following @AAOHNSGovtaffrs on Twitter. Make it your go-to resource for the latest news on leadership elections, lame-duck agenda items, and so much more! Are you a resident or fellow-in-training? Follow us and get one point in the Residents and Fellows-in-Training Involvement Campaign.

Informational Updates:
Election Day Recap
With the Election Day dust settling, it’s time to look ahead to next year. When the 114th Congress convenes in January, Republicans will enjoy their largest majority in the U.S. House of Representatives since the Truman Administration and assume control of the U.S. Senate. In the coming weeks, lawmakers will officially select their leaders and vie for coveted spots on “A” Committees in both the House and Senate. Want more information on last week’s mid-term elections? Visit the AAO-HNS Federal Elections Center to access key resources.

AAO-HNS Represented at the AMA House of Delegates Interim Meeting
This year’s AMA House of Delegates Interim Meeting was held November 8-11 in Dallas, TX. As outlined in the AMA’s bylaws, specialty organizations such as the AAO-HNS are allotted a certain number of voting delegates every year based upon the combined Academy and AMA memberships. The AAO-HNS Delegation for 2014 includes three delegates: Liana Puscas, MD (Delegation Chair); Shannon Pryor, MD; and Michael S. Goldrich, MD. In addition, Robert Puchalski, MD, and David R. Nielsen, MD, serve as alternate delegates. The AAO-HNS appreciates their continued leadership on behalf of the specialty!

From the Health Policy Team:
Advocacy Efforts Push CMS to Clarify Hearing Aid Exclusion in Final DMEPOS Rule
After discussions with Academy leaders and others in the hearing healthcare community, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) revised its proposal to designate auditory osseointegrated implants (AOI) as hearing aids, which would have excluded them from Medicare coverage. The final rule for Durable Medical Equipment Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DEMPOS) will allow for the longstanding coverage of AOIs to continue.

CMS Issues 2015 Final Rule for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule
On October 31, CMS released the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) final rule. Key provisions include: transitioning global codes, identifying increased values for several esophagoscopy codes, affirming the RUC recommended values for endoscopic Zenker's and VNG codes, and finalizing several changes to CMS quality initiatives, including two new PQRS measures groups for AOE and sinusitis. The Academy will provide a detailed summary in the coming weeks.

*Contributions to ENT PAC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Contributions are voluntary, and all members of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery have the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. Federal law prohibits ENT PAC from accepting contributions from foreign nationals. By law, if your contributions are made using a personal check or credit card, ENT PAC may use your contribution only to support candidates in federal elections. All corporate contributions to ENT PAC will be used for educational and administrative fees of ENT PAC, and other activities permissible under federal law. Federal law requires ENT PAC to use its best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and the name of the employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year.