March 20, 2015

Lead Story:
SGR Repeal Vote Imminent - Contact Congress NOW!
Legislation that would permanently repeal the flawed SGR physician payment formula is expected to be voted on by Congress sometime next week. We are closer than ever to finally ridding ourselves of the flawed SGR formula and achieving greater stability within the Medicare program. Contact your lawmakers today and urge them to vote “yes” on this critical legislation for the specialty and your patients!

Action Requested:
Keep the Momentum Going - Donate to ENT PAC*
Thank you to all the 2015 AAO-HNS/F Leadership Forum attendees who made contributions to ENT PAC during the event. Your generosity raised $28,000 this past weekend and will ensure we retain a strong collective voice on Capitol Hill. Did you miss the meeting, but still want to show your support for ENT PAC in 2015? Visit www.entpac.org or send your personal check (payable to “ENT PAC”) to 1650 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314.

I-GO, You Go!
At the recent AAO-HNS/F Leadership Forum, attendees learned more about the Academy’s In-district Grassroots Outreach (I-GO) program and received information about how to sign-up for a meeting with local lawmakers. Interested in getting involved? Submit an I-GO form or email govtaffairs@entnet.org, and the AAO-HNS Government Affairs team will help you schedule a meeting with your Members of Congress today!

Informational Updates:
Physician Groups Urge Congress to #FIXSGR
This week, more than 700 physician organizations, including the AAO-HNS and nearly 50 state/national otolaryngology societies, sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging permanent repeal of the failed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Unless Congress acts, physicians in the Medicare program face a 21 percent cut to payments on April 1.

AAO-HNS Supports Sensible Audiology Legislation
On March 11, the AAO-HNS sent a letter to U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) outlining the Academy’s support for H.R. 1116, the Medicare Audiology Services Enhancement Act of 2015. If enacted, H.R. 1116 would better align Medicare coverage of comprehensive audiology services with current billing and reimbursement standards for other non-physician therapeutic services (PT, OT, SLP). The bill also specifically retains the requirement for a physician referral, as well as physician oversight of plans of care. The AAO-HNS worked collaboratively with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to draft identical legislation in the 113th Congress.

Lawmakers Express Concern Regarding Global Payment Code Transition
The AAO-HNS joined a coalition of healthcare organizations in support of a Congressional “Dear Colleague” effort led by U.S. Representatives Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) and Ami Bera, MD (D-CA). The letter expresses concerns regarding provisions in the 2015 Final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule that would transition 10- and 90-day global period codes to 0-day global period codes in 2017 and 2018, respectively. If this policy is implemented, it could have a wide-ranging impact on patients, physicians, hospitals, and third-party payers.

From the Health Policy Team:
AAO-HNS Signs Surgical Coalition Letter Urging Appointment of Surgeon to MEDPAC
There are currently no surgeon members on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). Given that several Commission members’ terms expire in April 2015, the Academy recently signed onto a Surgical Coalition letter requesting that a surgeon be appointed to MedPAC this year. View the letter here.

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