November 13, 2015

Special Note: Due to the Thanksgiving Holiday, the next edition of The ENT Advocate will be December 11. Please visit or follow us @AAOHNSGovtAffrs for updates.

Lead Story:
Audiologists Urge Congress to Support “Physician” Status
On November 12, members of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) were on Capitol Hill soliciting support for H.R. 2519, the “Audiology Patient Choice Act.” If enacted, H.R. 2519 would provide audiologists with unlimited direct access to Medicare patients by removing existing physician referral requirements and amend the Social Security Act to grant audiologists “limited license physician” status within the Medicare program. For patient safety reasons, the AAO-HNS strongly opposes this misguided proposal and, on Wednesday, urged Academy Members to counter ADA’s efforts on Capitol Hill. Even if you missed this “call to action,” you can still make your voice heard by contacting your U.S. Representative today!

Action Requested:
435 Representatives + 100 Senators = PROJECT 535
Help the AAO-HNS improve its outreach and effectiveness when major issues impacting the specialty, like H.R. 2519 referenced above, are debated by Congress. PROJECT 535 is a new initiative to recruit a “key contact” for each U.S. Senate and House Congressional seat. Sign up today!

Plan Your I-GO Event TODAY
With the holidays come inevitable political conversations with family and friends. Get the latest “insider” information by meeting locally with your lawmakers! For more information on the Academy’s In-district Grassroots Outreach (I-GO) initiative, or assistance in scheduling your meeting, contact the Legislative Advocacy Team at

Don’t Be a Turkey - Donate to ENT PAC*
It’s almost the end of the year, but it’s not too late to make your 2015 ENT PAC donation! Log-in to using your AAO-HNS ID (NOT your email address) and password to make an immediate contribution. Or, send a check (payable to ENT PAC) to 1650 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314.*

Informational Updates:
POTUS Signs Two-Year Budget Deal
Last week, President Obama signed a budget deal that suspended the debt limit until March 2017 and partly addressed a looming increase to Medicare beneficiary premiums. While the package also reduced the risk of a government shutdown this year, it did not completely remove it, as the President and Congress must agree on how to fully fund the government by December 11. Follow the AAO-HNS Legislative Advocacy team on Twitter for more.

Physician Organizations Urge Congress to Lead on MU
On November 2, the AAO-HNS joined 120 physician organizations in sending a letter to Congress expressing concern with the Administration’s decision to proceed with implementation of Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use (MU) program. The letter also urges Congress to take the lead in refocusing the MU program to its original intent of interoperability of electronic health records.

Prominent Member of Congress Announces Retirement
On Friday, November 6, U.S. Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA) announced he will not seek re-election in 2016. Representative Pitts currently serves as the Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health. Pitts joins a growing number of key House leaders opting not to seek re-election in the next election cycle.

Other AAO-HNS Informational Updates:
Save the Date! AAO-HNS/F 2016 Leadership Forum & BOG Spring Meeting
Mark your calendars to join leaders of the specialty for a rewarding weekend of networking, mentoring, and policy discussions. The AAO-HNS/F 2016 Leadership Forum & Board of Governors (BOG) Spring Meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 18 – Monday, March 21, in Alexandria, VA.

*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.