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7-10-15 ENT Advocate

July 10, 2015

Lead Story:
AAO-HNS Leads Effort to Oppose “Physician” Status for Audiologists
On July 7, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives received a letter, spearheaded by the AAO-HNS and signed by more than 120 national, state, and local medical organizations, opposing H.R. 2519. As written, H.R. 2519 would provide audiologists with unlimited direct access to Medicare patients without a physician referral and also reclassify them as “limited license physicians” under the Medicare program. Contact your U.S. Representative today via our legislative action alert and urge him/her to oppose H.R. 2519.

Action Requested:
2015 ENT PAC Wall – Ensure Your Name is Included!
Do you want your name prominently displayed as one of the Academy’s key political advocates? The AAO-HNSF 2015 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPOSM is quickly approaching, and ENT PAC staff is already preparing this year’s “PAC Wall” of Investors. Ensure your name is included by making your 2015 ENT PAC investment today! To make a donation, simply visit the ENT PAC webpage (log-in using your AAO-HNS ID and password) or send your personal check payable to “ENT PAC” at 1650 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314.*

Extended Congressional Recess Approaching: Plan Your I-GO Event Today!
Did you miss a chance to meet with your legislators over the Fourth of July holiday? Don’t worry, lawmakers will return to their districts on August 3 for a month-long  recess. Don’t miss this great opportunity to meet with your federal lawmakers at a district office, or better yet, invite them to visit your medical practice or academic facility! Contact govtaffairs@entnet.org to learn more about the In-district Grassroots Outreach (I-GO) program or to request assistance in scheduling your meetings.

Informational Updates:
Academy Supports Legislation to Address Pediatric Specialist Shortage
The AAO-HNS, along with a coalition of healthcare organizations, sent a letter to U.S. Representatives Chris Collins (R-NY) and Joe Courtney (D-CT) endorsing H.R. 1859, the “Ensuring Children’s Access to Specialty Care Act of 2015.” This legislation would help address the shortage of pediatric medical subspecialists, pediatric surgical specialists, and pediatric mental health specialists by modifying the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment program to allow pediatric subspecialists working in underserved areas to participate.    

Annual BOG Legislative Conference Call
On July 15, the BOG Legislative Affairs Committee will host its annual Legislative Conference Call – an open session for all BOG state society leadership and society administrators. Participants will receive updates regarding important federal legislation, ENT PAC, the State Trackers program, and ongoing grassroots initiatives. If you would like additional information regarding the call, please email govtaffairs@entnet.org.

IOM Hosts Public Workshop on Hearing Health
On June 30, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) convened the second public workshop of the Committee on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care for Adults. The Committee seeks to examine federal regulations for non-surgical hearing aid dispensing and address the affordability of non-surgical devices and services. The Committee is receiving testimony from various stakeholders and collecting additional data to prepare its comprehensive report for spring 2016.

Coalition Opposes Weakening Tobacco Control Act (TCA)
On July 7, the AAO-HNS joined a coalition of healthcare and consumer groups in sending a letter to Congress opposing the House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2016. As written, the bill would weaken the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) and limit the FDA’s authority to protect citizens from unregulated and untested tobacco products.

From the Health Policy Team:
CMS Announces Efforts to Make ICD-10 Transition Smoother for Physicians
This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new efforts to help physicians get ready ahead of the October 1 ICD-10 deadline.  In response to requests from the provider community, CMS is releasing additional guidance that will allow for flexibility in the claims auditing and quality reporting process as the medical community gains experience using the new ICD- 10 code set. FAQs about the new efforts are now available.

*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.