April 17, 2015

Lead Story:
Gone, Gone, Gone—SGR Repeal Legislation Signed by President
April 16 was a historic day for the physician community, as President Obama signed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA)—the last step in the long road to permanently repealing the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) physician payment formula. This landmark legislation was passed in both the House and Senate with solid bipartisan majorities and addresses several of the AAO-HNS’ legislative priorities. In addition to repealing the SGR formula, the bill rescinds the new CMS policy to transition all 10- and 90- day global payment codes to 0- day codes and consolidates reporting for current performance-based programs (PQRS, VBM, and EHR MU) into a unified Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). For more information or to review a section-by-section summary of H.R. 2, visit the AAO-HNS Legislative & Political Affairs website.

Action Requested:
ENT PAC – Your Dedicated Voice on Capitol Hill
It’s time to officially move “SGR” from our list of legislative priorities to our list of victories! Throughout the SGR repeal process, ENT PAC has been the specialty’s constant voice on Capitol Hill and a strong supporter of many of the lawmakers who negotiated the final legislative package to repeal the SGR formula. Help ensure we are able to keep this momentum going by becoming a 2015 ENT PAC Investor. Log-on to www.entpac.org using your AAO-HNS member ID and password (not your email address) to make a contribution online, or send your personal check (payable to ENT PAC) to 1650 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314.*

Summertime Advocacy – Plan Your I-GO Event Today!
The summer months are near, which means myriad picnics, parades, and local gatherings are ahead. Members of Congress are well known for making “appearances” at such events. Take advantage of this great opportunity to meet your elected officials and raise the visibility of key legislative issues impacting your patients and the specialty. The next scheduled Congressional district “work periods” are May 2-9 and May 22-31. Visit the Legislative Grassroots webpage for more details or contact govtaffairs@entnet.org to schedule a meeting.    

Informational Updates:
Thank You For Your Tireless Efforts
Repealing the SGR formula is a major legislative victory that wouldn’t have happened without years of unrelenting advocacy from the medical community and tireless grassroots involvement from our members. Thank you to the of AAO-HNS members who contacted their lawmakers on behalf of the specialty. You helped to ensure our collective voice was heard on Capitol Hill!

Federal “Truth-in-Advertising” Legislation Introduced
On April 13, U.S. Representatives Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) and David Scott (D-GA) introduced H.R. 1741, the “Truth in Healthcare Marketing Act of 2015.” If enacted, this legislation would help mitigate patient confusion by improving transparency in healthcare advertisements by requiring all healthcare providers to disclose their credentials and/or level of training in all marketing materials. The AAO-HNS is a strong supporter of the bill and will be working closely with others in the physician community to identify cosponsors for H.R 1741 in the 114th Congress.

To Run or Not to Run, That is the Question!
Have you considered running for elected office, but don’t know where to start? Attend the 2015 Specialty Physician & Dentist Candidate Workshop, July 10-11, in Washington, DC. This special two-day seminar provides a forum where you’ll learn every aspect of running for office, including: building grassroots support, adeptly speaking to the media, raising money, and more. The multi-year effort to repeal the SGR formula shows that this nation needs the expertise and leadership of physician legislators. For more information on the workshop, email govtaffairs@entnet.org.  

From the Health Policy Team:
CMS Responds to Sign-On Letter Regarding Medicare Advantage
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently responded to a sign-on effort involving several organizations, including the AAO-HNS, that urged more accountability with Medicare Advantage health plans. CMS took several of the group’s concerns into consideration and will put forth a number of solutions going forward. View the letter.

HHS’ New Healthcare Payment Learning Action Network
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established an ambitious new network formed to facilitate joint implementation of new models of payment and care delivery. AAO-HNS staff participated in the first working session of the new network and will continue to monitor for best practices, and other learning opportunities.

*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.