January 23, 2015

Lead Story:
House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on SGR Repeal

On January 22, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health concluded a two-day hearing to identify next steps for advancing bipartisan, bicameral legislation to repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The current SGR “patch” expires on March 31, and if no Congressional action occurs, Medicare physician payments will be cut 21.2 percent. Given the critical nature of this legislation, AAO-HNS members are encouraged to bookmark the AAO-HNS Legislative & Political Affairs website and follow the Government Affairs team on Twitter @AAOHNSGovtAffrs for real-time news and updates.

Action Requested:
Meet Your New Member of Congress
Do you have a newly-elected Member of Congress? Schedule a meeting locally and help educate him/her on the specialty’s key legislative issues. February 16-20 is a great opportunity to meet with lawmakers as they return to their districts for the Presidents’ Day recess. Visit the Legislative Grassroots webpage or contact govtaffairs@entnet.org to schedule a meeting.    

Start the Year Off Right – Be One of the First ENT PAC Investors of 2015!*
All things begin anew in January, including investments to ENT PAC, the Academy’s political action committee. ENT Advocacy Network members are encouraged to be among the first ENT PAC Investors for 2015. Log-in to the ENT PAC web page using your AAO-HNS ID (not your email address) and password to make a contribution. Or, send a personal check payable to “ENT PAC” to 1650 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314. Your early support is appreciated!

Be a Leading Advocate in Your State!
The 2015 state legislative session is in full-swing with more than 40 states having convened their terms. State trackers across the nation are already working hard to identify and monitor bills that affect the specialty. Want to help track legislation in your state? Email the Government Affairs team today at govtaffairs@entnet.org!

Informational Updates:
Save the Date: “Virtual Advocacy Day”
On February 4, physician leaders from across the nation will converge on Capitol Hill via a “virtual advocacy day” to stress the importance of passing legislation to repeal and replace the SGR formula. Mark your calendars to tweet, email, and/or call your Members of Congress and let them know the importance of passing this legislation by March 31. More details will be available soon via an all-member email!

AAO-HNS Comments on Possible GME Reform
In a January 16 letter, the AAO-HNS provided comments to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee regarding possible reforms to Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding. In the comment letter, the Academy outlined principles that should guide any new changes to the methodology for GME funding. For more information on this and other AAO-HNS letters, check out the Legislative & Political Affairs website.  

AAO-HNS-Supported Legislation Introduced in 114th Congress
The 114th Congress is well underway, and several pieces of legislation monitored/supported by the AAO-HNS already have been introduced. S. 149/H.R. 160 would repeal the medical device tax, and S. 141 seeks to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). A companion IPAB bill will likely be “dropped” in the House by the end of January.  Follow @AAOHNSGovtAffrs for updates on these items and other healthcare bills being introduced.

State of the Union Highlights
On January 20, President Barack Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address. The speech focused primarily on the economy and education, with only passing mentions of healthcare-related issues. First-term Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) delivered the official Republican response. Click here to read the President’s full remarks.  
 
From the Health Policy Team:
Check Out the Updated Clinical Indicators
Clinical Indicators (CIs) are designed to help members engage in best practices, reduce errors, and improve value. Several CIs have been updated, including: LeFort Fracture; Mandibular Fracture; Ethmoidectomy; Endoscopic Sinus Surgery – Adult; Nasal Endoscopy; and Laryngoscopy/Nasopharyngoscopy. View the full list of updated CIs here.  

Last Chance: ACS/AAO-HNS 2015 Health Policy Scholarship Deadline Is February 2
The American College of Surgeons and the AAO-HNS are pleased to offer an annual shared Health Policy Scholarship. The scholarship is open to members in good standing of both organizations. To learn more about this opportunity, click here.

*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.