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ENT Advocate 1-9-2015

January 9, 2015

Lead Story:
114th Congress Convenes
January 6 marked the swearing-in day for the 114th Congress. Among the lawmakers taking the oath of office were 58 new members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 11 new members of the U.S. Senate. The first several months of the session will be action-packed, with Congress facing several critical deadlines in the first quarter. These include renewed efforts to repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) physician payment formula before the current “patch” expires on March 31. For more information on other key issues in the 114th Congress, visit the AAO-HNS Legislative & Political Affairs webpage.

Action Requested:
Start the Year Strong
The 114th Congress has convened and is poised to begin consideration of several critical health-related pieces of legislation. Help ensure your ENT PAC is ready to “hit the ground running” this session by renewing your PAC Investor status this month! Send your personal check (payable to “ENT PAC”) to 1650 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314, or make a contribution online at www.entpac.org (log-in with your AAO-HNS ID and password). Remember—via an online contribution you have the option to divide your overall 2015 donation into an automatic monthly amount.*

New Congress, New Friends
With the new year comes a new Congress and additional opportunities to meet with your legislators, some of which may be serving their first terms on Capitol Hill. Don’t miss the chance to meet locally with members of the 114th Congress to discuss the legislative issues important to our specialty. View the 2015 Congressional calendar for upcoming district work periods. For more information or assistance in scheduling your local meetings, visit the Legislative Grassroots webpage or contact govtaffairs@entnet.org.  

New Year’s Resolution – Join AAO-HNS Government Affairs on Social Media
Consider making a belated New Year’s resolution to join the AAO-HNS Government Affairs on social media and receive timely legislative and political updates throughout the year. You can follow us on Twitter @AAOHNSGovtAffrs, friend us on Facebook, or connect with us on LinkedIn. Make sure you’re “in the know” regarding this year’s healthcare related issues.

Informational Updates:
State Legislatures Convening
State legislatures across the nation are gearing up for the 2015 legislative session. With more than 40 states convening by the end of the month, it is important to get an early start on our efforts to identify and monitor potentially harmful bills. Want to help track legislation in your state? Email the Government Affairs team at govtaffairs@entnet.org to find out how you can help the specialty in your state today!

Surgeon General Confirmation
On December 15, 2014, the U.S. Senate confirmed—after a lengthy delay—Surgeon General nominee, Vivek Murthy, MD. Dr. Murthy was first nominated by President Obama in November 2013. A Boston-area physician, Murthy is the youngest physician to serve in this role.  

From the Health Policy Team:
UHC Maintains Coverage of Balloon Sinus Ostial Dilation
In response to a request for input on United Healthcare’s draft balloon sinus ostial dilation medical policy, Academy leaders held a conference call with their highest level policy leaders. After a productive discussion about the benefits of balloon sinus ostial dilation, UHC announced continued coverage with a new policy effective April 1, 2015.

Academy Comments on 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule
On December 30, the Academy submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule. The comments address several specific payment policy issues affecting otolaryngology–head and neck surgery.

*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.