February 21, 2014

Lead Story
Audiology Direct Access Legislation Introduced in 113th Congress

On February 11, the “Access to Hearing Healthcare Act” (H.R. 4035) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on behalf of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA). If enacted, H.R. 4035 would provide audiologists with unlimited direct access to Medicare patients without a physician referral, leading to increased healthcare costs and significant patient safety issues. The AAO-HNS strongly opposes H.R. 4035 and has sent a letter to Congress outlining our concerns. AAO-HNS members are encouraged to support our advocacy efforts on this issue by contacting their U.S. Representatives via our legislative action alert.

Action Requested
Mark Your Calendars!

With the next Congressional district work period scheduled for March 15-23, AAO-HNS members are encouraged to participate in the Academy’s I-GO program by attending a townhall, hosting a practice visit, or meeting with a legislator in his/her district office to discuss important issues, including repeal of the SGR formula or the recently introduced direct access legislation. Simply contact govtaffairs@entnet.org for more information and assistance in scheduling your local meeting!

Help the Academy Help You - Donate to ENT PAC
Ensure the strength of the Academy’s ongoing advocacy efforts by donating to ENT PAC, the non-partisan, issue-driven political action committee of the AAO-HNS. Rest assured 100 percent of your contribution will be used to help elect pro-otolaryngology candidates. Send your personal check (payable to “ENT PAC”) to 1650 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314, or make your contribution online at www.entpac.org (log-in with your AAO-HNS ID and password).*    

Informational Updates
Legislative Win - Congress Signals Support for Long-Term SGR Reform

Last week, the AAO-HNS joined with 113 national specialty and state medical societies to send a letter encouraging lawmakers to focus their efforts on advancing the recently introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment formula instead of relying on another short-term SGR “patch.” As a result of these efforts, Congress passed a “clean” debt ceiling bill, and the continued focus will remain on permanent repeal of the SGR.

Surgical Groups Support SGR Repeal Legislation
On February 18, 17 members of the Surgical Coalition (including the AAO-HNS) sent a letter to leaders of the Senate Finance, House Ways & Means, and Energy and Commerce Committees indicating the group’s collective support for H.R. 4015/S. 2000, legislation to permanently repeal the flawed SGR formula. These bills represent the foundation for a new Medicare payment system designed to better incentivize the delivery of high-quality, efficient healthcare. Bookmark the AAO-HNS Legislative & Political Affairs webpage for updates and news.

Fore! Don’t Miss the ENT PAC “Fun”raiser at the 2014 AAO-HNS/F Leadership Forum
Are you attending the new 2014 AAO-HNS/F Leadership Forum, February 28 – March 3, 2014, in Alexandria, VA? If so, be sure to mark your calendar for the ENT PAC event scheduled for the evening of Sunday, March 2. Enjoy a night of drinks, food, networking, and golf (for all skill levels) at the premiere golfing experience, Top Golf. This event is open to all 2014 ENT PAC Leadership Club members (donors of $365+ or Residents $100). For more information, contact entpac@entnet.org.*

From the Health Policy Team
Meaningful Use Attestation Deadline Extended from February 28 to March 31

CMS announced that the original attestation date for Medicare Meaningful Use in 2013 has been extended from February 28 to March 31 of this year. CMS delayed the date due to problems experienced by providers limiting submission of attestation data. Click here to see the announcement.

Academy Signs onto AMA Letter Regarding Backlogged Medicare Appeals
On February 12, the Academy signed onto an AMA letter sent to the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) regarding its delayed adjudication of provider appeals to Medicare audits.  

*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.