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ENT Advocate 3-6-2015

Lead Story:
Comprehensive Audiology Legislation Introduced
On February 26, U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) reintroduced legislation (H.R. 1116 ) designed to align Medicare coverage of comprehensive audiology services with current billing and reimbursement standards for other non-physician therapeutic services (PT, OT, SLP). The bill specifically retains the requirement for a physician referral, as well as physician oversight of plans of care. The Academy supported similar legislation in the 113th Congress after many months of discussion with the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). The AAO-HNS expects to again support H.R. 1116 in the 114th Congress.

Action Requested:
Don’t Miss the ENT PAC “Fun-raiser” at the 2015 AAO-HNS/F Leadership Forum
Are you attending the 2015 AAO-HNS/F Leadership Forum, March 14 – 16, 2015, in Arlington, VA? If so, mark your calendar for the ENT PAC event scheduled for the evening of Sunday, March 15. Enjoy an evening of refreshments, networking, bowling, and bocce at Pinstripes, in Washington, DC. This event is open to all 2015 ENT PAC Leadership Club members (donors of $365+ or $100 for residents). To become an ENT PAC Investor, make your contribution online at www.entpac.org (log-in with your AAO-HNS ID and password).* Contributions will be accepted on-site.     

Spring into Advocacy
The next Congressional district work period is quickly approaching. Members of Congress will return to their districts for spring recess April 1- 10. AAO-HNS members are encouraged to plan now for their In-district Grassroots Outreach (I-GO) event. Sign up to attend a townhall, host a practice visit, or meet locally with your legislators by submitting your I-GO form now or email govtaffairs@entnet.org to schedule a meeting.    

Informational Updates:
ENT PAC In Action
On March 2, ENT PAC hosted a physician community luncheon with U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). Rep. McMorris Rodgers serves in House Leadership as Chair of the Republican Conference. She is the highest ranking female in the GOP. Discussion topics during the lunch included repeal of the flawed SGR formula, changes to 10- and 90-day global payment codes, scope of practice, medical liability reform, and overall strategies for the 114th Congress. Also this week, ENT PAC joined other physician PACs in hosting a “Welcome to Congress” reception for all new Democrat lawmakers in the 114th Congress. A similar event for new Republican lawmakers will take place next month. For more information, contact entpac@entnet.org.

Physicians Endorse Legislation to Repeal Medicare Payment Board
On March 2, U.S. Representatives Phil Roe, MD, and Linda Sanchez, introduced H.R. 1190, the Protecting Seniors Access to Medicare Act. If enacted, this legislation would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), an unelected, generally unaccountable Medicare oversight body mandated by the ACA. The AAO-HNS and others in the physician community strongly support H.R. 1190 and will work to advance the legislation in the 114th Congress. View the coalition press statement here.

Coalition Highlights Concerns Regarding ICD-10 Implementation
A coalition of physician organizations, including the AAO-HNS, this week sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) highlighting concerns regarding implementation plans for ICD-10. For more information on AAO-HNS efforts on this issue, contact legfederal@entnet.org.

Coalition Opposes Cigar Legislation
On March 4, the AAO-HNS and other health-related organizations sent a letter to the U.S. House Representatives expressing opposition to H.R. 662. This legislation would exempt many cigars from regulation under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA). The coalition believes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should retain oversight authority in all tobacco products, including cigars.

From the Health Policy Team:
Experts Needed for Upcoming RUC Survey: Submucosal Ablation of the Tongue Base
The Academy must survey CPT Code 41530 (Submucosal Ablation of the Tongue Base, Radiofrequency, 1 or more sites per session) in preparation for the April 2015 AMA Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) meeting. Your participation is critical to the Academy's efforts in establishing relative value units (RVUs) for this code. Have you performed this service in the past year? Are you willing to participate in the survey? If so, send your name and email to jminton@entnet.org.

New EHR Attestation Deadline for Medicare Eligible Professionals: March 20, 2015
CMS extended the EHR attestation deadline until 11:59 pm ET on March 20, 2015, to allow providers extra time to submit their meaningful use data for the 2014 reporting year. Attest 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.