June 13, 2014

Lead Story:
Game Changer – Shocking Loss for U.S. House Majority Leader
On Tuesday, U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R VA-7) lost his primary election to candidate Dave Brat. As a result of this stunning defeat, Leader Cantor announced he will resign his leadership position effective July 31. House Republicans are expected to hold elections for Majority Leader and Majority Whip on June 19.

Action Requested:
I-GO: An Advocacy “Stay-cation”
From June 30 – July 7, Members of Congress will be in their states for a district work period. AAO-HNS members are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to meet locally with their lawmakers to discuss important issues impacting their patients, their practices, and the specialty. Contact govtaffairs@entnet.org to learn more about the I-GO program and to request assistance in scheduling your meetings.

Turn the Heat Up On Capitol Hill
As the summer heat sets in, it’s time to turn up the temperature on Congress and let your voice be heard!  Help us make an impact by joining the ENT PAC team. To make your contribution today, visit www.entpac.org (log-in with your AAO-HNS Member ID and password) or send your personal check (payable to ENT PAC) to 1650 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314.*

Informational Updates:
AMA HOD Meeting Showcases AAO-HNS SGR Video
During this week’s American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates (HOD) meeting, the failed attempt by Congress to permanently repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula was a hot topic of discussion. At the Opening Session, the AAO-HNS video detailing the physician community’s disappointment with the latest SGR patch was showcased for the meeting’s attendees. 

BOG Society Leaders Join Annual BOG Legislative Conference Call
On Wednesday, Paul Imber, DO, Chair of the BOG Legislative Affairs Committee, moderated the annual BOG Legislative update conference call – an open session for all BOG state society leadership and society administrators. Participants were briefed on important federal legislation, ENT PAC, the State Trackers program, and ongoing grassroots initiatives. If you would like additional information regarding the call, please email govtaffairs@entnet.org.

AAO-HNS Submits Joint Comments on ACA Provider “Non-Discrimination” 
The AAO-HNS joined a small healthcare coalition in submitting comments to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) regarding its interpretation of the ACA provision relating to provider non-discrimination. In the letter, the coalition emphasized a need to balance efforts to meet the non-discrimination purposes of § 2706(a) while also ensuring health plans and insurance issuers have sufficient flexibility in selecting their provider panels to preserve safe, efficient, and quality care for their beneficiaries. 

AAO-HNS Supports CPRD Treaty
The AAO-HNS, as part of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance (DHHA), sent a letter to Congress supporting ratification of the “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” (CPRD) treaty. The principles of the CRPD include equality, non-discrimination, inclusion in society, accessibility, and respect for inherent dignity for people with disabilities.

Coalition Urges FDA Regulation of All Tobacco Products
The AAO-HNS joined a coalition of healthcare and consumer groups in sending a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives expressing opposition to any amendment that would exempt cigars from regulation under the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. For more information on this and other coalition letters, check out the re-designed AAO- HNS Legislative & Political Affairs webpage.

From the AAO-HNS Health Policy Team:
Another Academy Win: Cigna Reverses Policy Denying Cerumen Removal Claims
After learning from members that Cigna, among other payers, was denying claims when CPT 69210 was billed in conjunction with any office based Evaluation and Management (E/M) CPT code (99211-99215), the Academy sent letters to Cigna disputing its flawed policy. We are pleased to announce that Cigna has now changed this policy such that any claim with modifier 25 that was denied will be reprocessed, and going forward, providers will reimbursed when modifier 25 is appended, with no documentation necessary with submission.

Struggling to Demonstrate Meaningful Use for 2013?
If you are unable to successfully demonstrate Meaningful Use (MU) for 2013, you may be able to submit a hardship exemption to CMS by July 1, 2014, to avoid a payment adjustment in 2015. All applications must include documentation which demonstrates MU would be a significant hardship, and if approved, the exemption is valid for one year. Review the Exemption Requirements.

*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.