ENT Advocate: 7-11-14

July 11, 2014

Lead Story:
Support for Audiology Direct Access Wanes in Congress

Despite pressure from members of the audiology community, Congress’ interest in advancing legislation to provide audiologists with unlimited direct access to Medicare patients without a physician referral continues to wane. Since 2007, the number of Members of Congress supporting (via cosponsorship) this legislation has dropped by 79 percent. Help us maintain this positive momentum by contacting your federal legislators and urging them to oppose this ill-advised proposal.

Action Requested:
Congress Begins Final Session Before August Recess 
Members of Congress returned to Washington, DC, on Monday, July 7, for a final four-week session prior to adjourning for the annual five-week August recess. This DC work period is widely viewed as the last real legislative push before lawmakers pivot into full “campaign mode” prior to the November elections. Congress is tentatively scheduled to only meet briefly for its September session. The August recess is a great opportunity to meet with your federal lawmakers at their district offices or engage them at your practice in a more relaxed setting. Contact govtaffairs@entnet.org to learn more about the In-district Grassroots Outreach (I-GO) program and/or request assistance in scheduling your meetings.

Wall of Fame
Do you want your name prominently displayed as one of the Academy’s key political advocates? The AAO-HNSF 2014 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPOSM is quickly approaching, and ENT PAC staff has already begun preparing this year’s “PAC Wall” of Investors. Ensure your name is included by making your 2014 ENT PAC investment today! Members have until August 8 to make a contribution and guarantee their name will be included. Donate today!*

Accept the 2014 “Fair Share” Challenge
Join the ENT PAC team by accepting the “Fair Share” Challenge. Successful political advocacy is a team-effort, and it’s time we all did our fair share. A contribution of at least $100 (or more) makes an immediate impact and helps ensure we are well-positioned on Capitol Hill now, and in the future. To make your contribution today, log-on to www.entpac.org using your AAO-HNS ID and password (not your email address) or send your personal check (payable to ENT PAC) to 1650 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314.*

Informational Updates:
Save the Dates – Government Affairs Events in Orlando
Don’t miss several opportunities to receive legislative and political updates at the AAO-HNSF 2014 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPOSM. Mark your calendar for these “insider” events:

• BOG Legislative Affairs Committee meeting – Saturday, September 20, 1:00-2:45 pm, Room 105. 
• ENT PAC luncheon with special guest, U.S. Representative Michael Burgess, MD: Exclusive event for members of the ENT PAC Chairman’s Club ($1,000+ donors) and winners of the 2013 SRF Advocacy Involvement Campaign - Monday, September 22, 11:30 am-1:00 pm, OCCC West Building, Room 108A. 
• ENT PAC Investors "thank-you" reception - Monday, September 22, 7:30 - 8:30 pm, location TBD.

Can’t make any of these events? Stop by one (or both) of the Advocacy booths conveniently located on the West Concourse Level 2 or outside Hall B. See you in Orlando!

Truth in Advertising Survey Reveals Improved Awareness of Otolaryngology’s Role 
A recent survey conducted by the AMA’s Scope of Practice Partnership, of which the AAO-HNS is a member, found that while patients strongly support a physician-led healthcare team and legislative “truth in advertising” initiatives, confusion still exists about the education and training of some healthcare providers. View the survey to learn more about the public’s understanding of the roles of otolaryngologists and audiologists.

Election Season is Ramping Up - Visit the AAO-HNS Elections Center
June marked a busy month for primary elections, and July is shaping up to be just as exciting, with several run-off elections scheduled to take place. The results of these tight races will help determine the overall political landscape for the mid-term elections in November. Special note – AAO-HNS member Robert E. Johnson, MD (aka Dr. Bob), a Republican candidate in Georgia’s 1st Congressional district, will face a run-off election on July 22. AAO-HNS members are encouraged to visit the AAO-HNS Federal Elections page for updates throughout the election season.

From the Health Policy Team:
CMS Issues 2015 Proposed Rules for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and Hospital Outpatient/Ambulatory Surgical Centers 
Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and 2015 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) proposed rules. The Academy is reviewing both rules and will provide detailed summaries in the coming weeks.

CMS Issues 2015 Proposed Rule that Would Exclude Medicare Coverage of Bone and Air Conduction Hearing Aids
CMS recently published a proposed rule focusing on the 2015 end-stage renal disease (ESRD) prospective payment system (PPS) and the Durable Medical Equipment Prosthetics Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) fee schedule. Notably, part of the rule specifies that the Medicare reimbursement exclusion for hearing aids will now encompass all types of air conduction and bone conduction hearing aids (external, internal, or implanted). The Academy is currently reviewing the rule and members are encouraged to “stay tuned” for further updates.

*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.