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Safeguarding FDA's Regulation of Tobacco Products
It was a busy week regarding ongoing efforts to ensure the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) retains the authority to regulate tobacco products. On May 4, the AAO-HNS joined nearly 50 health-related organizations in sending a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee in opposition to two provisions in the House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The letter urges the Committee to reject provisions that would exempt several types of tobacco products from FDA regulation. And, May 5 marked the release of the Administration’s much-anticipated Final Deeming Rule to extend its authority to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco, and pipe tobacco, among others. The AAO-HNS, in collaboration with the PARTNERS coalition, is reviewing the rule and will provide additional information in the near future.

Crunch Time for ENT PAC 
Election season is here, and your help is needed to ensure the specialty’s voice remains strong amid all the hoopla. ENT PAC is that voice on Capitol Hill—successfully protecting the specialty’s interests on issues such as:

  • Repealing the flawed SGR physician payment formula.
  • Securing a Meaningful Use Hardship Exemption for the 2015 reporting year.
  • Fighting scope-of-practice battles, protecting patient safety, and ensuring audiologists are not deemed “physicians” under Medicare.
  • Reauthorizing the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program.

If you have benefitted from one or more of the above-named achievements, please consider a contribution today.*

PROJECT 535: Next Steps
Project 535 is off to a great start! Since its September 2015 launch, the program now boasts otolaryngologists as “key contacts” in more than 50 percent of Congressional districts. With your help, we can achieve our next goal of 60 percent. Sign up today!

Upcoming I-GO Opportunities
Legislators are scheduled to return to their states/districts for Memorial Day through the first week of June and June 27-July 1. Contact the Academy’s Legislative Advocacy staff to schedule your local In-district Grassroots Outreach meeting today!

AAO-HNS EVP/CEO Testifies Before the FDA
On April 21, James C. Denneny III, MD, the Academy’s EVP/CEO, testified at an FDA workshop entitled “Streamlining Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) for Hearing Aids.” Panelists addressed the proposed stratification of hearing aids included in a recent PCAST report, the ability of consumers to self-diagnose/monitor mild-to-moderate age-related hearing loss, the role of hearing health professionals, and the necessity of a medical evaluation. The AAO-HNS will be cataloging the arguments presented by the various panelists in preparation for the June release of an IOM report on hearing health.

Second State Raises Minimum Smoking Age
On May 4, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a series of bills aimed at curbing tobacco use in the state. Of particular note is a bill raising the state’s minimum smoking age to 21. Hawaii was the first state to make such a change, having passed a similar bill in 2015.

AAO-HNS Signs Letter Regarding Physician Compounding
The AAO-HNS joined a coalition letter  opposing the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) proposed position on physician compounding. The opposition letter was sent to all state medical boards and outlines the unintended consequences of the FSMB’s proposal on patient care.

VA Health Subcommittee Consideration of H.R. 353
On April 29, the House VA Health Subcommittee held a mark-up that included consideration of H.R. 353, a bill regarding the role of hearing aid specialists in the VA. Due to proposed changes to the bill, the AAO-HNS has temporarily withdrawn its support of the legislation and provided the Subcommittee Chairman, U.S. Representative Dan Benishek, MD, with a letter articulating our concerns. It is anticipated that discussions with Congressional staff will occur in May to address our concerns and amend the bill prior to a Full Committee vote.

WIO Section Endowment Accepting Grant Applications
The Women in Otolaryngology (WIO) Section Endowment is currently accepting grant proposal applications to address issues that promote the professional development of women in otolaryngology. All members of the AAO-HNS are encouraged to apply and are eligible to receive funding. Deadline for submissions is Monday, May 9.