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The ENT Advocate - December 2, 2016

Orthopaedic Surgeon Named Secretary of Health & Human Services
This week, President-Elect Donald Trump named U.S. Representative Tom Price, MD (R-GA), an orthopaedic surgeon, to serve as the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS). Dr. Price is the current Chairman of the House Budget Committee and has been a longtime champion for the physician community. The AAO-HNS is looking forward to working with Dr. Price in this new capacity. In addition, Seema Verma was named the next Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Ms. Verma has specialized in Medicaid issues and has close ties to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence. She designed Pence's Medicaid expansion model, known as Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0.

Wrapping Up the 114th Congress
This year’s election teed up a four-week lame duck session of Congress. With several priorities delayed until the new Congress convenes in January, both chambers are working to wrap up business by passing a yet-to-be-introduced Continuing Resolution that will avoid a government shutdown and fund the federal government until the spring. Assuming negotiations go smoothly, the House is expected to end its legislative session by December 9, with the Senate adjourning the following week. The 115th Congress convenes January 3, 2017, and President-Elect Trump will be sworn in on January 20.


Action Requested


PROJECT 535 Needs YOU!
In addition to the Academy’s overall advocacy efforts, PROJECT 535 volunteers help reinforce the Academy’s message by establishing one-to-one relationships with federal elected officials. This year, PROJECT 535 volunteers assisted with advocacy efforts related to in-office physician compounding, EHDI reauthorization, and global surgical payments. As the AAO-HNS prepares for the 115th Congress, please review the list of new Members of Congress and let us know if you would like to change your coverage or develop a relationship with an incoming lawmaker. Sign up today or contact for more information. 

Preparations Underway for 2017 State Legislative Sessions-Volunteers Still Needed!
The AAO-HNS State Tracker program has grown to include more than 130 volunteers covering 43 states. However, more volunteers are needed, especially in Alaska, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah. No experience with state legislatures? Not a problem! The Academy’s staff will be there to guide you through the process. Our first State Trackers conference call is scheduled for Wednesday, December 14, at 8:00 pm EST, so now is the time to to sign up or learn more!

Initiate Your 2017 Monthly ENT PAC Contribution TODAY!*
Interested in supporting ENT PAC in 2017, but don’t want to make a lump-sum contribution? Problem solved! Initiate a recurring (monthly) contribution and enjoy your PAC Investor benefits throughout the duration of the year. Simply visit the ENT PAC Online Giving Page and complete the form using the “Monthly” contribution option. The first charge for all recurring contributions initiated between December 6 and December 31 will occur on January 5, 2017.  With healthcare-related issues expected to top the list of priorities in the 115th Congress, your early support is appreciated! For more information, contact


AAO-HNS Informational Updates


Save the Date - AAO-HNS/F 2017 Leadership Forum & BOG Spring Meeting
Mark your calendars to join leaders of the specialty for a rewarding weekend of networking, mentoring, and policy discussions. The AAO-HNS/F 2017 Leadership Forum & BOG Spring Meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 10 – Monday, March 13, in Alexandria, VA. While the meeting registration is free for AAO-HNS Members who are otolaryngology practitioners, registration – which will open in mid-December – is required. Visit the meeting’s website for additional information.


Other Updates


Targeted Grassroots Push Urges Senate Action on EHDI
The AAO-HNS Legislative Advocacy team thanks the ENT Advocacy Network members and PROJECT 535 volunteers who contacted their Senators on the Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, as part of the latest round of targeted outreach toward reauthorizing the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Act. Due to political tensions and competing priorities, it is unclear if the legislation will be enacted this year. If action is required in the 115th Congress, our Members advocacy efforts have helped to build a strong foundation of support to enable the AAO-HNS to “hit the ground running” when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill in January. 

HUD Finalizes Smoke-free Public Housing Rule
On November 30, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) finalized a rulerequiring public housing developments in the United States to provide a smoke-free environment for their residents. The AAO-HNS applauds HUD’s effort to mitigate the impact of second-hand smoke and submitted comments in support of the effort in January 2016. HUD will assist Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) in implementing this important change over the next 18 months.

AAO-HNS Supports Registry/EHR Provisions in 21st Century Cures Act
As part of the Physician Clinical Registry Coalition, the AAO-HNS strongly supported provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act passed by the U.S House of Representatives earlier this week and scheduled for a vote in the U.S. Senate next week. The provisions supported by the Coalition are designed to encourage and facilitate the exchange of clinical outcomes data between electronic health record (EHR) technologies and “clinician-led clinical data registries,” including language to promote interoperability of clinical data and prevent EHR vendors from blocking the transmission of such data to third parties.