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Senate Committee approves Dr. Price

February 1, 2017
The Senate Finance Committee has approved the nomination of Tom Price, MD, to serve as secretary of HHS. Dr. Price's nomination will now go to the full Senate for a vote.

A vote on Dr. Price's approval was delayed yesterday in the Senate Finance Committee after committee Democrats boycotted the vote. The Committee rules require that at least one Democratic member must be present for the Committee to proceed. However, today Committee Republicans agreed by unanimous consent to temporarily change the committee’s rules, thereby allowing the committee to vote in favor of approving Dr. Price.


Senate committee to vote on Dr. Tom Price for HHS Secretary

January 30, 2017
The Senate Finance Committee this week is expected to approve Tom Price, MD, to serve as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Trump Administration. Read more.


2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule released

November 2, 2016
CMS released the 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule Nov. 2, 2016. While providing overall a 0% increase in dermatology payments, the fee schedule also contains important developments for dermatology, such as a modified reporting burden on global periods. Learn more about the final fee schedule.


CMS announces new MACRA physician payment rule

October 14, 2016
The new MACRA rule takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, with “ramp up” time for physicians who wish to participate; participating physicians could see as much as + 4% bonus payment in 2019. Read more.


Congress introduces resolution urging childhood skin protection

September 13, 2016
The Academy submitted a letter of support for H. Res. 854, a resolution supporting state, local, and community initiatives to encourage parents, teachers, camp counselors, and child-care professionals to take measures to prevent sunburns in the minors and to support efforts to curb the incidences of skin cancer beginning with childhood skin protection. Read the letter.


CMS announces new flexibility on MACRA, final rule to be released this fall

September 8, 2016
CMS announced the agency's plans to allow providers to “pick their pace” for participating in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) that was created under the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act (MACRA). The proposal outlines several options for physicians to report in the first year of the program while avoiding penalties. Read more.


AAD comments on 2017 Fee Schedule

August 30, 2016
The Academy submitted comments to CMS on the proposed 2017 Medicare Fee Schedule. Read the letter.


AADA voices dermatology’s concerns to CMS and congressional leaders about the proposed MACRA rule

July 27, 2016
The AADA is leading an aggressive effort to share our perspective and secure changes in the final rule that will enable dermatologists to succeed as Medicare moves from a pay-for-volume to a pay-for-value system. Read more.


AADA opposes VA proposal

July 26, 2016
The American Academy of Dermatology Association submitted a letter opposing the Department of Veterans Affairs’ proposal to allow full practice authority for all VA advanced practice nurse practitioners (APRNs) because it contradicts the physician-led, team-based care model and unnecessarily preempts state collaborative agreement requirements. Read the letter.


Academy submits input to FDA on compounding

July 19, 2016
The Academy submitted input to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to its draft guidance on:


CMS releases proposed rule that would maintain 90-day reporting period for Meaningful Use

July 7, 2016
CMS released a proposed rule that would maintain a 90-day reporting period for the EHR Meaningful Use program in 2016. The “Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs; Organ Procurement Organization Reporting and Communication; Transplant Outcome Measures and Documentation,” was published just hours before the Proposed Rule for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule was also released. 

Maintaining a 90-Day Reporting Period for the Meaningful Use (MU) Program in 2016 has been a top priority for the Academy. As part of an informal coalition, the Academy has been engaged with CMS and Congress since the start of the year to move from the full year of reporting requirement to a 90-day reporting period for MU in 2016.

In March, the Academy joined the attached letter to CMS requesting a 90-day reporting period for 2016. Due to coalition efforts, in April, Members of Congress introduced the bipartisan and bicameral (House and Senate) “Flexibility in Electronic Health Record Reporting Act” (S.2822/H.R.5001), which would allow physicians to demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records in 2016.

The Academy supported the legislation upon introduction and sent the attached letters to all original sponsors and co-sponsors. Academy grassroots was activated on the legislation with an all member alert sent on April 28. The legislation’s introduction as well as the grassroots action was featured in DermWorld Weekly on April 27. The grassroots activity resulted in 1,482 letters sent to 297 Members of Congress by 418 dermatologists.


Dermatology to see 1 percent payment increase from Medicare in 2017 under proposed rule

July 7, 2016
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the proposed 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. While the overall impact of the proposed rule is a 1 percent increase in payments for dermatology, the American Academy of Dermatology Association is assessing the impact of several elements of the rule, including two related to global periods. Read more.

For a detailed summary of the rule, go to www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2016-Fact-sheets-items/2016-07-07-2.html.

In a separate proposed rule, CMS indicated that it will reduce the reporting period for meaningful use of electronic health records in 2016 from a full year to 90 days. The AADA advocated strongly for this change.


Academy calls for MACRA delay, expansion of exception criteria

June 28, 2016
The comment period requesting feedback on CMS’s Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization (MACRA) proposed rule has come to a close. CMS received a deluge of comments from the medical community, including the AADA. In its comment letter, the AADA is requesting that CMS delay implementation of the MACRA rule from Jan. 1, 2017, to Jan. 1, 2018. The proposed rule outlines sweeping changes to Medicare payments and quality reporting — instituting two Medicare participation tracks: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the Advanced Alternative Payment Model program. The proposed rule stems from provisions required in the MACRA law that repealed and replaced the sustainable growth rate formula in 2015. The final rule is expected to be released in November 2016.

Specifically, the Academy requested that CMS modify the low-volume threshold — that would exempt physicians from participating in MACRA — to those whose Medicare billing charges are $75,000 or less and provide care for 750 or fewer Part B-enrolled Medicare beneficiaries, as opposed to $10,000 or 100 patients per physician. Additionally, the AADA asked CMS to shorten the reporting period from one year to three months and reduce the reporting requirement from 80 percent of MIPS eligible clinicians’ patients to 50 percent. Read more from the AADA’s comment letter. Find out more about how the proposed rule will affect your practice in the May 4 issue of Dermatology World Weekly.


Projected Medicare expenditures for 2017 will not trigger IPAB action

June 28, 2016
According to a report released by Medicare’s trustees, Medicare’s trust fund will remain solvent until 2028. The report also noted that based on the projected spending levels for Medicare in 2016, the five-year average growth in spending will not exceed the level that would trigger the need for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to make recommendations on reducing Medicare expenditures. The IPAB, created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is tasked with containing Medicare costs if they exceed certain levels. No members have been appointed and spending has not yet exceeded the target at which recommendations would be required.

The IPAB is not the only piece of the ACA that has affected patients and physicians. The development of the health insurance marketplace has increased the number of insured patients — but the newly insured often have high-deductible plans. Read more about getting paid in the age of high deductibles in Dermatology World.


FDA releases final guidance on compounding using bulk drug substances

June 9 , 2016
The FDA released its final guidance titled “Interim Policy on Compounding Using Bulk Drug Substances Under Section 503A of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.” The AADA asked the FDA to finalize its proposal to not take enforcement action against bulk substances, such as canatharidin, that FDA had approved for inclusion on the bulk substance list but additions had not been finalized through notice-and-comment rulemaking in the Federal Register. Read the AADA's comment letter.

In the final guidance, the FDA stated that it understood that the administrative process could be causing “unnecessary and inappropriate disruptions in patient care” and finalized its non-enforcement policy where the bulk drug substance nomination included adequate information for FDA evaluation and the substance does not appear to present significant safety risks. 


AADA testifies on in-office compounding

June 3, 2016
On Friday, June 3, Dr. Bruce Brod, chair of the Congressional Policy Committee, presented testimony at the FDA on compounding. Read Dr. Brod's testimony.


AADA fights to preserve in-office ancillary services exception

May 9, 2016
The AADA and members of the specialty community are strongly opposing the Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act. The bill calls for repeal of the in-office ancillary services exception (IOASE). If enacted, the legislation would severely limit patient access to life-saving pathology services provided within coordinated care models. While the AADA does not expect any movement on the bill during this year’s Congressional session, it will continue to monitor discussions and fight to preserve dermatopathology services for patients Read the comment letter.


CMS releases proposed rule detailing major changes to Medicare payments and quality reporting

April 27, 2016
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed rule, “Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Model (APM) Incentive under the Physician Fee Schedule and Criteria for Physician-Focused Payment Models,” that details sweeping changes to the way dermatologists will be reimbursed in a post-Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) era. The AADA submitted extensive comments to CMS during its request for information period. Read our initial summary, and stay tuned for additional analysis. 


Congress seeks to ease EHR headaches

April 20, 2016
The AADA is backing new legislation that would ease reporting requirements for meaningful use (MU). Congress has introduced the Flexibility in Electronic Health Record Reporting Act that would shorten the reporting period for demonstrating MU of electronic health records (EHRs) to 90 days. Currently, physicians are required to demonstrate meaningful use for a full year. If passed, the legislation would provide much-needed relief for physicians who are spending an extra hour each day sifting through emails related to their EHR systems. Use the AADA’s Dermatology Advocate Network to send an email urging your member of Congress to pass the bill. 


Provider groups urge CMS to consider private payer pathways for APMs

April 18, 2016
AADA and groups from across the House of Medicine are calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure that private sector payment alternatives can continue and have a defined pathway to meet the Alternative Payment Model (APM) criteria. Read the AADA's joint letter with physician organizations.


Senators laud FDA proposal to restrict minor access to indoor tanning

April 19, 2016
A group of Senators are applauding the Food and Drug Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf for the agency’s work to protect minors from the harms associated with indoor tanning. In a letter that the AADA worked to facilitate, the Senators state, “These build upon the regulations finalized in 2013 that provided better information to consumers about the harmful effects of these devices. We believe these new proposed rules combined are a tremendous step to protect young Americans from ultraviolet radiation and curb the spread of skin cancer.” The AADA thanks Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). Read the full letter


Stakeholders press FDA to adopt unique suffixes for biosimilars

May 1, 2016

The AADA signed onto a letter encouraging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to adopt meaningful suffixes for biosimilars. This letter is a response to FDA’s adoption of a random suffix for the second biosimilar approved Inflectra (infliximab-dyyb). The groups state that “Meaningful suffixes are easier for patients, providers and pharmacists to both recognize and remember, thus facilitating accurate association between adverse events and specific products."


AADA responds to FSBM compounding draft statement

April 19, 2016
The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) House of Delegates is considering a draft position statement on sterile compounding in physicians’ offices. The AADA wrote a comment letter explaining how limitation to non-sterile preparations could impede access to care and interfere with the patient-physician relationship. The statement has been referred to committee for further consideration. Read the comment letter.

 


Cancer moonshot needs robust federal funding

April 14
The AADA – with advocates from the cancer community – is urging Congress to support the President’s moonshot initiative by providing robust federal funding for cancer research, prevention and education programs.