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Members of Congress call on HHS to address barriers to data sharing

Oct. 12, 2018

Several members of Congress have joined a sign-on letter calling on HHS Sec. Alex Azar to address barriers to data sharing between qualified clinical data registries (QCDR) and electronic health record (EHR) systems. The letter raised concerns about EHR vendors’ practices that are blocking the transfer of data between EHRs and QCDRs. The letter also notes that QCDRs can facilitate reporting under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), by saving time and reducing the paperwork burden on physicians. Improving data sharing between EHRs and QCDRs was one of the AADA’s legislative “asks” at its 2018 Legislative Conference.

Click here to read the letter.

Congress passes legislation creating streamlined prior authorization process for drugs

Oct. 4, 2018

Congress has passed legislation that would require CMS to create a standardized electronic process for Medicare prior authorizations for medically necessary drugs in Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D participating plans. A standardized electronic form would help shorten the turnaround time for decisions, encourage plans to allow for electronic prior authorization (ePA), and require detailed explanations and clinical rationale for denials and adverse determinations.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) lobbied in support of this provision and it was one of the legislative “asks” at the 2018 AADA Legislative Conference. This language was included as part of the Substance Use–Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (HR 6). The legislation has been sent to President Trump to be signed into law.

AADA statement on MACRA and MIPS for E&C Health Subcommittee

July 26, 2018

In a statement for the U.S. House of Representatives' Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee oversight hearing entitled “MACRA & MIPS: An Update on the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System,” the AADA shared its concerns regarding cost performance, detailed needed changes to the Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) measures approval process, discussed ongoing difficulties with electronic health record (EHR) vendors and data blocking, and highlighted additional ways to reduce physician burden.

Click here to read the letter.

AADA comments on Administration’s plan to lower drug prices

July 12, 2018

The AADA today submitted its comments on the Trump Administration's Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs. Patient access to affordable treatments and transparency in drug pricing are top priorities for the Academy.

In its comment letter, the AADA details the increasing complex drug pricing process for both generic and specialty medications. Among its comments, the AADA advocates for transparency in how Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) operate in setting drug prices and lifting the "gag clause" by health insurance providers and PBMs that restricts pharmacists from informing patients that a certain drug is cheaper if paid out-of-pocket rather than through insurance. The AADA also supports changes to streamline and reduce delays for prior authorizations in Medicare and encourages further action by the Food and Drug Administration to address ongoing drug shortages.

Click here to read AADA comments on the Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs.

Proposed CMS rule overhauls E/M visit codes, reduces modifier 25 payment

June 12, 2018

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today released its proposed 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rule, which also includes changes to its proposed policies for the 2019 Quality Payment Program (QPP) established under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). In addition to proposing an overhaul of evaluation and management (E/M) visits, the AADA is very concerned that CMS also is proposing a payment reduction for E/M visits billed with a procedure.

AADA staff continues analyzing the proposed rule and plans to submit comments to CMS by Sept. 10, 2018. This Academy webpage includes the AADA's initial topline analysis of the proposed rule, and will be updated with additional details following further review. Information will also be made available in Dermatology World Weekly.

AADA submits statement on MACRA implementation

March 21, 2018

The House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Health held an oversight hearing today entitled "Implementation of MACRA's Physician Payment Policies." The AADA submitted a statement for the committee hearing record, which highlighted ongoing concerns with 1) attribution of costs under the cost performance category of the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS); 2) concerns regarding the measures approval process for Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDRs) like DataDerm; and 3) the blocking of electronic health record data from being accessed by QCDRs. Read the statement.

AMA announces prior authorization Consensus Statement

January 17, 2018

The American Medical Association (AMA) announced a Consensus Statement along with the American Hospital Association (AHA), America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) which outlines a "shared commitment to industry-wide improvements to prior authorization processes and patient-centered care." The Consensus Statement indicates that the organizations will work to reduce the number of health care professionals subject to prior authorization requirements; regularly review the services medications requiring prior authorization, improve channels of communications, protect continuity of care for patients, and accelerate industry adoption of national electronic standards for prior authorization. The AADA has long advocated for efforts to lessen the burden of prior authorization.

 Visit the AMA's website for more information on the Consensus Statement.

AADA comments on 2018 Medicare physician fee schedule & Quality Payment Program/MACRA rules

December 29, 2017

The AADA submitted comments on the 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule as well as the final rule for the 2018 Quality Payment Program (QPP), established under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). Both rules were released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in November.

Click here to read the AADA's comments on the 2018 Medicare Physician Free Schedule rule.

Click here to read comments on the 2018 Quality Payment Program/MACRA rule.

2018 Medicare physician fee schedule & Quality Payment Program/MACRA rules out today, House passes IPAB repeal

November 2, 2017 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today released the 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rule as well as the final rule for the 2018 Quality Payment Program (QPP), established under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). CMS indicates these rules reflect the agency’s broader strategy of relieving regulatory burdens for providers, particularly for small and solo practices. Additionally, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed legislation repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which would be charged with making significant cuts to Medicare when government spending on the program reaches a certain threshold. Much of what is being announced today reflects wins for the Academy, and is a result of the AADA’s regulatory relief priority and advocacy over the past 10 months.

Read the AADA breaking news alert with more information. While the House today passed legislation repealing IPAB, it is unclear whether the Senate will also act. Send a letter to your Senators in favor of IPAB repeal through the AADA’s Advocacy Action Center.

Academy comments on proposed ’18 Fee Schedule

September 7, 2017

The AADA has submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) its comments on the proposed 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, which was released in July.  In its comments letter, the AADA requests a number of technical changes to the proposed valuation of specific codes, recommends that CMS accept RVU Update Committee (RUC)-recommended times and RVUs, and expresses concern regarding prior authorization requirements, drug pricing, and modifier 25 payment reduction policies.  The AADA also indicates its full support of CMS’ proposal to reduce the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) requirements of 6 measures down from the current program policy of 9 measures.  In addition, the AADA appreciates that CMS proposed to accept our recommendation to reduce the maximum Value Modifier penalty in 2018 from 4% to 2%.

Click here to read AADA comments on the proposed rule.  The final 2018 Fee Schedule rule is expected to be released in November. 

AADA sends regulatory relief recs to Medicare Red Tape Relief Project

August 25, 2017 

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) today sent a letter to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee offering recommendations for the Committee’s Medicare Red Tape Relief Project ― an initiative that seeks to mitigate burdensome Medicare regulations. Among several recommendations, the AADA suggested the streamlining of drug prior-authorization requirements.

Regulatory relief for physicians recommended by lawmakers to HHS Secretary Price

May 24, 2017 

With the support of the AADA and other organizations that are members of the Physicians' Regulatory Relief Coalition, a bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, MD, expressing their support for regulatory relief for physicians.  This letter was sent before the release of the Medicare physician fee schedule, which is set to take place this summer. 

In their letter the lawmakers recommend that HHS consider: reducing the potential penalties provided for under the Value-Based Payment Modifier, adopting broader Electronic Heath Record (EHR) “Meaningful Use” (MU) Hardship Exemptions, and easing the burdens of the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS).  Click here to read the letter.

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.