February 14

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IN THIS ISSUE / FEBRUARY 14, 2018


A win for dermatology: Congress repeals IPAB, misvalued codes policy

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Congress has repealed the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) and stopped an effort to extend the misvalued codes policy ― two top legislative priorities for the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA). IPAB created the potential to impose indiscriminate new payment cuts on physicians, while the misvalued codes policy required CMS to cut the Medicare Fee Schedule by 0.5% by correcting ‘misvalued’ codes or through across-the-board cuts. The repeal of IPAB and the halted misvalued codes policy were included in the stopgap funding bill that funds the government through March 23. These successes culminate efforts by hundreds of AADA members who lobbied their members of Congress at the AADA’s Legislative Conferences and engaged in grassroots calls to action, as well as the AADA’s comment letters to congressional leaders.

Additionally, the legislation includes AADA-supported provisions that:

  • Relieve MACRA burdens through adjustments to MIPS, and eliminate mandates that EHR standards become more stringent each year.
  • Expand access to telehealth services within Medicare Advantage beginning in 2020.
  • Fund Community Health Centers for two years.

Read more about the full effects of this legislation on dermatology at www.aad.org

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Vote in the AAD election by March 3 

lim-henry-95px.jpgBy Henry W. Lim, MD, FAAD
Academy President

Mark your calendars, because on February 17 voting opens for the 2018 AAD election. The Academy has established a two-week timetable for members to cast their ballots, so make sure you vote by March 3.

I cannot overstate the importance of voting in your Academy election. By casting your vote, you are playing an important role in determining the direction that the Academy will take when addressing the challenges and issues facing dermatology in the years ahead. 

Our specialty will be facing a long list of challenges and opportunities, and it will be up to your Academy leaders to guide the specialty when:

  • Managing onerous regulations and administrative burdens, 
  • Defending against inappropriate payment policies,
  •  Advocating for truth in advertising and strengthened scope of practice regulations,
  • Protecting our patients’ access to treatments and dermatologic care, and 
  • Encouraging policymakers to promote skin cancer prevention.

The Academy recently announced the slate of candidates for the 2018 election. I encourage all members to visit the AAD election site to learn more about the candidates, and don’t forget to take the time to vote between February 17 and March 3.


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Are machines poised to replace physicians?

Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have trained computers to interpret text reports written by radiologists. Computer software was fed more than 96,000 radiologist reports related to head CT scans conducted at Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai Queens, and the computers achieved 91 percent interpretation accuracy. Researchers used algorithms to train the computer software to identify phrases such as phospholipid, heartburn, and colonoscopy.

A similar study was conducted in 2017 that looked at the use of deep neural networks for skin cancer classifications. Should dermatologists fear machine learning, or are concerns over their impending obsolescence unwarranted? Read more in this month's issue of Dermatology World.

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Countdown to official Medicare card transition

Starting April 1, 2018, CMS will begin replacing the Social Security number-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) with a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) on the new Medicare cards. The agency has implemented a public education campaign about the change and has developed tools and resources for providers to use when educating patients about the change. CMS expects that practices will be able to start transitioning to the new MBI identification system in April 2018. During this period, CMS will accept either the HICN or the MBI for CMS claim adjudication. CMS will only accept claims with the MBI listed starting Dec. 31, 2019. Are you ready for the new Medicare cards? Take the quiz in this month’s issue of Dermatology World.

The switch from Social Security numbers to MBIs may help protect patients from identity theft, but what can you do now to protect your information? Read more about how to protect yourself and your practice from a cybersecurity breach in this month’s issue of Dermatology World. Also, check out the Academy’s Guide to HIPAA and HITECH for Dermatology Manual and learn more about the steps you need to take to protect your patient data and avoid a breach. 

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Do pediatric psoriasis patients have a greater risk of developing obesity?

According to a paper published in JAMA Dermatology, compared to children without psoriasis, pediatric patients with psoriasis are at greater risk of developing obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension hyperlipidemia, polycystic ovarian syndrome, nonalcoholic liver disease, and elevated liver function enzyme levels. Researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study of claims data on 29,957 children with psoriasis and 29,957 children without psoriasis. Cases were divided into four groups ― non-obese patients without psoriasis, non-obese patients with psoriasis, obese patients without psoriasis, and obese patients with psoriasis ― and evaluated for comorbidities. According to the paper, “Children with psoriasis were significantly more likely to develop each of the comorbidities than those without psoriasis,” however, “Obesity was a strong risk factor for development of each comorbidity, even in those without psoriasis.”

What advice should dermatologists give psoriasis patients about CV risk? Find out in Dermatology World. Also, check out the Academy’s Practical Approaches to Assessing Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Patients in Clinic and assess your skills in pediatric dermatology in the Academy’s new Essentials of Pediatric Dermatology module.

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