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February 7

IN THIS ISSUE / FEBRUARY 7, 2018


Generic drug prices: What to expect in 2018

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 1,027 generic drugs in 2017 ― a record high, says the Administration. According to the FDA, increased competition in the generic drug space could improve drug prices and patient access. “We know that enabling more generic competition, where Congress intended, helps reduce prices, enable more access, and improve public health,” said Scott Gottlieb, FDA commissioner, in October. 

While lawmakers attempt to address this issue, soaring prices for generic drugs have forced some dermatologists to rethink common therapies. Read more about gargantuan growing generic prices in Dermatology World.

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February Access Hero: Dr. Brodell 

brodell-95px.jpgMississippi has about 48 dermatologists for three million people, and some parts of the state — like the Delta — don't have a dermatologist for about 100 miles. Learn how Robert T. Brodell, MD, increased access to dermatology for Delta residents. 

Each month, the Academy highlights members’ diverse efforts to expand access to dermatology. Submit your story at www.skinserious.org.


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CMS expands Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances policy

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated its ‘Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances’ policy for the 2017 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) to include providers located in counties affected by Hurricane Nate and additional counties affected by the California wildfires. According to CMS, “MIPS eligible clinicians in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated areas affected by Northern California wildfires and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate will be automatically identified. No action is required. However, if you are automatically identified but still choose to submit data on two or more MIPS performance categories (either as an individual or group), you’ll be scored on those performance categories and your MIPS payment adjustment will be based on your final score.”

After requiring dermatologists to report one measure one time in 2017 to avoid a 4% penalty in 2019, Medicare has raised the stakes and the requirements in 2018. Read more about MIPS reporting in 2018 in this month’s issue of Dermatology World.

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Network inaccuracies worsen

According to a new report issued by CMS, more than 50% of the online directories that list in-network doctors maintained by Medicare Advantage plans had inaccuracies, such as wrong phone numbers and addresses listed for providers ― an increase from the 45% of directories that had errors in last year’s review.

Inaccuracies aren’t the only troubling trend occurring among provider networks. Read more about the implications of providers’ policies regarding narrowed networks, physician tiering, and squeezed drug formularies in Dermatology World.

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Fewer physicians opting out of Medicare

According to a report released by CMS, the number of providers who opted out of Medicare dropped to 3,732 in 2017 ― down from 7,400 in 2016. While CMS did not offer a reason for this decrease, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) ended the provision requiring providers to renew their opt-out requests every two years. Therefore, opt-out requests are indefinite until a provider requests to re-join.

Increasing federal administrative requirements and regulations may be contributing to physician burnout, say experts. Read more about the sources of dermatologist burnout and mitigating strategies in Dermatology World.

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