March 14

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IN THIS ISSUE / MARCH 14, 2018


FDA approves anti-fungal agent for pediatric patients

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved expanded use of the topical azole anti-fungal agent luliconazole (Luzu) 1% for patients 12 years and older with interdigital tinea pedis and tinea cruris. Additionally, the FDA approved the expanded use of luliconazole for patients two years and older with tinea corporis that was caused by Trichophyton rubrum and Epipdermophyton floccosum.

While the expanded use of luliconazole may be good news for physicians and their young patients, many older patients are searching for a resolution to their stubborn fungal nail infections. Read more about diagnosing and treating onychomycosis in Dermatology World.

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Bruce H. Thiers, MD, selected incoming president-elect in 2018 Academy election 

theirs-bruce-95px.jpgBruce H. Thiers, MD, FAAD, has been elected president-elect of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology Association. Dr. Thiers earned his medical degree from SUNY/Buffalo School of Medicine, where he completed his dermatology residency. He currently serves as distinguished university professor and chairman emeritus at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery. Dr. Thiers will be installed as president-elect in March 2019 and hold the office of president for one year beginning in March 2020. 

DW Weekly: What excites you most about assuming the role of Academy president? 
Dr. Thiers: Dermatology is changing rapidly, not only from an administrative and regulatory standpoint, but also in the way we treat patients. We have phenomenal new tools to combat diseases that were once considered unmanageable. At the same time there are external forces that attempt to deny our freedom to make treatment decisions that are in the best interests of our patients. I relish the challenge to assure that our patients get the best care from those most qualified to provide it, board-certified dermatologists.

DW Weekly: What motivated you to run for president? 
Dr. Thiers: I am fortunate to have served the Academy in many capacities, most notably as a member of the Scientific Assembly Council (now Committee) from 1996-2000, including chairing the Y2K meeting in San Francisco, as a member of the Board of Directors from 2000-2004, subsequently serving as Vice-President in 2006, and most recently as JAAD Editor from 2008-2018. These have been the most rewarding experiences in my career in dermatology, and I look forward to continuing to advocate for our specialty as AAD President.

DW Weekly: What are the top issues that you plan to focus on as president? 
Dr. Thiers: Clearly the greatest challenge facing dermatology, and indeed all of medicine, is the loss of control, specifically in how we run our practices and how we treat our patients. Government regulation, escalating drug prices, declining physician reimbursement, insurance company oversight, PBMs dictating treatment, mid-level providers practicing without supervision, non-dermatologists posing as dermatologists, and a cumbersome MOC program — these are but a few of the hurdles we face. These are not issues dermatology can address alone. With an energized membership, collaboration with other specialties, and the support of our patients, we can and will prevail.

The following candidates have also been elected:  
Vice President-Elect: Susan C. Taylor, MD, FAAD 

Board of Directors:                         

  • Adelaide Hebert, MD, FAAD                          
  • Alexander Miller, MD, FAAD 
  • Cyndi Yag-Howard, MD, FAAD 
  • Larry Green, MD, FAAD 

 Nominating Committee Member Representative: Wilma F. Bergfeld, MD, FAAD 


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Open Payments review starts next month: Are you ready?

Beginning in April, physicians will have 45 days to review and dispute the 2017 payments or transfer-of-value records that are attributed to them on the Open Payments system. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will offer an informative Medicare Learning Network event today about the Open Payments Program and the upcoming review, dispute and correction processes. For those who cannot call in to the event, an audio recording and transcript will be available. Visit the event page for more information and visit the Medicare Learning Network to register for the event before 12 pm Eastern on March 14.

The Open Payments program, also known as the Sunshine Act, represents the recent push to increase transparency in health care. While physicians are provided the opportunity to review their data and dispute it before the information goes live, some may be concerned that the reported information has the potential to be misinterpreted. Read more about the effects of data divorced from context in Dermatology World.

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Melanoma incidence among young, white women declines drastically

According to a recent report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the incidence of melanoma among white women ages 15 to 24 has declined an average of 5.5% each year from January 2005 to December 2014. While the CDC did not identify the cause of such a drastic decline, it did indicate that “melanoma is often caused, in part, by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and indoor tanning devices” and that national surveillance data indicate that the use of indoor tanning has recently decreased.

Dermatology has been a leader in the fight for increased regulations on sunlamp products. Read more in Dermatology World and stay tuned for the May issue of Dermatology World for an update on where things stand with indoor tanning legislation. Also, check out the Academy’s robust skin cancer prevention resources through the SPOT Skin Cancer™ initiative. 

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New Medicare cards: Educate your patients while they wait

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed a video that physicians can use in their waiting rooms to educate their patients about the new Medicare cards. The one-minute video tells patients when and how they will receive the new card and is available on YouTube and in opened caption and 1080p formats.

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. CMS expects that practices will be able to start transitioning to the new MBI identification system in April 2018. During the transition 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 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 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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FDA to inspect Cantrell Drug Co. compounding facility

The Cantrell Drug Co. has made an agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that will allow the agency to inspect the company’s compounding operations while the company remains open. The FDA recently issued a news release alerting health care professionals and patients not to use compounded drugs from the Cantrell Drug Company that stated, “The agency is concerned about serious deficiencies in Cantrell’s compounding operations, including its processes to ensure quality and sterility assurance that put patient safety at risk.” On Feb. 28, the U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the FDA, sued to stop Cantrell Drug and McCarley from manufacturing or selling products that the FDA alleged were unsafe. The Cantrell Drug Co. is a 503B compounding facility that produces benzocaine, lidocaine, and tetracaine (BLT).

Read more about the compounding guidelines that pit safety concerns against patient access in this month's issue of Dermatology World

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Pulse check: How are EHR systems faring on interoperability?

According to a recent survey conducted by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) on behalf of Humana, many electronic health record (EHR) systems are still not capable of interoperability. The HFMA interviewed 117 senior financial executives and found that only 33% of hospital leaders indicate that their facility’s EHR system is ‘highly capable’ of interoperability.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced two new programs aimed at providing patients improved access to their medical records. CMS Administrator Seema Verma recently announced the MyHealthEData initiative that will allow patients to gain access to their health records through “the device or application of their choice.” Similarly, CMS plans to institute the Blue Button 2.0 initiative that will allow Medicare beneficiaries to “access and share their personal health data in a universal digital format.”

Looking to purchase a new EHR system? Learn more about the dos and don’ts of adopting new technology in your practice in Dermatology World.

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