March 21



Walgreens sued over generic drug prices


Walgreen Co. has been ordered to face a proposed class-action lawsuit that alleges that the pharmacy chain overcharged customers for generic drugs for 10 years. The U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois indicated that the plaintiffs plausibly allege that Walgreens required customers who were insured by private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid to pay more than members of the company’s direct-pay Prescription Savings Club. The lawsuit also claims that Walgreens misled their insurers by reporting higher prices when seeking reimbursement.

What’s happening with drug prices and what's being done to bring costs down? Find out in Dermatology World.

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March Access Hero: Dr. Chong

chong-95px.jpgAt Dallas’s largest safety-net hospital, wait times for a dermatology appointment were up to one year. Learn how Benjamin F. Chong, MD, reduced wait times by 31%.  
Each month, the Academy highlights members’ diverse efforts to expand access to dermatology. Submit your story at

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Help wanted: AAD Pruritus Measure Testing Project

The Academy is seeking participants in its new Pruritus Measure Testing Project. Participants will be asked to provide data on four quality measures on pruritus. There is a process and outcome pruritus measure for dermatitis and a process and outcome pruritus measure for psoriasis. Participants will collect and report patient reports of itch using a validated assessment tool. The Project will launch in the spring and a small stipend will be provided for participants. Learn more about the Academy’s Pruritus Measure Testing Project.

Dermatologists are no strangers to patients with itch. Read more about the dermatologic conditions that can cause itchy scalp in Dermatology World.

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Deadline for 2017 MIPS data submission

Plan on submitting data for the 2017 MIPS performance period? Mark your calendar, as the deadline for 2017 data submission for MIPS is March 31. As DW Weekly reported in February and March, the deadline for 2017 data submission for groups reporting via the CMS web interface was March 16. However, the deadline for 2017 data submission for all other MIPS reporting, including via, is March 31

Find out what your colleagues are doing to prepare for MIPS reporting this year in Dermatology World.

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New poll shows patient-physician communication disconnect

According to a survey of 2,007 patients between the ages of 50 and 80, physicians and patients may disagree about the medical necessity of tests and medications. The study, conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, found that one in four patients indicated that they think their physicians often order or prescribe unnecessary tests or medications. Only one in 10 of the patients indicated that their physician had told them that a test or prescription wasn’t necessary, and while most of the patients surveyed said that their physician communicated about the medical necessity of a drug or test, 40% said they didn’t fully understand the physician’s explanation.

Read more about strategies for improving patient communication, compliance, and satisfaction in this month’s issue of Dermatology World. Also, check out the Academy’s online Simulated Patient Encounters activities and hone your skills on how to deal with medication management, as well as difficult patients.

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USPSTF issues recommendations on skin cancer prevention counseling

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued a statement recommending behavioral counseling to help reduce the risk of skin cancer from ultraviolet (UV) radiation in people ages six months to 24 years with fair skin types. The USPSTF also stated that “current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of counseling adults about skin self-examination to prevent skin cancer” and therefore recommended that physicians selectively offer counseling to adults older than 24.

The Academy issued a statement on behalf of Academy President Suzanne M. Olbricht, MD, stating, “The American Academy of Dermatology Association commends the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for addressing the importance of skin cancer prevention counseling, particularly in our youngest, most vulnerable patients. We want to stress, however, that skin cancer prevention is important for people of all ages and skin types, not just those with fair skin between the ages of 6 months and 24 years. The AADA is disappointed that the USPSTF found insufficient evidence to recommend counseling on skin self-exams.”

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 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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Help AADA, AMA rein in burdensome regulations, harmful payer policies

The American Medical Association (AMA) is a vital partner in ongoing efforts to fight harmful payer policies and ease overregulation. Just recently, the AADA and the AMA joined forces to successfully advocate against Anthem, Inc.’s proposed modifier 25 policy. However, without increasing AMA membership, the Academy may lose representation in the AMA’s House of Delegates. Join the AMA to help keep dermatology strong.

Dermatology has successfully collaborated with the AMA and the greater house of medicine on many issues such as truth in advertising, scope of practice, Medicare payment reform, and narrowed provider networks. Read more about dermatology’s fruitful alliances in Dermatology World.

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