August 14


IN THIS ISSUE / August 14, 2019

CMS seeks to reduce prior authorization burden on physicians


As part of its Patients Over Paperwork initiative, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is exploring how to reduce the burden of prior authorizations (PAs). CMS is conducting listening sessions with various stakeholders in the coming weeks, including meeting with a wide range of physicians and health plans to gather information and suggestions on what it can do to improve the issues. They are also visiting practices to observe the PA process in action.

If you are contacted by CMS to participate, the Academy has provided talking points on how to improve the PA process to reduce administrative burdens. Download the full list of prior authorization talking points

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DW Insights and Inquiries: Putting muscle into isotretinoin laboratory testing isn’t chopped liver! 

DeHoratius_95px.jpgWhen I first became interested in dermatology during medical school, I started shadowing dermatologists. When prescribing isotretinoin, all the physicians needed was a small yellow sticker. They could give patients months of medication at a time. I am not certain what specific laboratory monitoring protocols were used, but I am sure it wasn’t what we perform today. How times have changed over the years.

In speaking to my colleagues there seems to be no standardization of what labs to order and when. The AAD’s recommendations are as follow: Routine monitoring of liver function tests, serum cholesterol, and triglycerides at baseline and again until response to treatment is established. Routine monitoring of complete blood count is not recommended.

Opel et al established that in patients with normal baseline triglycerides there is little value in monitoring triglycerides during therapy. There is also low incidence of hypertriglyceride-associated pancreatitis. When pancreatitis does occur, it is more likely to be idiosyncratic. Keep reading!


Applicants sought for research excellence awards for young dermatology investigators 

Each year, the Academy recognizes outstanding basic, translational, and clinical research by young dermatology investigators through the AAD Young Investigator Awards. The purpose of the award is to acknowledge significant research advances in the science and practice of dermatology by those beginning their research careers who are likely to become established, independently funded investigators in dermatology. 

For 2020, the Academy is offering a basic/translational research award track and a clinical research award track. One basic/translational researcher and one clinical researcher will be selected as the recipients of the 2020 awards. Each recipient will receive a $6,000 prize. The award selection panel will evaluate submissions for originality of the research concept, soundness of the research design, quality and clarity of the narrative research description, perceived value of the research to dermatology, quality and strength of publications, and an overall assessment of the applicant’s potential. 

Applications for the 2020 awards are being accepted until Sept. 15, 2019. Learn more and apply!

Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) transition period nearing its end

CMS has replaced the Social Security number-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) with a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) on the new Medicare cards. For patients who have not communicated their new MBI, physicians can access a secure MBI search tool through their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC). Starting Jan. 1, 2020, CMS will only accept claims with the MBI listed. During the transition period, CMS will accept either the HICN or the MBI for CMS claim adjudication. For additional information, visit

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Nominations sought for 2020 Academy election

Nominations for Officers, Directors, and Nominating Committee Member Representatives (West Region) are now being accepted through Oct. 1. To view reference materials, or submit a nomination and letter of support, visit, or email