AUA Advocacy Snapshot: Week of June 12, 2017

By Policy and Advocacy Brief posted 06-14-2017 12:57


This week’s update includes information on this week’s American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates meeting, Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) repeal, and our advocacy for 2018 appropriations requests for research funding during One Voice Against Cancer Coalition’s fly in.

AMA House of Delegates Meeting: AUA Testifies on Urology Match, Infertility, and More

New for 2017, the AUA posted daily blogs updating members on the AMA House of Delegates meeting.  These blogs are posted here. AUA Delegates Dr. Aaron Spitz and Dr. Willie Underwood; Alternate Delegates Drs. Terry Grimm and William F. Gee; and Resident and Fellow Delegate Dr. Hans Arora worked with hundreds of other physicians at this week’s American Medical Association’s House of Delegates by considering resolutions and reports covering clinical practice, payment, medical education, and public health topics.

Highlights included poignant AUA delegate testimony on the National Resident Match Program and passage of two AUA co-sponsored resolutions: one pertaining to Medicare’s Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) Program and the other dealing with infertility. The Council on Medical Education Report 6 “Standardizing the Allopathic Residency Match System and Timeline,” encouraged the AUA to move its match program into the National Resident Matching Program, and was ultimately referred for further deliberation. AUA delegates Drs. Spitz and Underwood testified on the many benefits of the current Urology Match program and also on the importance of not dividing the House of Medicine on this issue. The House reports back on “referred” resolutions at a future meeting.

The AUC resolution directs the AMA to advocate to delay the effective date of the Medicare AUC Program until the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) can adequately assess how the Quality Payment Program (QPP) affects the use of advanced diagnostic imaging; and further directs the AMA to call upon Congress and the administration to revisit the necessity and value of the Medicare AUC Program given the establishment of the QPP. The second resolution directs the AMA to recognize infertility as a disease state with multiple etiologies requiring a range of interventions to advance fertility treatment and prevention; and further directs the AMA to strongly advocate for greater access to established fertility treatments inclusive of broader insurance coverage.

IPAB Repeal: Ongoing Coalition Activity

Continuing our work with the IPAB Repeal Coalition to enlist cosponsors to the repeal bill (H.R 849), on June 9 the AUA met with the offices of Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA-4) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA-1). Since the start of this push by the coalition in early May, the House bill has seen an increase of 67 new bipartisan cosponsors, with 24 joining the week of June 5 alone – including urologist and Congress member Neal Dunn (R-FL-2). The AUA will continue to be intimately involved in coalition activities as this issue moves forward.

Patient & Research Advocacy: Patient Coalition Hill Meetings

On June 6, the AUA joined One Voice Against Cancer Coalition’s (OVAC) fly-in in partnership with 35 patient advocacy groups who collectively met with more than 150 legislative offices. The AUA participated in congressional meetings with staff in the offices of Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-02), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD-07), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Sen. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-MD) to advocate for fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations requests for research funding. Specifically, the coalition asked for $36.2 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including $6 billion for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and to support a FY 2018 budget for the Centers for Disease Control Division of Cancer Prevention and Control of $514 million.

As background, OVAC is a collaboration of national non-profit organizations representing millions of Americans, delivering a unified message to Congress and the White House on the need for increased cancer-related appropriations. OVAC advocacy partners regularly meet with members of Congress to make them aware of the coalition and the impact research has on enhancing quality of life for those living with chronic conditions.

In-Office Drug Compounding: Food and Drug Administration Meeting

In years past, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has held a series of listening sessions with groups of interested stakeholders to discuss FDA’s efforts to implement the compounding provisions of the Drug Quality and Security Act (Section 503B) since the Act was signed into law in November, 2013. The FDA has issued numerous draft and final policy documents on drug compounding and related topics, and are continuing their implementation efforts here

This year the AUA was invited to attend a listening session with FDA representatives to discuss the proposed Guidance on Drug Compounding.  In addition to AUA, the American Medical Association, dermatology, ophthalmology and allergy societies discussed the impact the guidance would have on drugs compounded in-office for use on patients.  The main focus for specialties was that the drugs mixed were for immediate use on a single patient at the time of the visit or in an emergent situation.  The AUA will continue to monitor this issue.

Practice Management: Registration Growing for the Las Vegas Coding Seminar

Registration for the AUA’s annual Las Vegas Coding Seminar is growing weekly. The seminar, which will take place on July 21-22, will feature experts in the field of urology, who will provide updates on coding changes, discussions of common coding questions and payment denials gathered from the AUA Coding Hotline. The seminar begins on with our Practice Essentials workshop, which will educate attendees on how to create effective financial operations for their practices, navigate patient pre-authorizations, and provide practice improving solutions. The Practice Essentials workshop will be followed by our Saturday seminar, which will include education on important issues such as MACRA/MIPS updates and payment policy changes made by major insurance carriers.

Visit the AUA Coding Seminar website to view the seminar schedule and register.

Insurance Updates

The AUA is publishing weekly updates on the latest insurance issues pertaining to urology, such as genetic and molecular testing prior authorization guidance and revision to the consultation reimbursement policy. View the latest updates here.