AUA Advocacy Snapshot: Week of February 25, 2019

By Policy and Advocacy Brief posted 02-26-2019 15:22


This week’s update includes information on our coalition work to support advocacy efforts in requesting $2.165 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 funding for National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

RUC Survey on Evaluation and Management Codes Released this Week

The CPT guidelines and descriptors to report office visit codes will undergo extensive revision for implementation in 2021. Code level selection will either be based solely on medical decision-making or total time on the date of the encounter. The extent of history and physical examination will no longer be an element in the code level selection of office visits.

The AMA/Specialty Society RUC survey was sent to randomly selected members of the AUA for revised codes 99202-99205 and 99211-99215 and a new prolonged visit add-on code 99XXX. If you received this survey, please complete it to the best of your ability. This survey will help our society, in concert with the RUC, recommend accurate relative values for physician work and direct practice expense for these important codes to CMS. The survey will close March 18, 2019. If you have any questions, please send an email to

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Appropriations Funding: AUA, Coalition Advocacy

The AUA joined the Friends of National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (FoNIDDK) to support advocacy efforts in requesting $2.165 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 funding for National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) by signing on to a letter addressed to House Labor Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations leadership. This is a 6.7 percent increase over NIDDK’s FY 2019 funding ($2.029 billion). FoNIDDK also supports the recommendation advocacy partners to provide $41.6 billion for overall NIH funding (a 6.4 percent increase) in FY 2020. NIDDK’s share of overall NIH funding has fallen 8 percent since FY 2016 due to dedicated funding projects at NIH (e.g., Cancer Moonshot, BRAIN Initiative, etc.). Additional language will be circulated to the Senate LHHS Appropriations leadership next month.

National Institutes for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Strategic Plan: Research Advocacy Committee Provides Feedback

Members of the AUA’s Research Advocacy Committee (RAC) orchestrated efforts to respond to NICHD’s call for strategic plan input. Feedback includes input from a variety of urologic stakeholders including the Societies for Pediatric Urology, the Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine, and Urogenital Reconstruction, and the American Urological Association’s RAC. The response aims to ensure that urology is recognized as a central component of the strategic plan and integrated throughout NICHD’s overall themes and priorities. This effort is a key component of the RAC’s initiative to pursue, attain, and maintain urology representation on all relevant NIH institute advisory boards.

Congressional Outreach: AUA Meets with Freshman Office

Last week, the AUA continued its outreach to freshman offices with the goal of introducing them to issues of concern in urology and how they affect patients. On February 13 and 21, the AUA met with staff in the offices of Reps. Donna Shalala (D-FL-27) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ-2), respectively. Rep. Kirkpatrick, who previously served in Arizona’s first Congressional district until 2016, showed great interest in the AUA’s research advocacy efforts particularly as they relate to her position on the Appropriations Committee. The staff member asked to be kept informed on any requests the AUA may have for the appropriations process, and how the Congresswoman may help.

This was part of a series of meetings that the AUA is holding with freshman offices to educate them on the association and the key role urology plays in healthcare. We will keep you updated as more meetings are held.

Coalition Activities: Meet and Greet with Rep. Gottheimer (D-NJ-5)

On February 14, the AUA participated in a meeting, hosted by the Alliance of Specialty Medicine, with Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5). Rep. Gottheimer co-chairs the Problem Solvers Caucus, which is a bipartisan group of representatives that seek to create cooperation on key, legislative issues. In 2017, the caucus brought forward a healthcare reform package that aimed to shore up the nation’s health insurance exchanges and to reduce premiums for individuals, families and small businesses. Gottheimer and the caucus are looking to meet with provider and patient organizations to discuss ways to improve healthcare delivery in a bipartisan way.

Insurance Updates: Week of February 25, 2019

Each week, the AUA publishes weekly updates on the lasted insurance issues pertaining to urology. This week’s update includes important information on Regence Blue Cross’s policy change for Xtandi, as well as a change in Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Analogs policy from Oxford United Healthcare Plans. In addition, Vermont Medicaid has a new Prostate Cancer Genomic Assay policy .  Read more here.

Practice Management Conference Highlight Series: Staying Current with Human Resource Policies

The AUA will release a new installment of our 2019 Practice Management Conference Highlight Series this week. Each entry in the series will feature a brief introduction for one of the conference’s featured speakers and give a preview of their presentations. This week’s highlight will be from Sharon Stover, Director of Human Resources at the AUA. During her presentation, “Stay Current with Human Resource Policies,” Stover will discuss how staying up to date on human resource policies can make a positive impact on practice operations. Our latest highlights are posted to the AUA’s Policy and Advocacy Blog weekly.

Learn more about the 2019 AUA Practice Management Conference and register today!