Blogs

Insurance Updates:  Week of November 19, 2020 Each week, the AUA publishes weekly updates on the latest insurance issues pertaining to urology. This week’s update includes the release of COVID-19 and telehealth/telemedicine specific newsletters and policy updates. Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) Alabama reviewed its Focal Treatments for Prostate Cancer, and Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) Policies. Additionally, CGS Administrators retired several Policies. COVID-19 Updates: Asuris Northwest Health Asuris Northwest Health published its Provider Bulletin for Medical Policies News & Announcements announcing the following ...
0 comments
The American Urological Association’s Delegates – Drs. Terry Grimm and Hans Arora, Alternate Delegates Drs. Jason Jameson and James Gilbaugh, Resident and Fellow Delegate Dr. Ruchika Talwar, and Young Physicians Section Representative Dr. Clint Cary – continued to join hundreds of physicians at the virtual American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates 2020 Interim Meeting to consider resolutions and reports covering clinical practice, payment, medical education, and public health topics. Read our update from the first three days of the meeting. On November 17, the AUA delegates spent the final day in the general session where they participated in ...
0 comments
The American Urological Association’s Delegates – Drs. Terry Grimm and Hans Arora; Alternate Delegates ,Drs. Jason Jameson and James Gilbaugh; Resident and Fellow Delegate, Dr. Ruchika Talwar; and Young Physicians Section Representative, Dr. Clint Cary – continue to join hundreds of physicians at the virtual American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates 2020 Interim Meeting to consider resolutions and reports covering clinical practice, payment, medical education and public health topics. Read our update from the first two days of the meeting. On November 16, the AUA delegates spent the day in the general session where they participated in spirited ...
0 comments
Rhode Island Extends EO for Elective Surgery; New Jersey Considers Changes to Licensure Applications; Tennessee Prefiles another Balance Billing Measure; Texas Prefiles Two Telemedicine Bills Rhode Island Executive Order 20-88  – Renewed Governor Gina M. Raimondo (D) extended Executive Order 20-88 requiring health care providers to submit plans for elective medical procedures and other medical services for approval by the Department of Health. The order takes effect immediately, remaining in full force and effect through November 22, unless renewed, modified or terminated by subsequent Executive Order. New Jersey S.B. 3145 ...
0 comments
On November 12, the AUA participated in the first annual  RetireSafe  Advisory Council Meeting. RetireSafe is a grass-roots, non-profit organization formed in 1991, with the mission to educate and advocate on behalf of mature Americans on issues including Social Security, Medicare, health, safe retirement and financial well-being. The meeting consisted of updates from the work over the past year which includes videos on “Health Disparities” and “Understanding Power of Attorney;” infographics on vaccinations; and op-ed’s on “COLA Increase Watch,” COVID-19 and Seniors and Social Security Updates. In addition, they welcomed Representative John Garamendi (D-CA-3) ...
0 comments
Earlier this week, the Senate Committee on Appropriations released all twelve of their appropriation bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, as well as explanatory statements. Of note to the urologic community is the Defense Appropriations bill, which funds the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) and the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, as well as the Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, which funds the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In June, the House passed their appropriations bills that maintained or increased funding for CDMRP and increased NIH ...
0 comments
On November 9, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) held a meeting that focused on the expansion of telehealth medicine in Medicare.  During the public health emergency (PHE), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has given providers broad access to telehealth services. The PHE is currently extended to January 21, 2021. Telehealth policy options post-PHE, provided by MedPAC staff included the following recommendations: Eliminate temporary coverage of audio-only services; Pay lower rates for telehealth visits than for in-person services; Require HIPAA compliance for telehealth technology; and Require cost sharing ...
0 comments
On November 10, a letter was sent to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and major commercial health plans (i.e., Anthem, Aetna, Cigna, Health Care Service Corporation, Humana and UnitedHealthcare) to immediately implement and pay for CPT code 99072. It reminds payers that in order to address the significant fiscal pressures placed on physicians by the COVID-19 pandemic they must implement the Current Procedural Terminology® (CPT) code 99072. This will compensate practices for the additional supplies and new staff activities required to provide safe patient ...
0 comments
On November 9, the AUA signed an Alliance of Specialty Medicine-led letter that was sent to House/Senate leaders urging them to extend the Medicare sequestration relief provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Section 3709 provided a temporary suspension of Medicare sequestration from May 1, 2020 through the end of the calendar year. This provision provides critical relief at a time when the provider community is suffering severe financial losses due to the drastic decreases in non-COVID-related and non-emergency care. The letter reminds Congress that even though physician practices continue to experience significantly reduced ...
0 comments
On November 7, the AUA signed an Alliance of Specialty Medicine-led letter that was sent to House/Senate leaders urging them to pass a statutory delay of the Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) Program for advanced diagnostic imaging. In 2014, Congress passed the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act” (PAMA), establishing the AUC Program for advanced diagnostic imaging. Six years later, the AUC Program implementation is at a standstill. The organizations are urging Congress to pass —before the end of this year— a statutory delay of the program, which will allow for a thoughtful and long overdue re-examination of the program. The letters states that although Congress ...
0 comments
The American Urological Association’s Delegates – Drs. Terry Grimm and Hans Arora, Alternate Delegates Drs. James Gilbaugh and Jason Jameson, Resident and Fellow Delegate Dr. Ruchika Talwar, and Young Physicians Section (YPS) Representative Dr. Clint Cary – have joined hundreds of physicians at the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates (HoD) 2020 Interim Meeting (virtual) to consider resolutions and reports covering clinical practice, payment, medical education, and public health topics. Last weekend (November 7-8), AUA delegates participated in a variety of specialty caucus pre-meetings including those hosted by the Surgical Caucus, Cancer ...
0 comments
Insurance Updates:  Week of November 11, 2020 Each week, the AUA publishes weekly updates on the latest insurance issues pertaining to urology. This week’s update includes the release of COVID-19 and telehealth/telemedicine specific newsletters and policy updates. Aetna reviewed its Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, Jevtana, Prostate Biopsy, and Prostate Cancer Vaccine Policies. Additionally, Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) Minnesota reviewed its Gene Expression Profiling and Protein Biomarkers for Prostate Cancer Management, and Genetic Cancer Susceptibility Panels Policies. COVID-19 Updates: Cigna Policy Updates News & Announcements:  ...
0 comments
This week's AUA Policy and Advocacy Brief includes information on the 2020 Election, AUA’s support of DOs, Introduction of AUA’s new State Advocacy Manager, Making a Difference in the Lives of Veterans, and more.   Washington Update: Election Day 2020 With election-day 2020 come and gone, there are still plenty of races left undecided and no clear party winners for the House, Senate, and Presidency in 2021. Coming into the November 3 rd  election, the Democrats held a majority in the House of Representatives with 232 seats to the Republicans 198 seats, with one independent and four vacancies. Many analysts believe the Democrats will maintain the majority ...
0 comments
With election-day 2020 come and gone, there are still plenty of races left undecided and no clear party winners for the House, Senate, and Presidency in 2021. Coming into the November 3 rd election, the Democrats held a majority in the House of Representatives with 232 seats to the Republicans 198 seats, with one independent and four vacancies. Many analysts believe the Democrats will maintain the majority in the House for the 117 th Congress, but the gap between them and the Republicans will narrow. At the time of this writing, the Democrats lead the Republicans with 208 seats to 193, but the Democrats have seen a net loss of five seats already with the Republicans ...
0 comments
Last month, the AUA signed onto a public letter from CMSS. The focus of this joint statement was to denounce recent mischaracterizations of osteopathic physicians by the media when covering President Trump’s treatment for coronavirus. The letter (attached) highlights the education, training and clinical work required of both MDs and DOs. As background, the CMSS was created to provide an independent forum for the discussion by medical specialists of issues of national interest and mutual concern, and consists of 45 societies with more than 800,000 U.S. physician members
0 comments
Insurance Updates:  Week of November 9, 2020 Each week, the AUA publishes weekly updates on the latest insurance issues pertaining to urology. This week’s update includes the release of COVID-19 and telehealth/telemedicine specific newsletters and policy updates. Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) North Dakota reviewed its Gonadotripin Releasing Hormones (GnRHs) Analogs (Commercial) Policy and BCBS Tennessee reviewed its Lab Management Coding Document. Additionally, Cigna reviewed its Sacral Nerve and Tibial Nerve Stimulation for Urinary Voiding Dysfunction, Fecal Incontinence and Constipation Policy. COVID-19 Updates: Highmark Lab Management ...
0 comments
Last month, the Friends of the Prostate Cancer Care Community (FoPCCC) convened for a bi-monthly meeting. Addressing health disparities in prostate cancer, assessment of access issues for patients and improvement areas for patient/provider communication were among the topics discussed. The meeting provided coalition members updates from workgroup meetings and offered a forum for group discussions and feedback on the presented information. This AUA-led coalition was established in January 2020 with the aim of identifying and addressing gaps in prostate cancer advocacy, awareness, education and research. The coalition formulated four workgroups (Governance, ...
0 comments
The AUA welcomes Catherine Hendricks. Catherine comes to the AUA from the American Optometric Association where she spent the last five years as the Associate Director for State Government Relations. Prior to that, she spent more than a decade at the Pennsylvania Medical Society serving as the Director, Health Policy Research & Regulatory Affairs. She has many years of experience working within the state advocacy space and we are very confident she will hit the ground running and continue the excellent momentum AUA’s state advocacy program has built
0 comments
November 11 is Veterans Day. And what better way for the AUA to support our veterans by supporting H.R. 6092, the Veteran’s Prostate Cancer Treatment and Research Act, which unanimously passed the House of Representatives on September 22. The AUA’s strategy is to begin to identify bill champions in the other chamber and work to develop a pathway for passage before the 116th Congress adjourns at the end of the year. Help support our veterans by urging your U.S. Senators to introduce/support this legislation - grassroots alert system
0 comments
The AUA recently participated in a virtual meeting with Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), who chairs the Blue Dog Coalition and is a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Representing one of the largest Congressional districts in the country, by square feet, Mr. O’Halleran is supportive of the expanded access to telemedicine and broadband services for rural Americans. The AUA also participated in a virtual meeting with freshman member, Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL-17). As a veteran and member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Rep. Steube supported and voted for the Veteran’s Prostate Cancer Treatment and Research Act (H.R. 6092) – legislation ...
0 comments