Federal Legislation

For more complete information on issues and pending legislation visit the AOA Washington Office website .

Ohio Students Visit Congressional Offices During DO Day on the Hill 2014

Physician Payment Reform and GME Funding Discussed

More than 1,200 DOs, osteopathic medical students, and other representatives of the profession—including 94 from Ohio —gathered in Washington, DC, March 6, for this year’s DO Day on Capitol Hill. The Ohio Osteopathic Association provided bus transportation for 58 students from Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM) to participate in this year's event.


Congress Approves One-Year Medicare Physician Pay Fix

The best opportunity in decades to permanently repeal Medicare’s flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula was within Congress' reach, and they let it slip away by opting instead to patch a broken payment system.


OOA Urges Ohio's Senators to Vote "No" on Temporary SGR Fix

The House of Representatives approved by voice vote, March 27, a one-year patch (H.R. 4302) to the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula that was strongly opposed by physician groups, including the AOA. The OOA, March 31st, urged Ohio's Senators to vote "no' on the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 to have the issue resolved in Conference Committee.


Nation Gets a D+ for Its Emergency Care Environment

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has a issued a new report, warning that the continuing failure of state and national policies is endangering emergency patients. Ohio scored better than previously in the report card, moving from 18th place in 2009,when the last report was released, to seventh this year with an overall grade of C+.


US Task Force Issues Draft Dementia Screening Recommendation

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a Draft Recommendation Statement on Screening for Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults. The Task Force concluded that there is not enough evidence on the benefits and harms of screening for cognitive impairment to make a recommendation for or against routine screening of all older adults.


Congressional Committees Approve SGR Repeal; CMS Extends Participation Fee Deadline

The House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees both approved legislation, Dec. 12, to permanently repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and reform Medicare physician payment. Congress passed a three month delay with a token fee update, but will not act until details can be worked out next year. In the meantime, a proposed CMS rule gives physicians until January 31, 2014, to change their participation status in the Medicare Program due to continued uncertainties about health reform in general.


Registration for DO Day on Capitol Hill is Now Open!

Registration is now open through January 24th for this year's DO Day on Capitol Hill, March 6, in Washington, DC. DO Day is the premier national osteopathic advocacy event for DOs and osteopathic medical students.


OOA Meets with Sen. Brown's Staff


Senate Holds Hearing on New CMS Administrator

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing, April 9, to consider the nomination of Marilyn B. Tavenner, of Virginia, to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).


Medicaid Primary Care Incentives Delayed

mplementation of an Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision to increase payments to primary care physicians who treat Medicaid patients continues to be delayed. The program slated to take effect Jan. 1, 2013 will increase Medicaid payments to primary care physicians to the same level that Medicare pays for these same services.


FTC Issues Red Flag Rule Regarding Identity Theft

FAQ Helps Physicians Understand Rule

On November 9, 2007, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published its Red Flag rule concerning identity theft. Under the rule, financial institutions and creditors are required to develop and implement a written identity theft program to identify, detect, and respond to possible risks of identity theft relevant to them.


OOA Leaders Meet with Elected Officials

The OOA has been meeting with elected state and federal officials to discuss health care reform.


Proposed Rule on E-Prescribing for Controlled Substances

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has released its proposed rule on electronic prescriptions for controlled substances with comments due on September 25. It is intended to be consistent with the Medicare Part D e-prescribing regulations. The focus is on standards to provide safeguards against the diversion of controlled substances.


Important Education Legislation

On June 30th, the President signed into law the temporary extension of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The articles included in the act have been extended through July 31st. This extension marks the second short-term extension this year. The fate of the act remains uncertain; however, it is highly unlikely the legislation will not continue to be reauthorized.


Physician Quality Reporting in 2009

As part of the 2009 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made proposals concerning the Physicians Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI). CMS is required by law to use a rulemaking process to select quality measures for the 2009 PQRI, as well as establish for 2009 alternative reporting criteria and alternative reporting periods for reporting of measures groups and for registry-based reporting.


Health Information Technology Legislation Advances

On June 25th the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health approved the "Protecting Records, Optimizing Treatment, and Easing Communication through Healthcare Technology Act of 2008" (H.R. 6357). H.R. 6357 was originally introduced by Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) and Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX). The bipartisan bill is a combination of elements from legislation previously introduced by various Representatives in the 109th and 110th Congresses. Prior to introduction of the final bill, Chairman Dingell held a hearing that provided stakeholder groups with the opportunity to voice feedback on the legislation.


Advocacy Over August

From August 11th through September 5th, Members of Congress will be returning to their districts from Washington for the August recess. This is an excellent opportunity to meet your elected representatives face-to-face and to develop a constituent relationship.


Federal HIT Plan Released

In June, the ONC Coordinated Health Information Technology Strategic Plan was released. The plan brings together all federal health information technology (HIT) efforts and will guide federal HIT advancement for the next five years.


2008 Election Summary

Election Day 2008 is less than four months away, and campaigns are gearing up for the fall campaign season. While most focus will be on the Presidential election, there are also thirty-five races in the U.S. Senate, as well as all 435 seats of the House of Representatives.


HHS Announces Medicaid GME Moratorium

Faced with the threat of pending legislation, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt announced the voluntary delay of 2 controversial Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rules affecting Medicaid support for graduate medical education (GME) and public hospitals including a regulation that would prohibit federal Medicaid funding for the costs of medical interns and residents.


CMS Releases 2009 Medicare Proposed Rule


Historic Physician Payment Legislation Enacted into Law


April 1 Effective Date for Certain Rx Written on Tamper-Resistant Pads

The new federal law requires all non-electronic prescriptions for Medicaid patients to be written on tamper-resistant pads.


CMS Moves Forward with Quality Reporting Initiative