For more complete information on issues and pending legislation visit the AOA Washington Office website .
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.
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.
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.
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+.
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.
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 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.
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.
The OOA has been meeting with elected state and federal officials to discuss health care reform.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The new federal law requires all non-electronic prescriptions for Medicaid patients to be written on tamper-resistant pads.