AACU News & Notes

Meet with Your Legislator This August

posted: August 2, 2019

For the next five weeks, members of Congress will be in their home districts for their annual “district work period”, which is our opportunity to schedule meetings with them to discuss our legislative priorities (see below).

You can take advantage of this district work period by scheduling a district meeting or hosting a facility tour for your elected officials. For more information on how to set up a district meeting or host a facility tour, visit our Advocacy Resources page.

Elected officials have a limited understanding of how healthcare policies impact physicians like you. They are even less familiar with the regulatory and administrative challenges you face while trying to provide high-quality care to your patients. A meeting or facility tour is a great way to educate policymakers about the practice of urology and the impact of federal legislation on health outcomes.

Contact Yehuda Sugarman if you would like assistance scheduling a district meeting or hosting a facility tour for your elected official.

AACU Advocacy Priorities

Require Physician Input in USPSTF Decisions

The USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 3534) would require the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to create processes that allow for more specialist input before they release recommendations dictating what preventive services many health plans must provide without cost sharing.

Support IDR Backstop & PBM Transparency in Surprise Billing Legislation

The No Surprises Act (H.R. 3630) passed a key House committee with a provision that creates an independent dispute resolution (IDR) mechanism to resolve disputes over payments between insurers and providers when out-of-network claims exceed $1,250. This provision must be included in the final House bill as well as the companion bill in the Senate.

The Lower Health Care Costs Act (S. 1895) contains provisions on surprise billing as well as pharmaceutical pricing. The bill calls for more transparency to PBM revenues and requires PBMs to pass on 100% of any rebates or discounts to the plan sponsor.

Mitigate the Burden of Prior Authorization

The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act (H.R. 3107) would require CMS to regulate the use of prior authorization (PA) in Medicare Advantage plans. The bill would create an electronic PA process that allows for real-time decisions on services that are routinely approved. It would also require plans to report to CMS on how extensively they use prior authorization, as well as how often they approve or deny medications and services.

Advocacy Priorities
  • Prostate Cancer Screening and Awareness

    Eliminating Misdiagnosis and Reducing Wasteful Medicare SpendingEvery 20 minutes an American man dies from prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 161,360 men were told they have prostate cancer in 2017. Early detection is critical because research shows the five-year survival...

  • IPAB Repeal

    IPAB permanently repealed in a major victory for the AACU and urology communityThe AACU is pleased to report that the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892) included provisions to repeal the Independent Physicians Advisory Board (IPAB), a 15-member panel of unelected officials that had the...

  • Graduate Medical Education and Physician Workforce Shortage

    Ensuring a Well-Trained Physician Workforce Increase Federally Funded Physician Training ProgramsRequestUrologists urge Congress to acknowledge the importance of specialty medicine and address urological workforce shortages that jeopardize patient access to care. We urge lawmakers to support...

  • The Impact of Pharmacy Benefit Managers on Access to Affordable Treatment

    Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have a significant impact on prescription drug costs and the ability of patients to obtain the medications they need in a timely and affordable manner, and yet very little is known about their role. The AACU is dedicated to working with policymakers at both the...

  • Improve Preventive Task Force Recommendations, Preserve Access to Prostate Cancer Screening

    The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) plays a critical role in preventive care because its recommendations dictate what preventive services many health plans must provide without cost sharing. Currently, however, the USPSTF has little accountability. Task Force members are...

  • Medical Liability Reform: Protect Physician Volunteers During National Disasters

    Protection for Physician Disaster VolunteersClinical urologists urge support for the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2017, introduced in the House by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) and in the Senate by Sen. Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA). This crucial legislation seeks to shield medical...

  • Modernize Law Restricting Coordinated Care (“Stark Law”)

    When Congress enacted the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, it replaced a fundamentally flawed reimbursement framework with a program promoting value-based care delivery. Value-based care, as measured by the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and alternative payment...

  • Patients Over Paperwork: Reducing the Burden of Medicare Red Tape

    Urologists across the country treat a high volume of Medicare patients and therefore deal with the program’s numerous requirements and complex payment structures on a near daily basis. The AACU is dedicated to working with legislators and policymakers to identify ways to simplify and...

State Advocacy
  • Fair Contracting and Medical Practice Freedom

    Where We Stand Ensure openness and fairness in health care provider contacts. Prevent third-party payors from changing the terms of their provider contract without notice to the provider and without the consent of the provider. Ensure that physician licensure is based upon a physician's...

  • Medical Liability Reform — Expert Witness Qualifications

    Strengthen expert witness standards Ensure that expert witness is from the same specialty as the defendant physician Prevent frivolous lawsuits Improve the practice environment for physicians in your stateWhenever a physician’s conduct is being called into question, it is only fair...

  • Prostate Cancer Awareness & Assessment

    Where We Stand Continue the progress that has been made in the reduction of prostate cancer morbidity and mortality with the appropriate use of prostate cancer testing. Ensure that third-party payors provide for the reimbursement of prostate cancer testing when the patient and his physician...

  • Uniform Prior Authorization for Prescriptions and Health Services

    Where We Stand Prior authorizations cost the health system $728 million in 2012. Prior authorization requests must use a single form, no more than two pages in length. Forms must available for both access and submission electronically. Requests are deemed approved if no response is...

  • Work Force — Scope of Practice

    Where We Stand Allow the maximum patient-to-physician ratio to increase based on the number of physician assistants in a practice. Expand the ability of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to supervise medical assistants when doctors aren’t on the premises.Proactive Physician...

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