SPOTLIGHT ON SOCIETY POLICY:
Recognition of Cognitive Specialists as Congress Moves Forward on Medicare Physician Payment Reform
On January 1, 2014, physicians again face drastic cuts to their Medicare reimbursement if Congress fails to pass a legislative fix to the sustainable growth rate (SGR). The SGR formula has been in place since 1997 to ensure that payments for Medicare services do not exceed the rate of growth in the U.S. economy. Due to flaws in the formula, each year Congress must past a short-term patch to prevent double-digit cuts to physician payments from occurring. While there has been widespread agreement that the SGR should be permanently repealed, fiscal considerations have prevented this legislation from passing. However, with revised estimates from the Congressional Budget Office dropping the price tag for repeal of significantly, Congress may finally have the bandwidth needed to do away with the system.
Over the last year, the committees in both the House and the Senate have been pushing for the permanent repeal of the SGR. The Society has been working with the committees’ on the legislative frameworks for its replacement to ensure that the value of cognitive specialties is taken into account. Before the August recess, the House Energy and Commerce committee voted unanimously to approve the Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act that would permanently repeal the SGR and replace the system with five years of stable payments to allow for the development and testing of alternative payment models by which to reimburse physicians. The Society has provided comments to the Committee during each step in this process and is largely supportive of the framework.
The Senate also continues to explore SGR reform and has held hearings in recent months. The Society will continue to advocate on behalf of cognitive specialties and will update its members as Congress moves forward on this important issue. Send a letter to Congress and let them know that continuing to delay the SGR repeal is unsustainable by going to: https://www.endocrine.org/advocacy-and-outreach/contact-congress.
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act:
What You Need to Know
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act was a provision passed in the Affordable Care Act that requires drug manufacturers to report certain payments and items of value that are given to physicians and teaching hospitals. The provision is intended to provide additional transparency between industry and the physician community by tracking payments for items like consulting, honoraria, grants, and compensation for serving as faculty. Manufacturers have been required to collect and track this information beginning August 1, 2013 and will submit reports to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) each year. As CMS moves forward with the implementation of the Sunshine Act, here’s what you need to know:
1. Drug manufacturers are responsible for reporting information to CMS, not physicians; however, you will need to provide your NPI number to the Society to help ensure correct reporting.
2. To find your NPI or to update your information, go to the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System website at: https://nppes.cms.hhs.gov.
3. Physicians will have the opportunity to review information that has been reported about them by June 2014 and can dispute any erroneous information.
CMS is expected to launch an online portal by January 1, 2014 that enables physicians to receive direct notices when/if data is reported on them. The Society will inform its members on how to sign up for the online portal once it has been launched. Additional information on the Sunshine Act can be found at: https://www. endocrine.org/education-and-practice-management/. For questions about the program, contact the CMS Help Desk at OpenPayments@cms.hhs.gov.
October 1 Opening of Health Insurance Exchanges Marks Key Milestone in ACA Implementation
Since its enactment in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a major source of contention on Capitol Hill with more than 40 votes to repeal or defund it, and consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court of the law’s constitutionality. While these failed attempts have continued to fuel the public debate over healthcare in America, the Obama administration has pushed forward with the implementation of the law. As a result, several provisions of benefit to patients with endocrine-related disease have gone into effect: Insurers can no longer deny coverage based on preexisting conditions, plans must provide free preventive care, and young adults are able to stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26. New care models promoting quality and care coordination also have been established, and the expansion of Medicaid coverage has allowed more Americans access to healthcare.
On October 1, the administration achieved the next milestone in healthcare reform with the opening of enrollment for state health insurance exchanges. The ACA requires all states to have a mechanism by which individuals and small businesses can receive insurance coverage by January 1, 2014. Fourteen states and Washington, D.C., have opted for a state-based exchange; 19 states have selected a federally facilitated exchange; and the remaining states have chosen some variation of these two models.
The implementation of this critical provision will enable an estimated 9 million Americans to receive coverage from federally and state-supported health insurance exchanges in the coming year — and 29 million by 2022. The administration has launched healthcare.gov to help guide patients and small businesses navigate the various insurance coverage options. To receive additional updates on the implementation of key provisions in the Affordable Care Act, stay tuned to Endocrine Insider.
ENDOCRINE PRESS Releases New Diagnostic Dilemmas Collection
Diagnostic Dilemmas: Images in Endocrinology, the latest publication from Endocrine Press, provides unique insight and physician practice strategies for identifying rare illnesses and figuring out complicated conditions through 30 real-life case studies.
“The book presents a series of puzzles physicians can use to test their knowledge and ability to reach a diagnosis,” says Leonard Wartofsky, MD, editor of Diagnostic Dilemmas. “Physicians can return to the exercises again and again to retest the diagnostic approach and incorporate lessons learned.”
Diagnostic Dilemmas incorporates full-color images from The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism’s “Images in Endocrinology” series to help doctors navigate these challenging cases.
The second edition of one of The Endocrine Society’s most popular titles, Diagnostic Dilemmas was updated to include expanded discussions, updated reference citations, and current status reports on the patient outcomes from recent visits.
The print version of Diagnostic Dilemmas is available for purchase through The Endocrine Society’s online store, http://store.endo-society. org/. The content will be available in electronic book formats beginning this fall through the Society’s online store and distributors such as Amazon and ebrary — an international supplier of e-books to academic, professional, corporate, and public libraries.
Catering to a broad audience of healthcare professionals and patients, Endocrine Press publishes peer-reviewed research and clinical resources on hormone conditions and health. For more information on Endocrine Press or to submit a book proposal, visit https://www.endocrine.org/endocrine-press.
Cleveland Clinic Summit to Address OBESITY
Cleveland Clinic’s 11th Annual Medical Innovation Summit on October 14–16 will welcome more than 1,000 clinicians, executives, and investors to downtown Cleveland to share the latest innovations and to discuss their common goal of combatting the obesity epidemic.
Obesity and its various, subsequent complications, now cost the U.S. healthcare system 10% of its national medical budget — a staggering $147 billion — each year. As such, metabolic markets are expanding quickly, and industry leaders will provide insight into the trends that affect this area of healthcare, from the impact of bariatric surgery on diabetic patients to the growth of obesity around the world.
The summit will culminate with a presentation of the Top 10 Medical Innovations that will significantly affect the healthcare system in 2014.
Visit www.ClevelandClinic.org/Summit before October 11 at 9 p.m. to register. If you miss the deadline, you can still register on site for an added cost. You can also call 216-445-5004 or email MedicalInnovationSummit@ccf.org if you have trouble registering.
For up-to-the-minute coverage of the summit, join the conversation on Twitter by following #MIS2013 and follow Cleveland Clinic Innovations.
THE ENDOCRINE SOCIETY CONGRATULATES Dr. Margaret K. Offermann on Election to FASEB PRESIDENT
Th is past July, Margaret K. Offermann, MD, PhD, began her one-year term as the president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). Offermann is a managing partner at the Salutramed Group Inc., a life sciences consulting firm. In previous years, Offermann served on the faculty of Emory University as professor of hematology and oncology and was deputy national vice president for research at the American Cancer Society. With her collective experience in these settings, Offermann brings a tremendous amount of insight to her new role with FASEB.
The Endocrine Society has been a FASEB member organization since 1999 and works with FASEB to address science policy issues on behalf of our members. As a FASEB member organization, The Endocrine Society joins a strong collective voice to more effectively advocate for biomedical researchers. In August, Endocrine Society president Teresa Woodruff, PhD, and FASEB board representative Carole Mendelson, PhD, participated in a conference call with Offermann to discuss shared goals and collaborative efforts. The Society looks forward to continuing to work with Offermann and FASEB in 2014.
The BEST of BOTH WORLDS Plan now for ICE/ENDO 2014, endocrinology’s largest meeting
The world’s largest endocrinology meeting is coming to Chicago in June 2014. For the first time in 18 years, The Endocrine Society and the International Society of Endocrinology are joining forces to host a global summit on hormone research and clinical practice:ICE/ENDO 2014.
Bigger & Better
The rare joint conference promises to be bigger and better than ever, combining all that ENDO and ICE have to offer. The lineup will feature a mix of insightful plenary sessions, distinguished international speakers, and well-deserved awards in science, leadership, teaching, and service.
Endocrinologists from all around the world will network with over 10,000 of the field’s brightest minds and attend engaging meet-theprofessor sessions, diverse ancillary events, and a targeted preconference program of career forums and handson workshops. Of course, no conference would be complete without a robust event calendar, and this time, the full weight ofICE/ENDO 2014, and the beautiful city of Chicago will be behind it.
Full of Surprises
ICE/ENDOExpo promises to be a global experience of educational activities and lively events. Be sure to visit the official website,www.iceendo2014.org, frequently for updates on planned attendee activities during ICE/ENDOExpo. Popular activities such as the two Prize Wheels, Photo Booth, and World Map will return along with a few special surprises for attendees!
Our Kind of Town
An event of this magnitude deserves an extraordinary venue. McCormick Place West is a massive meeting space on the shore of Lake Michigan just a few miles south of downtown Chicago. The convention site acts as the perfect launching pad for exploring all Chicago has to offer. Attendees can tour world-class museums, galleries, and exhibitions — like the Art Institute of Chicago or the Shedd Aquarium. There’s also a legendary music scene to explore along with famous shopping, dining, and nightlife destinations.
Make Your Plans Now
Don’t miss what promises to be the world’s largest gathering of endocrinologists — one that won’t be duplicated for many years to come. Register for ICE/ENDO 2014 starting in October to reserve your place at the research sessions, on the ENDOExpo floor, and in the vibrant metropolis of Chicago.