Hundreds of urologists visited Capitol Hill last month as part of the Joint Advocacy Conference, where they met with members of Congress on key issues affecting health care, urology, and urology practices. They did so at a historic time, as lawmakers sought to enact Republican legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
President Trump’s campaign promise to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act has proved to be easier said than done as Republicans who control Congress have been unable to devise a workable and acceptable replacement for the controversial health care law.
In the wake of heated criticism about lengthy wait times for veterans’ care at Veterans Health Administration hospitals, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has moved to allow advanced-practice registered nurses to practice to their full authority without physician oversight and regardless of individual state law in VA facilities.
The practice of performing concurrent and overlapping surgeries in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers across the nation has come under scrutiny by the Senate Finance Committee, and hospitals and surgeons are on notice that some practices that may have been commonplace in the past need to change.
Two days of discussions at the Sept. 7 and 8 meetings of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission highlighted the difficulties and complexities that will face policymakers as they consider solutions to the financial crisis facing Medicare.
A serious effort to reform the federal physician self-referral law (the Stark law) to reduce the regulatory burden imposed by the statute on medical practices is underway in Congress, and organizations representing urology are encouraging lawmakers to take action. But there is a key component of the law that the AUA and others want to be sure is not changed.
The 2016 Medicare trustees’ recent report that the Medicare trust fund will reach insolvency by 2028 is providing fodder for congressional Republicans who are pushing a plan to replace Obamacare, including numerous proposals that would dramatically change Medicare.
An Obama administration plan to reform Medicare Part B payment policy has generated a chorus of bipartisan opposition from influential lawmakers and many in the medical community, including a leading oncologist who told Congress the initiative is simply an effort to cut costs by accusing physicians of prescribing more expensive drugs for profit.
Urologists and other physicians who serve Medicare patients face some new decisions now that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed new regulations implementing last year’s fee schedule reform law, while also replacing the existing meaningful use program with a more flexible approach to technology and electronic health records.
As a result of strong opposition from organized medicine, including the AUA and patients, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has put on hold its development of a draft plan to penalize physicians for ordering “non-recommended” PSA tests to screen for prostate cancer.