Washington and You

Organized medicine slams Part B pay planAn 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.
CMS halts PSA quality measure—for nowAs 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.
Politics may derail Obama’s cancer initiative
Groups urge increased focus on men’s healthA recent a White House Dialogue on Men’s Health brought together experts on men’s health from government, professional sports, nonprofit organizations, and health care, who together raised awareness of the need for increased focus on men’s health.
PSA access tops AUA legislative priority listAt the AUA, there is a list of 10 top priorities on which association lobbyists hope to gain traction.
AUA lobbies USPSTF on draft research planThe U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which in 2012 recommended against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer, is developing a new research plan for updating recommendations that urology practices will be expected to follow once it is finalized.
Budget deal cuts pay to hospital-owned practicesThere was generally positive news for Medicare providers in the new 2-year budget agreement signed into law by President Obama Nov. 2 as well as the 2016 physician fee schedule just released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. But hospital-owned physician practices will take a hit under the budget deal, and urologists will see an ever-so-slight average decrease in payments for their services under the new fee schedule.
Health research agency could be eliminatedWith the U.S. now spending nearly 18% of its gross domestic product on health care, Congress has targeted for drastic budget cuts the one agency of the government whose sole purpose is to improve the health care system.
CMS targets ‘misvalued’ urology codes in ruleThe first annual Medicare physician fee schedule rule in the post-sustainable growth rate era has been proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and includes several provisions of specific interest to urologists, including attention to certain services that are considered misvalued by the agency and some modifications to Stark law regulations.
Proposed budget would cut PCa programsCongress doesn’t appear to like very much President Obama’s FY 2016 budget proposal to eliminate funding for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention activities that are focused on education about prostate cancer screening and treatment, as well as tracking disease incidence and mortality data.