A 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.
The 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.
There 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.
With 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.
The 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.
Congress 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.
Despite the common perception of Congress being filled with a bunch of politically obsessed do-nothings, there actually is a determined and dedicated group of lawmakers and staff assistants who are working practically 24-7 to develop a sweeping new initiative that would help speed drug and device approvals and increase funding for new drug innovation.
Finally, I can stop writing about the Medicare SGR formula and efforts to reform it, and you can stop worrying about whether you’re going to get whacked with untenable payment cuts about this time every year.