Washington and You

New initiative would speed FDA approvalsDespite 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.
So long, SGR: Congress (finally) repeals formulaFinally, 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.
Urology groups reiterate support for USPSTF billThe major organizations representing urologists are continuing their push for congressional approval of legislation designed to reform the operations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which in May 2012 recommended against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer.
Congress, White House pressing for SGR repealHave the stars finally become aligned in such a way that Congress resolves the perennial Medicare physician fee fiasco? The signs seem to point that way.
Congress cuts coverage for erection devicesJust over a year ago, the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services issued a report declaring that Medicare payments for vacuum erection systems were “grossly excessive” and recommended steps to remedy the situation.
Fate of IPAB may rest with Supreme CourtYou can expect the new Congress, now controlled in both the House and Senate by Republicans, to take a shot at repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
Could GOP majority scuttle SGR reform?Even with the GOP more firmly entrenched on Capitol Hill, a permanent fix of the sustainable growth rate formula is still a possibility, say urologist James Ulchaker, MD, and Brad Stine of the AUA.
Prostate cancer council bill earns AUA supportThe effort to draw attention to the importance of prostate cancer detection was given a big boost in September when conservative Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AR) and liberal Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) joined together to sponsor legislation to create the National Prostate Cancer Council.
‘Open Payments’ moves forward despite snagsPhysicians, including urologists, now have another headache to deal with—making certain information about them published on the Internet by as part of the National Physician Payment Transparency Program (Open Payments) is accurate and not misleading to patients who want to know about the financial benefits their doctors receive from manufacturers of drugs, devices, and biologic and medical supplies.
Report questions doc shortage; AUA concernedA July 29 report by the Institute of Medicine on reforming the nation’s graduate medical education program has struck a nerve with the AUA and other medical societies by questioning the seriousness of continuing physician shortages in the United States.