AUA 2018: What to expect in policy, business topics


In this "Practice Matters" column Robert A. Dowling, MD, outlines practice management and health policy sessions to watch for at the 2018 AUA annual meeting in San Francisco.

The AUA annual meeting is nearly upon us, and with each year the schedule grows more complex and challenging to navigate. The editors of Urology Times have asked me to put together a program navigator for this column’s audience-sessions that might be of interest to the medical director, clinical practice manager, champion of quality and safety, reimbursement specialist, or the urologist with a special interest in health policy issues affecting our specialty.

Anyone can create an individualized schedule using the annual meeting website (; what follows is a curated list of sessions-all in one place-based on published program information as of Feb. 27, 2018 (which does not include individual abstracts).


Practice management conference

As in past years, the AUA annual meeting experience offers a practice management conference on Thursday/Friday, May 17/18. (Note that separate registration is required.) Sessions that might appeal to practice managers include analyzing the cost of care, coding updates, a MACRA update, and the effective use of benchmarks.

For those practices that have in-office dispensing/retail pharmacy or are considering it, there will be an update on USP-800-an arcane but important standard for handling hazardous drugs in health care settings. The standard has not been widely implemented yet, falls under different jurisdictions of enforcement depending on your state, and if implemented could be expensive to comply with. If you want to read more about USP-800 before or after the conference, see, and for FAQs see

The urologist with an interest in patient safety should note the poster and podium sessions entitled “General & Epidemiological Trends & Socioeconomics: Quality Improvement & Patient Safety” (MP02, PD28, MP80) as well as the take-home messages on Monday, May 21 (Quality Improvement and Patient Safety). Residents, young urologists, and new practice managers may benefit from Instructional Course 0031C on Friday, May 18: “Introduction to the Business of Medicine: A Primer for Young Urologists & Residents.”

The annual meeting will offer a 2-day (Saturday/Sunday, May 19/20) track for and about advanced practice providers (APPs), and the schedule this year includes a forum on “Patient Navigation: Rural Vs. Urban Patient Management,” a panel discussion on “Effective Integration of APPs in Urologic Practice,” and a forum discussing “APP Practice Management: Tips and Tricks.” The APP meeting also features an update on clinical guidelines geared to this audience.

Reimbursement, policy sessions

The AUA attendee interested in reimbursement and policy issues at the annual meeting may wish to attend moderated poster sessions “General & Epidemiological Trends & Socioeconomics: Practice Patterns, Quality of Life & Shared Decision Making” (MP44, MP51, PD52). Also of interest to this audience would be the sessions “General & Epidemiological Trends & Socioeconomics: Value of Care: Cost & Outcomes Measures” (MP76, MP86). Missing from this year’s published schedule is the “Health Policy Forum,” offered in the past to communicate the status of relevant legislative and regulatory updates.

Instructional Course 057IC, “2018 Coding and Reimbursement Update,” has historically been a valuable session geared to the coding specialist, accounts receivable manager, practice manager, or even solo physician charged with compliant coding and optimal reimbursement. Finally, the American Board of Urology will host a town hall on Monday, which I suspect will address some recent modifications in the life-long learning program.

Bottom line: If you plan on attending the AUA annual meeting, plan your schedule in advance and set learning objectives for yourself or your practice. With over 10,000 registrants and hundreds of sessions and abstracts, preparation is paramount.


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