IPAB repeal, USPSTF reform among lead issues at 2013 JAC

Urologists at last month’s Joint Advocacy Conference took five leading issues to members of Congress.

This article is part of an ongoing series from the American Association of Clinical Urologists (AACU), based on a partnership between the AACU and Urology Times. Articles are designed to provide updates on legislative processes and issues affecting urologists. We welcome your comments and suggestions about topics for future articles. Contact the AACU government affairs office at 847-517-1050 or info@aacuweb.org for more information.

Urologists at last month’s Joint Advocacy Conference, co-sponsored by the American Association of Clinical Urologists and the American Urological Association, took five leading issues to members of Congress, including reform of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation processes and opposition to its recommendation on PSA-based prostate cancer screening, as well as repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Armed with issue briefs and aided by advocacy tips they received from speakers like Washington insider and author Stephanie Vance, urologists met with senators, representatives, and staff members to garner support for those issues and also the establishment of a national Urotrauma Task Force, increased federal funding for urologic residency training programs, and preservation of the in-office ancillary service exception to the Stark physician self-referral law.

The 3-day conference provided the opportunity to hear from members of Congress, health policy experts, and fellow physicians, among others, and to meet with congressional representatives and staffers.

During a compelling and entertaining presentation, R. Lawrence “Larry” Van Horn, PhD, executive director of health affairs at Vanderbilt University’s Owen School of Management, illustrated how the economics of our country’s health care system have changed over the years; highlighted the challenges that we face as a nation with the costs of health care; and offered insight into what the future might hold. In addition, U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) co-sponsor of H.R. 5998, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012, spoke to attendees about various legislative issues affecting health policy.

Conference attendees also heard from congressional staffers about some of the legislative efforts and issues affecting physicians and patients that are currently being debated in Washington, including work force issues and the sustainable growth rate. U.S. Representative Phil Roe, MD (R-TN-1), one of a small number of physician members of Congress, gave the Carson Memorial Lecture, named after Russell B. Carson, MD, one of the founders of the AACU. This year, Dr. Roe re-introduced H.R. 351, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, a bill that would repeal the IPAB.

Other highlights of this year’s Joint Advocacy Conference were presentations by Patrick Conway, MD, chief medical officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality; and Stuart Altman, PhD, Sol C. Chaikin Professor at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, and chair of the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission.

The AACU considered this year’s conference a great success, and urologists are encouraged to attend this important conference, held each spring in Washington. There are other opportunities throughout the year to stay engaged with issues that affect urologists and their patients, including meetings with elected leaders, attending similar conferences on health care policy, and contributing to UROPAC.

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