JAC 2015 preview: Hope for SGR’s demise

February 5, 2015

Urologists attending the 2015 Urology Joint Advocacy Conference will have the opportunity to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill at a pivotal time for physicians.

Based on a partnership with Urology Times, articles from the American Association of Clinical Urologists (AACU) provide updates on legislative processes and issues affecting urologists. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Contact the AACU government affairs office at 847-517-1050 or info@aacuweb.org for more information.

 

Urologists attending the 2015 Urology Joint Advocacy Conference (JAC) will have the opportunity to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill at a pivotal time for physicians.

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Taking place March 8-10, this year's JAC, co-hosted by the AACU and the AUA, occurs at a time when Congress will be debating what to do with the fatally flawed Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR): repeal and replace, or enact the 18th temporary patch or "doc fix" in the 18-year history of SGR. Although ultimately unsuccessful, the introduction of bicameral, bipartisan legislation repealing SGR in 2014, H.R. 4015 and S. 2000, has provided hope that 2015 will be the year when this perennial menace to physicians finally comes to end.

The ultimate demise of H.R. 4015/S. 2000 was the failure of both sides to agree on a way to finance the repeal and replacement of SGR. It will be interesting to see how Republican control of both the House and Senate will impact the SGR dilemma. In January 2015, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a 2-day hearing on SGR. The Senate Finance Committee will be one of the committees addressing SGR this year, and attendees to the upcoming JAC will hear from majority and minority staff from that committee during a panel discussion on SGR repeal and reform, one of the legislative priorities urologists will be advocating for during Tuesday’s Hill visits with members of Congress and their staffs.

In a similar panel discussion involving congressional staff, the topic of funding opportunities for graduate medical education, another one of this year’s legislative priorities, will be explored. In addition, attendees will hear the latest on efforts towards transparency and accountability of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the body responsible for the flawed 2012 guidelines regarding PSA screening, and hear from advocates from other specialty societies who also seek to preserve the in-office ancillary services exception to the Stark Law. These too are among the legislative priorities attendees will be advancing during the Hill visits.

Next: More JAC 2015 highlights

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Here are some of the other highlights attendees can expect from this year’s event:

  • Opening this year’s meeting will be R. Lawrence “Larry” Van Horn, PhD, MBA, MPH, Associate Professor of Management (Economics), Executive Director of Health Affairs at Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management, Nashville, TN, whose erudite, insightful, and at-times hilarious and grim examination of health care economics in the United States both educated and entertained attendees in 2013.

  • Keynote Speaker David Hoyt, MD, Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons, will discuss his association’s policy and legislative priorities-many shared by urologists-and what the ACS is doing about them.

  • UROPAC luncheon speaker Charlie E. Cook, Jr., editor and publisher of The Cook Political Report, will share his insight into last year’s election and what it might mean going forward and in 2016.

Urologists should take every advantage of this opportunity to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill in attending the JAC. Physician engagement is vital to advancing positive changes to our nation’s health care system. For those legislative issues at the federal level important to urologists, the annual JAC provides an important forum for such engagement.

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