Repeal of sustainable growth rate, Independent Payment Advisory Board top American Urological Association health policy priorities

September 1, 2011

AUA Health Policy Chair Steven M. Schlossberg, MD, MBA, discusses important health policy issues in urology and how the AUA is addressing them.

Q As chair of the AUA Health Policy Council, what comes under your purview, and what are your responsibilities?

A The AUA Health Policy Division is led by 25 staff and is divided into five committees, which include coding and reimbursement, legislative affairs, practice guidelines, practice management, and quality improvement and patient safety. The guidelines chairman reports to the AUA Board of Directors, but we all work closely together to try to deal with all the issues that come up. As Health Policy chair, I am responsible for helping staff coordinate activities of our entire division, function as a consultant to the AUA Board of Directors, and chair our biannual Health Policy meeting. In addition, I try to always think of the practicing urologist as we view issues, make decisions, and structure our communications.

A The major issues include federal initiatives and a lot of the initiatives related to quality. Reimbursement is an ever-present issue. As you can imagine, we are working with other organizations to get Congress to repeal the sustainable growth rate formula for Medicare reimbursement and also repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition, we are working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on several of their proposed rules, such as looking at proposed cuts to physician reimbursement that are coming through the 2012 physician fee schedule and providing comments on their proposed rule for accountable care organizations, which was also part of the ACA. We are also working with CMS to try to more accurately align the requirements/penalties for participating in e-prescribing and meaningful use, which are currently in conflict with each other.