Physician Reimbursement Updates
30 Percent Medicare Physician Payment Cut Scheduled to Begin January 1
Physicians are scheduled to receive a 29.5 percent cut from Medicare beginning January 1, 2012, unless Congress takes legislative action to prevent it. ASH strongly opposes the proposed draconian cuts to physicians. It is critical that all physicians contact Congress to urge repeal of Medicare’s flawed payment formula. Join ASH's advocacy efforts and access additional information.
MedPAC Floats Proposal for Physician Payment Overhaul
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) will vote on a set of recommendations in October to replace the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The approach MedPAC is considering would pay for the cost of fixing the physician payment formula by cutting specialists' payments 5.9 percent per year for three years while maintaining the rates for primary-care physicians. Read more.
New "Super Committee" Meets; Begins Work on Deficit Reduction
The compromise debt ceiling law ("The Budget Control Act of 2011") passed in August created a special joint committee (often referred to as the "Super Committee") with the goal of achieving at least $1.2 trillion in budgetary savings over 10 years, from spending cuts or tax revenue. If the joint committee or Congress fail to act by December 23, 2011, the bill calls for automatic across-the-board cuts, split 50-50 between defense and non-defense spending, including Medicare. Social Security and Medicaid would be excluded from those automatic cuts. Read more.
Obama Deficit Reduction Plan Would Make $320 Billion in Health Cuts, Including Medicare, Medicaid; Assumes Repeal of SGR
The deficit reduction plan President Obama shared with the Congress September 19 includes $320 billion in health cuts over a decade; $248 billion of the reductions would come from Medicare and $73 billion from Medicaid. What President Obama did not recommend was an increase in the Medicare eligibility age, something that up until this past weekend White House aides said was still being considered. In addition, while the President's proposal does not make specific recommendations concerning Medicare physician payment, it does note that the President assumes congressional action to permanently fix the troublesome physician payment formula. Read more.
Drug Shortage Updates
ASH Calls for Increased FDA Authority and Resources to Address Drug Shortages
The House Energy & Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health and the Environment has scheduled a hearing, "Examining the Increase in Drug Shortages," for Friday, September 23. ASH was one of the first organizations to call on Congress to address the problem of drug shortages and the need to provide increased authority and resources to FDA. ASH's statement to the Committee is available online.
ASH Committee on Practice Chair to Serve on Panel at FDA Workshop on Drug Shortages
The FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research will conduct a workshop on drug shortages Monday, September 26, to gain insight from physicians, patients, industry, and researchers about the causes and impact of drug shortages. Dr. Lawrence A. Solberg will represent ASH on a panel of health professional societies and offer the Society's recommendations on strategies to prevent and mitigate drug shortages. ASH has been one of the most vocal organizations about the need to address drug shortages and the impact this problem has had on patients. The Society's statement and recommendations can be found online.
News from FDA
FDA Reorganizes Drug Center's Oncology Office
The FDA announced September 12 that it is realigning the offices that review and approve all drug and biologic applications for cancer therapies. The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research's (CDER) Office of Oncology Drug Products has been reorganized and renamed the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products (OHOP). The new structure contains four divisions: Hematology Products, Oncology Products 1, Oncology Products 2, and Hematology Oncology Toxicology. Senior officials at FDA believe changes from the reorganization will not slow down pending applications, and will better support the agency’s work to get treatments to patients. Read more.
News & Information from ASH
Register for ASH's October Webinar on Stroke, Renal Disease, and Treatment with Hydroxyurea in Adults with Sickle Cell Disease
Registration is open for ASH’s October Webinar on Stroke, Renal Disease, and Treatment with Hydroxyurea in Adults with Sickle Cell Disease. This complimentary webinar, scheduled for Wednesday October 26th at 8:00 p.m. EST, will feature presentations by Ken Ataga, MD, Sophie Lanzkron, MD, MHS, and John J. Strouse, MD, PhD, provide time for questions and answers and highlight the state-of-the art with regards to management of renal disease and stroke and the use of hydroxyurea in adults with sickle cell disease. For more information or to register, visit www.hematology.org/webinars.
September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month
Congress has designated September as "National Sickle Cell Awareness Month" to help focus attention on the need for research and treatment of sickle cell disease, an inherited condition that currently affects 70,000-100,000 Americans. ASH continues to work with Congress, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other federal agencies to increase research, treatment options, and access to care for patients with this serious disease. ASH has developed a sickle cell working group to help identify ways the Society can support federal programs and enhance the Society's advocacy efforts to improve research and treatment. To learn more about federal sickle cell research opportunities, programs, and resources, visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) website and the CDC website. ASH will also be hosting a free webinar on Stroke, Renal Disease, and Treatment with Hydroxyurea in Adults with Sickle Cell Disease on October 26. Read more.
Advance Registration Open for 2011 Annual Meeting in San Diego
Advance registration and housing for the 53nd ASH Annual Meeting, in San Diego on December 10-13, 2011, is now open. Register online today. If you have questions, contact the ASH Meetings Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-776-0544.
Take Advantage of ASH's Consult a Colleague Member Benefit
Consult a Colleague is a service for ASH members that helps facilitate the exchange of information between hematologists and their peers. ASH members can seek consultation on clinical cases related to the following categories:
- Lymphoproliferative Disorders
- Multiple Myeloma & Waldenström's Macroglobulinemia
- Myeloproliferative Disorders
- Myelodysplastic Syndromes
To learn more or to submit a request, visit www.hematology.org/consult. Assigned Colleagues will respond to inquiries within one to two business days either by email or phone.
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