News from Washington
Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Health Reform Law
Today, June 28, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by a 5-4 decision. The majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, who joined Justices Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg, determines that the individual mandate is constitutional because it is a tax. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional. The Supreme Court further decided that the federal government cannot withhold existing Medicaid funding to states as punishment for states that do not comply with the expansion requirements. The entire Supreme Court decision can be found here.
Because the PPACA is constitutional, thousands of individuals with hematologic disorders will continue to benefit from the patient protections currently in effect, such as the elimination of lifetime limits on benefits, extension of dependent coverage to age 26, and elimination of pre-existing conditions exclusions for children. Most of the other private insurance reforms and coverage expansions in the law do not become effective until 2014. Today's decision will have a significant impact on the states, which may choose not to expand Medicaid coverage since the penalty of loosing existing federal funds has been removed. As implementation moves forward in 2014 and beyond, ASH will continue its advocacy on behalf of hematologists to ensure that patients with hematologic disorders have access to all appropriate therapies and care.
ASH will provide additional details about the decision in the coming weeks.
Congress Passes FDA Bill on User Fee Programs & Drug Shortages; Bill Sent to President for Signature
On June 26, the United State Senate passed the final Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) legislation (The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety and Innovation Act, S. 3187) including important provisions to mitigate drug shortages. In addition to addressing drug shortages, the bill would create user fee programs for generic drugs and generic biologic drugs, or biosimilars, and include provisions that focus on the safety of the drug supply chain, among other issues. The bill, which was passed by the House on Wednesday, June 20, will now go to President Obama for his signature. ASH believes this legislation represents an important first step in addressing the drug shortage crisis. However, the Society is disappointed that the final legislation does not include biologics in the list of drugs covered under the bill's requirement that manufacturers provide advanced notification of stoppages or interruptions in production that could result in a drug shortage. Read more.
News from Medicare
Medicare eRx Payment Adjustment Hardship Exemption Submission Deadline – June 30, 2012
From calendar year (CY) 2012 through 2014, a payment adjustment that increases each calendar year will be applied to an eligible professional's Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) covered professional services for not becoming a successful electronic prescriber. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) may exempt individual eligible professionals and group practices participating in eRx GPRO from the 2013 eRx payment adjustment if it is determined that compliance with the requirements for becoming a successful electronic prescriber would result in a significant hardship. Read more.
CMS to Host National Provider Call on Hospital Value-Based Purchasing on July 11
CMS will host a National Provider Call with a question and answer session on the FY2014 Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program on Wednesday, July 11 from 1:30 – 3:00 pm E.T. The purpose of this call is to provide an overview of the FY2014 Program and to review the differences between the FY2013 and FY2014 Programs, primarily the addition of the Outcome domain in the FY2014 Program. Registration is required to participate.
News from ASH
Registration Now Open for 2012 ASH State-of-the-Art Symposia in Chicago and Los Angeles
Register today for one of this year's ASH State-of-the-Art Symposia taking place in two locations – Chicago on September 28-29 and Los Angeles on October 12-13. This clinically focused small meeting provides the high quality educational content for which the ASH annual meeting is known, in a congenial environment where you will have the opportunity to network with colleagues and discuss real patient cases with experts. This year's program will focus on recent advances in hematologic malignancies, including a special focus on thrombosis, and feature high profile speakers. For complete meeting details visit the ASH website.
Are you a practicing hematologist in community practice?
ASH is pleased to announce the second Consultative Hematology Course, being held this year in Chicago on September 28, prior to the 2012 ASH® State-of-the-Art Symposium (SAS). This intensive half-day program focuses on updates in non-malignant hematology targeting those who are trained as hematologists or hematologist-oncologists but now see patents with such disorders on a less frequent basis. Visit the ASH Website for more details about the program and to register.
Dates Announced for the 2013 Highlights of ASH
Save the date for one of the 2013 Highlights of ASH! Taking place in North America, Latin America, and Asia, these smaller meetings provide attendees with the opportunity to engage in discussions with leading experts about the latest treatment options presented during the preceding ASH annual meeting. Find the location most convenient for you and don't miss the chance to network with colleagues and gain new practice strategies. Look for more details on the ASH website.
Nominations are Now Being Accepted for the 2012 ASH Advocacy Leadership Institute
The second annual ASH Advocacy Leadership Institute will take place September 12-13, 2012, in Washington, DC. This two-day leadership workshop is a unique opportunity for ASH members gain better understanding of the Society and its activities, as well as legislation and health policy affecting hematology research and practice. The first day of the Institute will focus on learning about the legislative process and health policy, and will include intense training in advocacy. Sessions will feature guest speakers from Congress and the Administration including the National Institutes of Health and other health agency officials. The second day will consist of visits with the participants' Congressional delegation on Capitol Hill to apply what was learned on the first day. Learn more.
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