News from Washington
Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Health Reform Law
The United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by a 5-4 decision on June 28. The majority opinion 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 also decided that the federal government cannot withhold existing Medicaid funding to states as punishment for not complying with the expansion requirements. The ruling means 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. Read more.
President Obama Signs FDA Bill on User Fee Programs & Drug Shortages; ASH Advocacy Successful
On July 9, President Barack Obama signed The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act into law. The final legislation, also known as the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), includes provisions to mitigate drug shortages, which ASH advocated. In addition to addressing drug shortages, the new law creates user fee programs for generic drugs and generic biologic drugs, or biosimilars, and includes provisions that focus on the safety of the drug supply chain, among other issues. ASH's comprehensive summary of the drug shortage provisions in the bill can be found on the Society's Website. Read more.
News from CMS
CMS Announces Proposed 2013 Physician Fee Schedule Regulation
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the proposed 2013 Physician Fee Schedule rule on July 7. The proposed rule would increase payments to family physicians by approximately 7 percent and other practitioners providing primary care services between 3 and 5 percent. Some of the issues discussed in the proposed regulation include: care transition codes, telehealth, advanced molecular pathology services, preventive services, multiple procedure payment reductions, face-to-face requirement for high-cost durable medical equipment, the Physician Compare Program, the Physician Quality Reporting System, e-prescribing, and the value-based modifier. Over the coming weeks, ASH staff will work with the Committee on Practice and Subcommittee on Reimbursement to identify and address proposed policy changes in the proposed rule that the profession can support as well as those that raise concerns. Comments on the proposed rule are due September 4.
CMS Names 89 New Medicare Shared Savings ACOs
CMS has announced the selection of 89 additional Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to participate in the Medicare Shared Saving Program. In total, there now are 154 organizations participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives, serving over 2.4 million Medicare patients across the country. All ACOs that succeed in reducing the rate of growth in the cost of care while providing high quality care may share in the savings to Medicare. To ensure high quality of care, ACOs will report performance on 33 measures relating to care coordination and patient safety, use of appropriate preventive health services, improved care for at-risk populations, and patient and caregiver experience of care. More information is available on the CMS website.
CMS to Host National Provider Call on PQRS and eRx Incentive Program on July 17
CMS will host a national provider call on the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program on Tuesday, July 17, from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET. Subject matter experts will provide an overview of the proposed changes to the 2013 Physician Quality Reporting System & Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program as outlined in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule. A question and answer session will follow the presentation. Registration is required to participate.
News from ASH
Register for the 2012 ASH State-of-the-Art Symposium: Recent Advances in Hematologic Malignancies Including a Special Focus on Thrombosis
Register today for one of this year's ASH State-of-the-Art Symposium (SAS) is taking place in two locations – Chicago on September 28-29 and Los Angeles on October 12-13. This clinically focused meeting has no competing sessions and boasts a small attendee-to-speaker ratio allowing for plenty of interaction with the speakers and your colleagues. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask our distinguished speakers about new treatment approaches, solutions for your challenging cases, or diagnosis and management of hematologic malignancies. This year's program will have a special focus on thrombosis. Visit www.hematology.org/sas for the full program schedule, hotel accommodations, and registration information.
Register for ASH’s 2nd Consultative Hematology Course
The American Society of Hematology 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 Sympoisum (SAS). This intensive half-day program focuses on updates in non-malignant hematology designed for practitioners who are trained as hematologists or hematologist-oncologists, but now periodically see patents with non-malignant hematologic conditions. Experts will use case-based presentations to stimulate interactive discussions. 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.
Take Advantage of ASH's Consult a Colleague Service
Consult a Colleague is a service for ASH members that helps facilitate the exchange of information between hematologists and their peers. The full list of available categories is below:
- Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation
- 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 two business days either by email or phone.
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