News from Washington
Congressional Committees Ponder Physician Payments
Congressional committees responsible for assembling a proposal to overhaul the Medicare physician payment formula have conducted recent hearings to weigh options. The committee sessions offer a reminder to lawmakers that the current payment fix for physician payments expires at the end of the year, which is a part of the continuous adjustment of Medicare payment rates since the formula became unsustainable in 2002. 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 (PFS) rule on July 7. The proposed rule updates payment policies and payment rates for services furnished under the PFS and includes changes to the quality reporting initiatives associated with the PFS – the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program, the Shared Savings Program, and the physician value-based payment modifier. ASH has developed a detailed summary and analysis of the key issues and potential impact on hematology and is working on comments to submit to CMS.
Of particular interest is a proposal for post-discharge transitional care management services (page two). The intent of this proposal is to benefit primary care physicians. However, this proposal may applicable to hematologists. If you have comments on this or any other part of the proposed rule, please contact ASH Government Relations and Practice Manager Stephanie Kaplan with additional details about its potential impact. Comments on the proposed rule are due September 4.
2012 PQRS Program Reminder
CMS has noted that it is not too late to start participating in the 2012 PQRS and potentially qualify to receive an incentive payment equal to 0.5 percent of an eligible professional's total Medicare Part B allowed charges for services furnished during the reporting period. A new six month reporting period using the registry submission option began on July 1, 2012. In addition, there are still ways to participate in the 12-month reporting period using claims, registry or Electronic Health Records (EHR) submission. Read more.
CMS to Host National Provider Call on Health Reform Implementation on August 1
Officials at CMS will hold a national call on Wednesday, August 1, from 2:30 - 4:00 p.m. ET. The discussion will focus on the proposed implementation of a provision in the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that will apply a value-based modifier to physicians' Medicare payment rates. Registration for this call is required. Read more.
CMS Announces Fifteen New Advance Payment ACOs
Earlier this month, CMS announced the names of the organizations that began participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program on July 1. CMS has announced that 15 of those Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) will also be participating in the Advance Payments ACO Model. The Advance Payment ACO Model is designed to support physician-based and rural ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program who have less access to capital. Through the Advance Payment ACO Model, selected participants will receive upfront and monthly payments, which they can use to make important investments in their care coordination infrastructure. Read more.
News from FDA
FDA Approves Carfilzomib Injection for Treatment of Multiple Myeloma Patients
On July 20, 2012, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to carfilzomib injection (Kyprolis™, Onyx Pharmaceuticals), for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior therapies, including bortezomib and an immunomodulatory agent, and have demonstrated disease progression on or within 60 days of the completion of the last therapy. The approval was based on the results of a single-arm, multicenter clinical trial enrolling 266 patients with relapsed multiple myeloma who had received at least two prior therapies, including bortezomib and an immunomodulatory agent (thalidomide or lenalidomide). Read more.
News from ASH
ASH Annual Meeting Member-Only Registration is Open
ASH members, take advantage of the exclusive early-bird registration and housing for the 54th ASH Annual Meeting that will take place December 8-11, 2012, in Atlanta, GA. The ASH annual meeting is the leading annual educational and scientific event in the field of hematology that features groundbreaking advances in patient care and opportunities to network with colleagues and top leaders in the field. Register now!
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.
ASH Offers Tools for ABIM Maintenance of Certification
ASH offers four chart abstraction tools for hematologists to use in the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification process. The four tools, focusing on myelodysplastic syndromes, multiple myeloma, perioperative anticoagulation management, and immune thrombocytopenia, can be used with the ABIM's Self-Directed Practice Improvement Modules (PIM) to meet the minimum of 20 practice performance points needed to maintain certification. Read more.