News from Washington
Advocacy Needed to Fight 27 Percent Medicare Physician Payment Cut Scheduled to Begin January 1
Physicians are scheduled to receive a 27 percent cut from Medicare beginning January 1, 2013, unless Congress takes legislative action to prevent it. The problem to fix is not convincing the Congress that this is bad, but finding the amount of money lawmakers would need to cuts elsewhere, or "offsets" to pay for preventing the cuts to physician payment. The American Society of Hematology (ASH) has developed an on-line advocacy campaign so hematologists can easily contact their Members of Congress and share their concerns. Please visit the ASH Advocacy Center to participate in the Society's on-line advocacy campaign today. It is critical that all Members of Congress hear from their physician constituents about the need to avert the scheduled physician payment cut.
ASH Submits Comments on Medicare Proposed Physician Fee Schedule for 2013
ASH submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the proposed 2013 physician fee schedule. The comments focused on recommendations about the proposed code for transitional care management services and how it will apply to hematologists and other medical subspecialties. The Society's comments also noted ASH's concerns regarding payment for the molecular pathology codes, Anti-Coagulation Management and Practice Expenses for Chemotherapy Codes. Additionally, ASH recommended that CMS include an exemption in the final rule for physicians that cannot report any Medicare-approved Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) measures because of their subspecialization and patient population.
News from CMS
HHS Announces Next Steps to Promote Use of Electronic Health Records and Health Information Exchange
On August 23, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the next steps in the Obama administration's work to help doctors and hospitals use electronic health records. Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, doctors, health-care professionals, and hospitals can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt and meaningfully use certified electronic health record (EHR) technology. CMS recently updated the EHR Incentive Programs website with a new Stage 2 section, which provides helpful information on the Stage 2 final rule and how it affects the EHR Incentive Programs. Read more.
News from FDA
FDA and Lundbeck Announce Discontinuation of Elspar (Asparaginase) By End of 2012
The United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified ASH that Lundbeck, LLC, will be discontinuing the sale of Elspar (asparaginase) in the U.S. by the end of December 2012. Elspar is indicated as a component of a multi-agent chemotherapeutic regimen for the treatment of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The FDA has confirmed that erwinian asparaginase and pegaspargase (Oncaspar) will continue to be available. Lundbeck is asking wholesale customers and healthcare providers to allocate their remaining product inventory for human use so current patients may conclude treatment protocols involving Elspar during this transition period. ASH is working with the FDA and the Society's ALL experts to better understand the impact that the discontinuation will have on ALL patients and to determine the potential for the usage of and the supply of alternate therapies. Read more.
FDA Approves Bosutinib for Previously Treated Adult Patients With Ph+ CML
On September 4, 2012, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration approved bosutinib tablets (Bosulif®, Pfizer, Inc.) for the treatment of chronic, accelerated, or blast phase Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in adult patients with resistance or intolerance to prior therapy. The approval was based on a single-arm, open-label, multi-center trial which enrolled 546 patients with either chronic phase (CP), accelerated phase (AP) or blast phase (BP) CML previously treated with at least one prior tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). Read more.
News from NHLBI
NHLBI and NCI Seek Input on Building a National Resource to Study MDS; Submit Your Responses Now
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are seeking input from the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) community on the feasibility and design of a proposed MDS natural history study. The study being considered would collect, store, and make available to the wider scientific community biospecimens and data to facilitate research leading to a better understanding of disease progression. ASH applauds NHLBI and NCI for spearheading this effort, in concert with the recommendations from the 2010 ASH Workshop on MDS. Visit the ASH website for additional information and details about what information NHLBI and NCI are seeking input on.
News from ASH
Register for ASH's September Webinar on Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia
Register for the ASH webinar on Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia, scheduled for Thursday, September 20, 2012, at 8:00 p.m., ET. One of the most important issues associated with the early diagnosis and acute management of idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) is the communication between the blood banker and the hematologist. Diagnosis followed by acute and chronic management of AIHA involves the use of appropriate diagnostics to suspect, confirm, and manage the treatment of patients with AIHA. ASH is grateful to The Henry Loring Masters Foundation for providing support for the development and distribution of this valuable webinar. For more information on this and other ASH webinars, visit the ASH website.
Earn CME Credits from Blood
ASH, in partnership with Medscape, provides monthly opportunities to earn Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits by completing an Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) accredited activity in Blood. This month's activity is titled "All-trans-Retinoic Acid, Idarubicin, and IV Arsenic Trioxide as Initial Therapy in Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APML4)."
Register for ASH's 2nd Consultative Hematology Course
Register for 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 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.
Register for the 2012 ASH State-of-the-Art Symposium: Recent Advances in Hematologic Malignancies
Register today for the ASH State-of-the-Art Symposium (SAS). SAS is taking place in two locations this year – 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.
Join us for the premier hematology event of the year!
In a continuing effort to improve and enhance the ASH annual meeting experience, each year the Society adds new sessions and programs. The new and enhanced offerings introduced this year promise to make the meeting exciting and unique. They will include extended schedules for the Education Program, enhanced small interactive sessions with experts, featuring "How I Treat: Bringing Science to Clinical Dilemmas" discussion, and more. Advance registration and housing is now open; register today to join your colleagues for the 54th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition on December 8-11 in Atlanta, GA.
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