August 2017 Advocacy News

August 2017 | Members testify in support of SUNucate
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ASDSA on Capitol Hill representing specialty medicine

In our continuing efforts to make the voices of dermatologic surgeons and their patients heard in Washington, four members represented ASDSA at the 2017 Alliance of Specialty Medicine (ASM) Fly-In. Representing ASDSA members and patients were ASDSA liaison to ASM, George J. Hruza, MD, MBA; Federal Affairs Work Group Chair Murad Alam, MD, MBA; and Work Group members Seemal Desai, MD, and Lawrence J. Green, MD. ASDSA members attending for the American College of Mohs Surgery (ACMS) included Patrick Davey, MD, Erin S. Gardner, MD, and Brent R. Moody, MD (also an ASDSA Federal Work Group member). ASM is made up of national medical specialty organizations who together advocate for sound federal health care policy that fosters patient access to the highest quality medical care for all Americans. The coalition represents over 100,000 physicians. (Pictured above: Murad Alam, MD, MBA; George J. Hruza, MD, MBA; Seemal Desai, MD; and Lawrence J. Green, MD.)
Issues ASM specialty physicians advocated for include:  
Clockwise from upper left: George J. Hruza, MD, MBA, and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO); Seemal Desai, MD, with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Thomas E. Price, MD; ASDSA and ACMS representatives Murad Alam, MD, MBA, Elizabeth M. Billingsley, MD, and Brent R. Moody, MD (far right), with House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX).

SUNucate attracts national media attention, ASDSA testifies in Massachusetts

SUNucate continues its momentum, garnering national media attention. With seven states passing SUNucate legislation, USA Today ran a story highlighting not only the need for schools to allow students to apply sunscreen without a doctor’s note, but also the fact that legislators were unaware this was an issue, as was the case when Rep. Craig Hall introduced SUNucate in Utah. Mentioned in the Pew Charitable Trusts, legislators have become motivated by parents who have had children suffer serious sunburns at school events (such as field trips or recess).
 ASDSA members Marilyn R. Capek, MD, and Adele Haimovic, MD (pictured at right), also testified in front of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Education, explaining that barriers to students using sunscreen puts them at significant risk of sun damage. Their expertise validated scientific evidence to the health advantages of allowing the use of sunscreen in schools. Thank you to Dr. Capek and Dr. Haimovic for pushing SUNucate in Massachusetts!

Supporting the Preserving Patient Access to Compounded Medications Act

ASDSA in conjunction with physician, patient, pharmacist and other health care provider groups have come together to preserve patient safety and patient access to compounded medications. Since 2014, this DQSA Coalition has worked to educate the FDA, State Boards of Pharmacy and Congress about our concerns with the FDA’s implementation and enforcement of the Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013 and find policy solutions that balance patient safety with access to compounded medications. As part of the Coalition, we support H.R. 2871, The Preserving Patient Access to Compounded Medications Act, and are working to urge Congress to pass this bill as soon as possible. H.R. 2871 will clarify key provisions of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) as amended by the DQSA that the FDA has been misinterpreting in a way that has jeopardized access to compounded medications for the patients that need them.

Proposed changes to MACRA assist low-volume practices

A Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed rule will exempt more than half of physicians from participating in MACRA’s Quality Payment Programs (QPP). The update to the QPP increases the low-volume threshold for participation, exempting practices that receive less than $90,000 or less in Medicare Part B payments or have less than 200 Medicare patients. These practices would not be required to participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs). This change helps many practices that would struggle to meet requirements, although some view it as a penalty for those who have already invested in the resources to participate.


  • The 2017 Medicare Trustees Report, which projects the long-term finances of the Medicare program, found that Medicare spending will not trigger the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) until 2021. This delay will give lawmakers time to eliminate IPAB, an issue that has bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and the Senate
  • After a lengthy debate on health care reform, the Senate is now regrouping on how to proceed. For now, the Senate is still in session and will proceed on judicial nominations. 
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