News from Washington
ASH Submits Comments to Congress Regarding a Permanent Medicare Physician Payment Solution
ASH submitted comments to the House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce Committees in response to the Committees' proposal to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and reform Medicare's physician fee for service payment system. ASH supports repealing the SGR and replacing the current payment formula with predictable payment rates for at least five years while stakeholders develop a new payment system based on quality. The Society's comments noted the difficulties in how to best and most efficiently develop quality tools for physicians and participate in current federal quality-related programs, and urged lawmakers to consider these issues as they look at reforming physician reimbursement. Read more.
Medicare Provider Payments to be Cut Two Percent as Part of Sequestration
Congress must pass and the president must sign legislation by Friday, March 1 to reduce federal spending by $85 billion -- or automatic across-the-board cuts known as “sequestration” in both domestic and defense programs will go into effect. Unlike other major social programs such as Social Security and Medicaid, Medicare is not exempt from sequestration and will face a two percent cut in provider payments should Congress fail to reach an agreement. A two percent cut is relatively modest compared to the 10 percent cut the National Institutes of Health will get, but providers will feel the effect of the cuts. Read more.
News from the FDA
FDA Alerts Health Care Providers of Recall of Anemia Drug Omontys
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration alerted health care providers and patients of a voluntary nationwide recall of all lots of Omontys Injection by Affymax, Inc., of Palo Alto, California, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company Limited, of Deerfield, Illinois. The recall is due to reports of anaphylaxis, a serious and life-threatening allergic reaction. Omontys is used to treat anemia in adult dialysis patients. Read more.
News from ASH
Nominations are Now Being Accepted for the ASH Practice Partnership
ASH recently launched an exciting new group - the ASH Practice Partnership (APP) - to help increase the voice of practicing hematologists and elevate practice-related issues within the Society. ASH would like to have every state in the United States represented in the APP. The ideal candidate is an ASH member, who is interested in hematology care issues, improving quality of care, engaging in new health care delivery systems, and practice management issues. APP members receive a variety of benefits, which include: helping to shape ASH's policies and programs, networking opportunities, early access to ASH products such as pocket guides, and discounts for ASH programs. Submit a nomination.
CMS' PQRS Reporting Deadline is March 13; ASH Offers PQRS Reporting Tool to Help Hematologists Obtain PQRS Bonus Payment
ASH is pleased offer a web-based tool to help hematologists obtain the 0.5 percent incentive payment for reporting quality measures on Medicare patients during calendar year 2012. The deadline for 2012 reporting is March 13, 2013. The ASH-branded registry, PQRIwizardSM will assist hematologists in satisfactorily reporting data on quality measures under the CMS PQRS. The PQRIwizardSM features 25 quality measures in the areas of hematology, oncology, and general medicine, including ASH's four hematology measures on myelodysplastic syndrome, acute leukemias, multiple myeloma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The PQRIwizardSM is similar to online tax preparation software and will make reporting easier. The cost of PQRIwizardSM is $299.
Become familiar with the PQRS process now, in order to avoid the upcoming penalty phase. Your successful participation in PQRS in 2013 and 2014 not only impacts your eligibility for the bonus payment, but will also help you avoid the penalty in 2015 and 2016. CMS currently plans to base the penalties in 2015 and 2016 on the 2013 and 2014 reporting years. Read more.
Earn CME Credits fromBlood
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 "Integrated Mutational and Cytogenetic Analysis Identifies New Prognostic Subgroups in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia."
Save the Date for the 2013 ASH State-of-the-Art Symposium
It's never too early to start planning to attend the 2013 ASH State-of-the-Art Symposium (SAS). Hear the latest clinical research updates in hematology and enjoy networking opportunities with colleagues and experts. This year's dates and locations are September 27-28, 2013, in Chicago, IL, and October 11-12, 2013, in Los Angeles, CA. Visit www.hematology.org/SAS13 for more information.
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