Archive for March of 2010

Last Chance to Register for DO Day on Capital Hill

March 29, 2010
Speaking of federal health events, AOA members have only a few days left to register for the 4/29/10 DO Day on Capitol Hill. DO Day is the osteopathic profession's premier advocacy event. It highlights the osteopathic profession and its future by bringing osteopathic physicians, medical students and members of the osteopathic family to Washington, DC, to advocate on key health care issues, especially Medicare physician payment, workforce, and promotion of the osteopathic medical profession. Join your colleagues in Washington, DC on April 29th for DO Day on Capitol Hill and make an impact on the future of medicine. Click here to register! Registration for this event will close on 3/31/10 at 5 p.m. Eastern.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 29, 2010
Did you know...that the AOA and the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (MAOPS) are working together to host a Town Hall Meeting on the implementation of health care reform and what it means for osteopathic physicians and their patients? The meeting will take place on 4/8/10 both on site at the MAOPS Convention in Lake of the Ozarks and via the internet as a Web cast. Register for the town hall meeting online.

Advocacy Supports Medical Home Pilots

March 23, 2010
In addition to meeting with students and faculty, President Wickless has also been writing letters, most recently to the Maryland State Senate Finance Committee on 3/15/10. This letter was in support of SB 855, which would establish all-payer and single-payer Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) pilot programs; permit the use of care coordination payments and incentive-based bonus arrangements for providers participating in PCMH programs; facilitate the sharing of medical information; and provide for an independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the Maryland PCMH program in reducing costs and improving outcomes. The AOA has been actively engaged in the development of the medical home concept since its inception as a way to lower health care costs while improving patient satisfaction and health.

Register Today for DO Day on Capitol Hill

March 23, 2010
How concerned are you about a 21.2% cut to Medicare reimbursements? Registration is open for the 4/29/10 DO Day on Capitol Hill, the osteopathic medical profession's premier advocacy event. It highlights the profession and its future by bringing osteopathic physicians, osteopathic medical students, and AOA official family members to Washington, DC, to advocate on key health care issues. With Medicare payment cuts looming and physician overhead on the rise, DO Day is a perfect opportunity to lobby Congress and ask them to halt band-aid corrections on the flawed Medicare payment formula and enact permanent reforms. Join your colleagues in Washington, DC, on April 29 for DO Day on Capitol Hill and make an impact on the future of medicine—register today!

President Wickless Addresses APMA

March 22, 2010
Speaking of Washington, DC, on Sunday, 3/21/10, AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, addressed the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) in our Nation’s Capital. Dr. Wickless focused his remarks on a common goal of all medical professions - helping the patients we serve to lead healthier lives. Through education and outreach, medical communities can not only promote wellness, but also teach the public about staying well and preventing illness or debilitating health issues. Dr. Wickless applauded the APMA for its promotion of April as National Foot Health Awareness Month and shared the goals of the AOA’s celebration of National Osteopathic Medicine (NOM) Week during which we will educate the public on children’s health. Dr. Wickless particularly encouraged the APMA audience to join the AOA and First Lady Michelle Obama in moving together to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic and other childhood diseases.

AOA Supports NAPUD

March 22, 2010
The AOA has joined with members of the National Alliance to Prevent Underage Drinking (NAPUD) to request support for funding programs authorized by the Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act, which is in the FY 2011 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill. Since 2004 the AOA has been a supporter of NAPUD, an ad hoc coalition that includes medical, public health, education, and consumer organizations. As a member of the alliance, the AOA joins the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, among others, to support and promote the implementation of a comprehensive science-based strategy to reduce underage drinking. Our continued support for this organization helps us to promote last year’s House of Delegates’ resolution regarding teenage alcohol abuse, stating that we support programs aimed to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol.

Trustees Weigh In on Health Care Reform Efforts

March 17, 2010
The AOA Board of Trustees (BOT) convened via conference call last evening under the leadership of AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, to discuss the AOA position on health care reform as Congress nears a final vote after a year-long debate. Guided by AOA policies established by the AOA House of Delegates, the Board is weighing how to advance these policies yet express our serious concerns over certain provisions that either fall short or, like Medicare physician payment or PLI reform, are not included and must be addressed in a reconciliation bill or future legislation. We will keep the AOA Official Family apprised of Congressional and AOA activities in this regard.

Patient Centered Medical Home Pilot Proposal in Ohio

March 16, 2010
President Wickless wrote to the Chair of the Ohio State Senate's Health, Human Services & Aging Committee on 3/15/10 in support of HB 198, which would create the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Education Pilot Project to advance medical education in the medical home model of care; create a PCMH Education Advisory Group to implement and administer the project; and require the Advisory Group to develop curricula in the PCMH model of care. The bill also calls for the joint development of a proposal for the creation of a primary care medical student component of the Choose Ohio First scholarship program. The AOA has been actively engaged in the development of the medical home concept since its inception. President Wickless' letter states the PCMH's proven benefits in improving patient health and health care quality while lowering costs.

Advocacy for Electronic Health Record Standard Revisions

March 12, 2010
AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, wrote to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today to provide the AOA's comments on CMS' proposed electronic health record incentive program. The AOA believes that-if implemented properly-the widespread adoption of health information technologies, such as electronic prescribing and electronic health records (EHR), will reduce the occurrence of medical errors, enhance quality, and improve the efficiency of providing medical care. However, to help physician practices make a successful transition to fully functioning EHR systems, we believe that CMS' efforts must go further in their proposed objectives and measures to adequately address the challenges physician practices face in adopting and implementing electronic health records as well as the impact those challenges will have on patient care. Read the letter here.

Advocacy Victory for West Virginia DOs

March 10, 2010
The AOA and the West Virginia Society of Osteopathic Medicine recently worked together to resolve an issue in the "Mountain State." The issue arose when the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission (WVSSAC) updated its policy on required qualifications for physicians who perform physical examinations for referees and other high school athletics officiating staff, stating that the "signature of anyone other than [a] licensed MD is not acceptable." We wrote to the WVSSAC on 2/10/10 to iterate the clear and unequivocal parity West Virginia law guarantees between DOs and MDs and requested clarification and, if necessary, correction of the policy. As a result, the WVSSAC has contacted the AOA to advise us that this policy was in error and that DOs are indeed allowed to sign physician examination forms.

Advocacy for Physician Authority in Alaska

March 09, 2010
AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, wrote to members of the Alaska State House Labor and Commerce Committee on 3/9/10 in opposition to HB 282. In addition to creating the Alaska Naturopathic Medical Board, this bill expands the scope of practice of naturopaths beyond their education and training. Specifically, it would allow naturopaths to prescribe and administer prescription drugs, controlled substances, vaccines, hormones and medical devices; conduct medical imaging and laboratory examinations; perform pre-employment, school and workplace health examinations; perform minor surgeries; and refer to themselves as naturopathic physicians. It is the AOA's position that naturopaths' education and training is insufficient to justify the proposed increase in scope of practice and that this bill would pose significant threats to patient safety.

Advocacy for Osteopathic Parity in West Virginia

March 08, 2010
AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, , and the West Virginia Society of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) wrote to members of the West Virginia House Health and Human Resources Committee on 3/4/10 in support of SB 618, which would modify the classes of pharmaceuticals and the amount of certain drugs that physician assistants supervised by osteopathic physicians are authorized to prescribe. These amendments would result in a parallel scope of practice for physician assistants supervised by allopathic and osteopathic physicians. Pursuant to West Virginia Code § 30-14, osteopathic physicians licensed to practice in the state have the same rights and privileges as physicians and surgeons of other schools of medicine. The AOA and the WVSOM respectfully requested that legislators consider our position on this issue and support SB 618.

Advocacy for Patient Safety in West Virginia

March 04, 2010
AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, and the West Virginia Society of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) wrote to members of the West Virginia House Health and Human Resources Committee on 3/2/10 in opposition to SB 230. This legislation would expand optometrists' scope of practice beyond their education and training, creating patient safety concerns. Specifically, this bill would allow optometrists to administer or prescribe any drug from the drug formulary, as established by the Board of Optometry; perform injection procedures; order laboratory tests; use a diagnostic laser to perform glaucoma laser eye surgeries; and refer to themselves as "optometric physicians." The AOA and the WVSOM respectfully requested that the House consider our position on this issue before voting on the bill.

Medicare Payment Cuts Averted-Temporarily

March 03, 2010
Thanks to physician advocacy, including the osteopathic call to action issued by AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, the United States Senate has approved HR 4691 to extend current Medicare physician payment policy until 3/31/10! The House of Representatives approved the bill on 2/26/10; the Senate vote ensures that the 21% cut in Medicare physician payments will be averted for an additional 30 days. However, to prevent future cuts beyond the end of March, we need all DOs and official family members to take action today (click on the links below to take action):
A. Use the AOA's toll-free hotline to call your Senators and Representatives
B. Share your story with the AOA and help our lobbying efforts
C. Send a letter to your Members of Congress

AOA Advocates to BCBSA for Proper OMT Payment

March 01, 2010
Yolanda Doss, Director of the AOA Division of Socioeconomic Affairs, and I met today with the medical and managing directors of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) at their headquarters in Chicago regarding several problems DOs have been experiencing with BCBS plans around the U.S. Issues addressed included recognition of osteopathic credentialing, incorrect classification of OMT, the medical necessity of OMT, and the bundling of claims for evaluation and management office visits with OMT. Today's meeting aimed to ensure that BCBS plans nationwide properly recognize osteopathic credentials and pay for osteopathic medical care.