Bob Gatty
Bob Gatty, a former congressional aide, covers news from Washington for Urology Times.
President Bush urges medical liability reform

HHS report says health care litigation is threatening patient safety and quality of care

Washington-The high cost of medical malpractice insurance, both for patients and physicians, is gaining renewed attention in Washington, with President Bush calling for reform and a new report by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging legislative action.

Legislation would compensate for Medicare fee cuts

Single bill would award physicians with a 2% increase and offer drug coverage to seniors

Washington-Despite continued concerns over terrorism and corporate shenanigans that have sent the stock markets tumbling, there is some good news for urologists from Washington this summer. By the end of this session of Congress, chances are good that last year's Medicare fee cuts will be fixed and that Medicare patients will be given some form of prescription drug coverage.

AUA pushes for creation of NIH urology division

Separate group would ensure strong, effective leadership for urology program

Washington-Frustrated with a lack of progress at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), AUA is now pushing for creation of a separate urology division that would give "strong and effective leadership for the urology program" at the National Institutes of Health.

Medicare reform aims to restore fee reduction
Another cut is possible unless formula used to determine physician payments is fixed

Washington-It's the big money squeeze, and that's what members of Congress are facing as they seek to resolve several crucial health policy issues important to urologists over the summer months with Congressional elections on the horizon.

Coalition pushes for prostate cancer research funding

Group presses for $420 million at NIH and $100 million at Defense Department in 2003

Washington - The case for bolstering funding for prostate cancer research is being pressed on Capitol Hill by a 6-year-old coalition of organizations and individuals who are determined to end the disease that has accounted for 15% of all male cancer deaths over the last decade.

Legislators plan to take aim at 'inflated' drug prices

System based on average sales price would reduce overpayments, members of Congress say

Washington-Convinced that physicians are somehow ripping off Medicare by overcharging for prescription drugs, members of Congress are working to find a solution. The eventual result could be restrictions on drug charges, combined with improvements in reimbursement levels for some cognitive services.

Patients' rights legislation may be back on the table

President's comment during State of the Union address re-ignites debate over right to sue

Washington-Lobbyists for insurance companies, the managed care industry, and dozens of large trade associations are worried. Their long-time ally, President Bush, has been talking to one of their biggest enemies, Sen. Ted Kennedy, about, heaven forbid, managed care reform.

Congress fails to restore Medicare reimbursement cuts

Patients' rights, regulatory reform, and research funding are still under consideration

Washington-With a 5.5% decrease in Medicare reimbursement rates now in place for 2002, urologists and other specialty groups are hoping to convince Congress to quickly reduce those cuts and act on other issues important to them, as well.

Lobbyists push to prevent Medicare fee reduction

Washington-While several major health issues that were sidetracked by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are poised for consideration by Congress when it returns to action this month, lobbyists for urologists and other physician groups were working hard at press time to prevent a reduction in 2002 Medicare fees.

Lobbyists trying to push Medicare issues to forefront
Concerns related to stem cell research and human cloning appear to have been resolved

Washington-Even though Congress is heavily embroiled in issues resulting from the Sept. 11 catastrophe, health care strategists are trying to figure out how to move several Medicare issues of importance to urologists and other physicians. At the same time, important decisions are being made on such key policy concerns as stem cell research, human cloning, and even the shortage of nurses.

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