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    Urologists unveil future of health delivery at AACU conference

    Based on a partnership with Urology Times, articles from the American Association of Clinical Urologists (AACU) provide updates on legislative processes and issues affecting urologists. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Contact the AACU government affairs office at 847-517-1050 or [email protected] for more information

    Energized by recent legislative victories from Tallahassee to Olympia, urologists looked to the future as they gathered for the 6th annual AACU State Society Network Advocacy Conference. Taking place just days after the Oct. 1 launch of open enrollment for health insurance exchange plans, the event focused on the role of urologists and their professional associations in a transformed health care delivery system.

    Nationally recognized policy experts and business consultants shared a fresh take on the nascent online insurance marketplaces and the evolution of health care delivery. Speakers described how the pay-for-performance model is evolving and suggested that specialists must work together to establish “pay-for-value” metrics for these new reimbursement programs.

    Technology will continue to be a driving force for the future practice of medicine, and attendees heard from experts who spoke on the emerging influence of “big data” on medical decision making. A dynamic trio of speakers explained how public, private, and academic entities can be partners in the technological innovation of medicine. Lisa Delp, director of Ohio-based Innovation Fund America, provided innumerable examples of how government has served as a catalyst, rather than an obstructionist in the development of health care technology.

    Urologic community advocacy, as always, featured prominently throughout the conference. The leaders of state and national urology societies shared recent successes and best practices to consider implementing nationwide. In addition, attendees were treated to a special briefing on the AACU's 2014 agenda. Newly installed President Richard Pelman, MD, explained his desire to secure 50-state participation in next year’s event, as well as to establish societies in those jurisdictions without a state organization representing urologists. He insisted that the collective knowledge of current leaders, as well as the AACU’s ability to mobilize physicians in grassroots activity, would be leveraged to support organizational development across the country.

    AACU Health Policy Chair Jeffrey Frankel, MD, also led a session during which the AACU’s proactive legislative campaigns were outlined. These campaigns will involve five key issues, as outlined below. Information and advocacy tools surrounding these issues will be a part of the AACU’s new website, which will be rolled out later this year.

    AACU proactive advocacy campaigns

    • Public Health–Prostate Cancer Screening & Awareness Goal: State law requiring all payers to cover screening for prostate cancer.

    • Scope of Practice–Collaborative Physician-led Care Goal: Expanded scopes of practice for non-physician providers must maintain a physician as the leader in the provision of medical care.

    • Administrative Simplification – Uniform Prior Authorization Goal: Require all payers to utilize uniform electronic prior authorization forms for pharmaceuticals, procedures, and services.

    • Medical Liability Reform–Expert Witness Standards Goal: Strengthen expert witness requirements to ensure witnesses have specialty-specific expertise and are accountable for the validity of their testimony.

    • Work Force – Fair Contracting and Medical Practice Freedom Goal: Ensure fair and open contractual relationships between third-party payers and health care providers and prohibit tying health care provider licensure to participation in a third-party payer program.

    Urology societies and individual urologists, empowered with model legislation, talking points, and coalition-building resources fashioned by the AACU, will achieve distinction within the medical community for their progressive push for pro-patient and pro-physician measures. Whether a state urology society already engages in socioeconomic affairs or it currently focuses solely on science, the AACU will encourage and reinforce proactive advocacy campaigns.

    Conference attendees, including the leaders of more than two dozen organizations representing urologists, exhibited tenacity and resolve during the AACU State Society Network Advocacy Conference that will sustain the entire urology community as the uncertain future is revealed.UT

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