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    AUA initiatives focus on lobbying, research efforts

    William W. Bohnert, MDWilliam W. Bohnert, MD J. Brantley Thrasher, MDJ. Brantley Thrasher, MD

    In 2014, AUA members anticipate facing continued legislative challenges in a sea of health care reform. As a result, the AUA has increased its lobbying efforts, but needs the broad support of individual members to bring about change, says newly elected AUA President William W. Bohnert, MD. In this article, he discusses current AUA initiatives in advocacy, research, and education. Dr. Bohnert is in private practice at Arizona Urology Specialists in Phoenix. He was interviewed by Urology Times Editorial Consultant J. Brantley Thrasher, MD, professor and chair of urology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City.

    Many urologists have been concerned about certain recent legislative issues, including the sustainable growth rate (SGR), challenges from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and challenges to the ancillary services that urologists provide. Give us an idea of what the AUA is doing to address some of those issues.  

    With the SGR issue, we thought we had the opportunity of a lifetime to solve that problem earlier this year, but that all changed when Congress patched the SGR yet again. The AUA is continuing to work with its coalition partners and champions in Congress to move this issue forward. We’ve been told the House and Senate have postponed the issue until later this year, but we are hopeful we will get a resolution to the SGR this fall, even if it happens after the elections. The membership would definitely love to see the problem solved. You and I and several others have attended the Joint Advocacy Conference in Washington for many years, and all of the congressmen and senators we talk to tell us that the system is broken, but can’t be fixed because of the financial ramifications of doing so. It’s tough, but we’re doing all we can to advocate for urology.

    In terms of the USPSTF, the AUA has been actively advocating for transparency and accountability for the USPSTF, and we have active legislation that we are working to advance on the Hill. Preservation of the in-office ancillary services exception remains a major priority for the AUA and, again, we are working with our partners and our friends on Capitol Hill to maintain our members’ right to provide those services to patients in the practice setting.

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