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    AUA pursues revised priorities on Capitol Hill

    Inclusion of telemedicine among new additions to list

     

    During the JAC, the AUA urged urologists to “amplify our reach” and contact lawmakers urging their support for legislation to reform the USPSTF recommendations process.

    “While the USPSTF has issued several controversial recommendations in recent years, urology is specifically concerned about its 2012 ‘D’ recommendation against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer in all men, regardless of their individual risk,” the AUA wrote in a Policy and Advocacy Brief article posted during the JAC.

    “This ‘D’ grade does a great disservice to the many men who could benefit from a PSA test,” the brief added. “As a result, the AUA has been working with Congressmen Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bobby Rush (D-IL) over the past few years to develop and promote the bipartisan USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 539) to allow for specialist input and create a more transparent recommendation process for the USPSTF.”

    That legislation would require USPSTF to publish research plans and make available reports on evidence and recommendations for public comment, ensure medical specialty physicians are included on the Task Force, and establish a stakeholders board to advise it on developing, updating, publishing, and disseminating evidence-based recommendations.

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    It would also codify the grading system so it cannot be changed without appropriate review, ensure that Medicare or other payers cannot deny payment for preventive services solely based on the Task Force grade, and require that a quality measure related to a USPSTF recommendation may only be applied if it was developed or updated in accordance with the legislation and if the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services concurs with the rating.

    A new priority on the AUA’s revised list is “Advocate for the full continuum of care for prostate cancer survivorship,” which stems from the federal government denying Medicare coverage for vacuum erection devices in December 2014. As a result, there is growing fear that further treatments for erectile dysfunction, which can be a side effect of prostate cancer treatment, will be targeted in the future, the AUA explained.

    In addition, the AUA updated its previous priority on work force shortages/graduate medical education to include telemedicine as an example of innovative treatment measures that could alleviate some of the urologist shortages, especially in rural areas.

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    Bob Gatty
    Bob Gatty, a former congressional aide, covers news from Washington for Urology Times.

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