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    Relationships between urologists, policy makers yield positive results

    New Medicare payment program incorporates physicians' comments

     

    UROPAC also works closely with members' practices to host successful fundraisers and office visits. Southern California urologist Alec Koo, MD, renewed his relationship with Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) at an event with Skyline Urology colleagues. The foundation of this connection was laid when Lieu, then a state senator, met with Dr. Koo to discuss legislation that would have essentially prohibited in-office ancillary service referrals.

    UROPAC was integral in bringing together diverse sections of the urologic community in metropolitan Minneapolis to support Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN), a key figure in the push to repeal the medical device tax. The congressman visited Urology Associates, the practice of Dean Tortorelis, MD, and was able to see firsthand the complexity in delivering coordinated urologic care. Congressman Paulsen now knows that Dr. Tortorelis is the local UROPAC representative.

    Dr. Tortorelis relates: "I stressed the commitment the AACU and UROPAC have in relationship building and asked him for continued support" on issues that impact our patients, practice, and profession.

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    These are but a few examples of UROPAC activity designed to facilitate relationship building and candidate education.

    To demonstrate the importance of physician engagement in socioeconomic matters, look no further than the recently released regulations governing future Medicare payments. In response to providers' vigorous advocacy, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services agreed to a gradual transformation to new reimbursement programs intended to evolve over years to come. In a press conference shedding some light on the 2,400-page document, Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt conceded, "Ultimately, we're not looking to transform the Medicare program in 2017. We're looking to make a long-term program successful."

    Without individual physician involvement, it goes without saying that CMS would not have been at least somewhat conciliatory. Urologists can get involved in any number of ways, depending on their interests and availability. UROPAC – Urology's Advocate on Capitol Hill is one of the most effective conduits, thanks in large part, to the connection a single urologist can make with an elected official at political fundraising events.

    Dr. Tarantino serves as the chair of UROPAC - Urology's Advocate on Capitol Hill. He is also a past president of the AACU.


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