Welcome to The ACP Advocate.
Our first story this week is about the Medicare payment cut. When the Senate returned from recess this week they went to work on new legislation that would extend current payment rates until June 1. However, due to procedural issues the legislation won’t come before the Senate for a final vote until today. Once the bill passes the Senate, the House is expected to pass it quickly and the President is then expected to sign the bill into law without delay. Please remember to visit the ACP Web site today and Monday for the latest about where the legislation stands.
The new law would restore the payment levels retroactively to April 1, meaning that you would be paid at the 2009 rate for all services you’ve provided already in April. However, the chaos that these unstable payments create for you and your patients is unacceptable. We at ACP are continuing to do everything possible to get Congress to enact a long-term, permanent solution to the Medicare payment problem.
Our second story this week examines one of the provisions in the health care reform law. The law establishes a new panel with the authority to set Medicare payment rates; the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
The last story looks at heightened scrutiny the FDA is giving to the issue of menthol cigarettes. With a new report from their Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory committee they are now considering a ban on menthol flavoring in tobacco products.
For more coverage of what’s happening in Washington, take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty.
And, as always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to: TheACPAdvocate@acponline.org.
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians