November 16th, 2012
AGS is tracking developments of interest to geriatrics health professionals in order to provide weekly updates for our readers via our List Serv, americangeriatrics.org, our Facebook page, and our Twitter feed. This week, we share a letter of support that we submitted to Sen. Kohl (D-WI) regarding legislation that would help to ensure that nursing home and hospice residents receive pain medications in a timely manner. We also update you on the Coalition we recently joined, which aims to address health care payment and quality. As a reminder, we have included several announcements that have upcoming deadlines. Lastly, we ask that you contact your legislators, urging them to support several important pieces of legislation that are critical to geriatrics health providers and their patients, such as the repeal of the SGR and comprehensive Medicare payment and delivery reform, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act, and the across-the-board cuts, or “sequester” scheduled for January 1. Please visit our Health in Aging Advocacy Center to learn more about these issues and to contact your members of Congress directly.
AGS Supports Senator Kohl’s Nursing Home Resident and Hospice Patient Pain Relief Act of 2012
The AGS submitted a letter to Senator Kohl (D-WI), Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, in support of the revised version of his proposed Nursing Home Resident and Hospice Patient Pain Relief Act of 2012 (S.1560). This legislation takes important, concrete steps to ensure that nursing home residents have timely access to Schedule II medications. In particular, AGS lauds the provision that would authorize nurses and other licensed nursing home personnel to act as "facility designees" and order and administer controlled pain medication to residents in need of urgent pain relief. By allowing designated nursing home personnel to act on a physician's verbal instructions during emergency situations, the legislation effectively addresses an untenable Drug Enforcement Administration requirement which has impeded providers' timely efforts to alleviate the pain and suffering of nursing home residents. To view our letter, please visit here.
AGS Joins Stand for Quality (SFQ) Coalition
In an effort to address, improve, and refine metrics around health care payment and cost-effective delivery of health care, the AGS became a recent member of the “Stand for Quality” (SFQ) coalition. SFQ is currently proposing legislation that includes support over 5 years for measure development, measure endorsement, input into measure selection for public programs, and evaluation of measure use and usefulness. The Coalition is now concentrating on what is feasible to move forward in lame duck – with a particular focus on Medicare funding for measure development and endorsement over the coming year. For more detailed information regarding the legislation and to see the current list of supporters, please visit http://www.standforquality.org/.
PCORI Funding Opportunities
The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) launched its second cycle of funding requests to support $96 million in comparative clinical effectiveness research that will assist patients and those who care for them with making better-informed health care decisions. These PCORI Funding Announcements (PFAs) correspond to four of the five areas of focus outlined in its National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda: (1) Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options, (2) Improving Healthcare Systems, (3) Communication and Dissemination, and (4) Addressing Disparities. PCORI will host three workshops in Washington, D.C. this fall to obtain input from patients, caregivers and other stakeholders on PCORI's draft process for generating and selecting specific research topics. Each workshop will be accompanied by a public, interactive webcast. Learn more on the following workshops:
- What Should PCORI Study? A Call for Topics from Patients and Stakeholders
This workshop will solicit recommendations for specific research topics and test PCORI's draft process for determining which could be the basis of future funding announcements.
- PCORI Research Prioritization Methods Workshop
Research methodologists, patients and other stakeholders will further test the process for selecting research questions and address a number of methodological issues that will help PCORI ensure that it addresses the needs of patients and caregivers.
Quality Reporting Communication Support Page Officially Re-Opened through January 31, 2013 for Medicare 2013 Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Payment Adjustment Hardship Exemption Requests
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has re-opened the Quality Reporting Communication Support Page to allow individual eligible professionals and CMS-selected group practices the opportunity to request a significant hardship exemption for the 2013 eRx payment adjustment. Significant hardship request should be submitted via the Quality Reporting Communication Support Page on or between now and January 31, 2013. CMS will review these requests on a case-by-case basis. All decisions on significant hardship exemption requests will be final. Important -- Please note that this is for the 2013 eRx payment adjustment only. Hardship exemption requests for the 2014 payment adjustment will be accepted during a separate timeframe later in calendar year 2013. For more information on how to navigate the Communication Support Page, please reference the following documents:
- Quality Reporting Communication Support Page User Guide
- Tips for Using the Quality Reporting Communication Support Page
For additional information and resources, please visit http://www.CMS.gov/ERxIncentive.
How You Can Help
AGS is seeking your assistance to increase support for the following important initiatives:
- Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) Support this legislation introduced by Sen. Wyden (D-OR) in the Senate (S.3407) and Rep. Engel (D-NY-17) in the House (HR 6155) by contacting your members of Congress and asking that they support and co-sponsor this important legislation. By doing so, you are helping to ensure a promising future for hospice and palliative care. For a summary of the bill, please visit here. For additional background on the bill, please read our endorsement letter.
- Across-the-board cuts, or “sequester” scheduled for January 1 as mandated by the Budget Control Act (BCA). Please take action on this important campaign and let your legislators know how these cuts to discretionary funding would affect services for older adults and the supply of qualified professionals available to care for them.
- Repeal of the SGR and comprehensive Medicare payment and delivery reform. AGS also encourages you to contact your members of Congress and urge them to call for both the repeal of the SGR and comprehensive Medicare payment and delivery reform.
Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Susie Sherman, Senior Coordinator of Public Affairs & Advocacy, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Modified On: November 16th, 2012