STS Advocacy Monthly: May 2018

Society Comments on Lung Cancer Screening Research Plan
The US Preventive Services Task Force is planning a systematic review of the available evidence on the effectiveness and accuracy of lung cancer screening, as well as the effectiveness of surgical resection for the treatment of stage I non-small cell lung cancer. STS provided feedback on the proposed research plan, outlining concerns with the analytic framework and offering suggestions for targeting the appropriate variables. The Society also coordinated with the American College of Radiology and the Lung Cancer Alliance to formulate a joint response to the plan.

STS Supports New Direct Billing Model
The Society joined a letter from the Alliance for MACRA Reform that provided the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with feedback on Direct Provider Contracting Models. Under such arrangements, CMS would prepay physicians or physician groups a set monthly fee to deliver certain services to patients, as opposed to reimbursing for care. The Alliance supported these models and offered suggestions on how to make them successful as a third option for Medicare physician payments, along with Alternative Payment Models and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System.

Society Provides Feedback on Cost Effectiveness Research Methods
STS recently cautioned the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission against using quality-adjusted-life-years (QALYs) to determine the cost effectiveness of certain health care services. The Society noted that QALYs can methodically overlook differences among patients with disabilities and complex conditions; instead, it recommended linking clinical registries such as the STS National Database with Medicare claims data to better assess cost effectiveness. STS also signed on to a Partnership to Improve Patient Care letter on the same topic.

STS Joins Anti-Tobacco Letters
The Society has signed three coalition letters on tobacco control that:

Key Contact Connect: Grover Urges Price Transparency and Claims Data Access
STS Past President and Key Contact Frederick L. Grover, MD recently met with the health policy advisor for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and urged the Senator to support price transparency in health care and access to Medicare claims data. “The Senator’s staff was respectful and listened to our concerns about the lack of price transparency from CMS, which is holding up the Society’s development of an objective, value-based payment method,” Dr. Grover said. “I stressed that it would be very helpful if Senator Bennet could voice his concern about this bipartisan issue.” This topic will be a key focus at the upcoming STS Legislative Fly-In in June. If you would like to meet with your members of Congress or attend a town hall meeting, contact Madeleine Stirling to get started.

Questions? Want to get involved in advocacy?
Contact the STS Government Relations office via email or at 202-787-1230.

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