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AAO-HNS The News
Dec. 17, 2009
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The Lead

AAO-HNS Members Urged to Contact Their U.S. Senators
As the end of 2009 approaches, the U.S. Senate is poised to begin decisive votes on the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Throughout this year, the AAO-HNS, in collaboration with the surgical community, has actively provided comments and suggested improvements to numerous healthcare reform proposals. Unfortunately, Senate leaders failed to incorporate our suggestions and instead introduced legislation that creates new barriers for obtaining quality care, harms the physician/patient relationship, and further burdens our struggling healthcare system. Contact your Senators NOW and urge them to oppose this misguided legislation!


Take Action

Renew Your Membership before December 31
We know December is a very busy month and wanted to remind you that December 31, 2009, is the deadline for AAO-HNS Annual Membership Dues. To ensure your member benefits are not interrupted, renew your commitment now! To make it easier, you have the option of immediately renewing your commitment to your Academy and to the specialty by paying with a credit card online. Renew Now!

In the Press

How Much Does a CT Scan Raise the Risk of Cancer?
from The Wall Street Journal
New research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine estimates that the roughly 72 million CT scans performed in the U.S. in 2007 will ultimately cause some 29,000 cases of cancer. More

Puberty May Trigger Sleep Apnea in Overweight Kids
from U.S. News & World Report
Among teenagers, being overweight or obese increases the risk of obstructive sleep apnea, but the same does not appear to be true for younger children, Australian researchers have found. More

Transtracheal Systems Inc.

Team up with your pulmonolgist colleagues to provide oxygen therapy for the 21st century. Take the "Fast Tract" approach to provide transtracheal oxygen therapy to oxygen dependent patients. More

Hard of Hearing for the Holidays
from The Washington Post
If your dad seems a bit standoffish or withdrawn at your holiday gatherings this year, or if your great-aunt keeps asking people to quit mumbling and repeat themselves, they may not be persnickety. Those behaviors can be signs of hearing loss. More

Academy News

AAO-HNS Launches National PR Campaign on Healthcare Reform
The Academy, in coordination with 13 other medical societies, has launched a multi-state public outreach campaign in opposition to the current healthcare reform bill in the United States Senate, the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” As part of the Physicians United for Patients coalition, the Academy issued print and radio advertisements in key states, urging constituents to tell their Senators to vote "No" on the current healthcare reform bill. View the ads and read the Academy's press release.

Michigan Legislature Passes Smoking Ban Bill
On December 10, 2009, Michigan's House and Senate passed a statewide smoking ban bill. The ban applies to public places, including restaurants, bars, and workplaces, but exempts casinos, a measure necessary to attain passage. The Senate voted for the bill, 24-13, and the House passed the bill, 75-30. Governor Jennifer Granholm is expected to sign the bill, which will go into effect May 1, 2010. The AAO-HNS sent alerts encouraging its Michigan members to contact their legislators in support, and congratulates them on this important victory for the state's public health.

BD Medical - Ophthalmic Systems provides BD Beaver™ ENT/Head & Neck blades are designed to help enhance control and operative efficiency in a wide range of procedures, from facial nerve dissection to myringotomy and tonsillectomy. Because the requirements of each product are so unique and specialized, each BD Beaver blade is shaped, angled and honed to help achieve the desired clinical result.
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AAO-HNS/F Committee 2010 Application Cycle Now Open
Get more involved with your Academy by applying to become a committee member! You can join an education committee to become more involved in the Academy's education activities, a BOG committee to become more involved in the grassroots arm of the Academy, or one of our Academy or Foundation committees that fits your area of expertise. Apply now.

BOG Model Society and Practitioner Excellence Awards Now Open
Applications are now being accepted for the BOG Model Society Award and the Practitioner Excellence Award. The Model Society Award recognizes outstanding local/state/regional and national societies that exhibit effective leadership. The Practitioner Excellence Award recognizes the prototypical clinical otolaryngologist one wishes to emulate. More

Use Your Personal Donation to Inspire Others to Advance Your Specialty
Please remember to make a gift to the AAO-HNSF by December 31 to claim a tax deduction for 2009. You can make your year-end donation to the AAO-HNSF go even further. Many employers match charitable gifts – some even match gifts of spouses, BOD members, and retirees. Ask your human resources department if they will match your year-end gift to the AAO-HNSF. For details, please contact Julie Wolfe at or call 703-535-3717.

January PR Minicampaign Materials Now Available
January's PR minicampaign focuses on ENT Health Resolutions for the New Year. Access the new materials here (login required).

ARS and AAOA Launch New Journal, Seek Editor
The American Rhinologic Society (ARS) and the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA) are launching a new official journal, Allergy & Rhinology. Publication will begin in early 2010 in an electronic format, and all online content will be published in print retroactively when the print journal launches in early 2011. They are currently conducting an editor search. To apply for that position, or for more information, please visit the ARS website.

The Business of Medicine

Confused about CMS and Consults?
Don't worry, you're not alone. CMS's decision to eliminate the use of consult codes in the Medicare physician fee schedule has left a lot of unanswered questions. CMS released instructions for billing consultation codes in Transmittal 1875 to the Claims Processing Manual. In this manual, the agency indicates that, in a hospital or nursing facility, the admitting or attending physician who oversees patient’s care should report modifier AI - Principal Physician of Record to distinguish care provided by specialists. Also, CMS released an MLN article to address the questions that linger about this issue.

Requirements to Prevent the Misuse of Modifiers on Incoming Claims
The CMS released instructions to the Medicare contractors concerning claims containing modifiers PA, PB, and PC to prevent the incorrect use of these modifiers. As a result, effective from January 5, 2010, the Medicare contractors will suspend, review, and develop all claim lines containing these modifiers and contact the providers who submitted these claims to verify that these modifiers have not been erroneously reported. More

Micromedical Technologies, Inc.

Announcing our next Balance Testing Course by Neil Shepard, Ph.D. in Scottsdale AZ March 1-2, 2010. Visit us at today to reserve your spot.

Wait for Medicare Claim Crossover Process to Work
CMS reminds providers not to balance-bill patients’ supplemental insurers until you have received written confirmation from Medicare that the claims will not cross over. The CMS requests that providers allow sufficient time (approximately 15 work days) for the Medicare crossover process to work. More

Brief Laryngectomy Survey
Tragic cases have occurred when laryngectomy patients needed to be intubated, and oral intubation was attempted without realization of postoperative anatomical changes. Since the extent and characteristics of this problem are unknown, the AAO-HNS Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee is administering a short survey about occurrence. Collated data will be reported to develop strategies to avoid these future problems. Take the survey.

Pelleve™ Skin Tightening System

Pelleve™ is the newest innovation in skin tightening, recently FDA-cleared to treat facial wrinkles without surgery. Using radiowaves, the Pellevé system heats the deep layers of the skin, causing collagen to contract and tighten. After treatment, the skin begins to produce new collagen, improving skin firmness and resulting in a naturally refreshed appearance. To learn more please click here.

Make MTI your choice for your new ENT chair and treatment cabinet.


BFW, Inc.
Platinum Wireless - Skyscraper


Act Now – Save Big!
Act now to save up to 60 percent off your favorite titles of the Academy's patient leaflets. Refill your library of patient education leaflets by taking advantage of this special offer. More

irt8-20 Starkey Acclarent

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Online publication of "In the Press" items does not imply endorsement by, or official policy of, the AAO-HNS. News organizations' Internet websites are randomly reviewed and items of interest to AAO-HNS members are selected. Academy executive staff approves the final summaries. Any comments regarding content or this new publication should be emailed to the AAO-HNS.

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