AUA Advocacy Summit Summary – February 27-March 1, 2023
By Dr. John Lam, CUA President 2022-23
The American Urological Association’s (AUA) sixth Annual Advocacy Summit was held from February 27 to March 1. This year, we were back in-person for our sessions and receptions as well as our Capitol Hill visits. This year’s theme was called “Rise & Renew” that was championed by our AUA Public Policy Council Chair, Dr. Eugene Rhee. I learned, networked, and advocated for our specialty and our patients in front of our California legislators along with fellow Californian urologists, Drs. Eric Biewenga, Peter Bretan, Christi Butler, Junghwan Choi, Seth Cohen, Brian Grady, Joe Kuntze, Aaron Spitz, Yahir Santiago-Lastra as well as physician assistant Mr. Kevin Wayne, medical student Ms. Nancy Quintanilla, and patient advocates, Mr. Mike Crosby from the Veterans Prostate Cancer Awareness group and Ms. Jessie Holmes from Health Policy and Reimbursement at NeuSpera Medical.
The summit opened up with a Welcome Address from AUA President Dr. Edward Messing and Dr. Rhee. Following this, Dr. Rhee interviewed Mr. James “The Ragin’ Cajun” Carville who provided an insightful outlook on the current political landscape and his thoughts on health care reform and access to care. Mr. Carville recommended that when advocating about health care to legislators to come in with a solution for better outcomes, lower costs, advance science, etc.
The General Session in the afternoon were targeted towards educating the attendees on this year’s four Congressional asks. The first session was titled “The Urgent Need for Physician Payment Reform” that featured AUA Coding and Reimbursement Committee Chair-elect, Dr. Anurag Das, LUGPA Board of Director, Dr. Mara Holton, and American Association of Clinical Urologists.
President, Dr. William Reha. Dr. Das provided context on health care spending in the United States as it compares to the rest of the world and discussed the different methods of payment for health care. He then provided a brief history on the Medicare system and how physician payment and reimbursement works, including a description of how relative value units are calculated, leading up to the 1998 Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) to control costs and its repeal by the passage of the 2015 Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) that emphasizes value-based payment models.