The Advocacy Council of ACAAI has fought for our specialty and protected our practices for more than 40 years. The Advocacy Council team has deep roots in advocacy and decades of experience with allergy, asthma and immunology issues. As the Advocacy Council looks toward the future of allergy, it seems like the perfect time to highlight our teams’ experience and accomplishments and see what’s coming next.
Message From the Chair
I thank the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology as I take the chairmanship of the Advocacy Council of ACAAI. I am new to this position, but I am not new to advocacy. I have been active in local, state and national campaigns for over 30 years. I have served as President of the Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. I have long enjoyed politics and political work; I volunteer to work in campaigns, to host fund raisers in my home and to entertain legislators.
I am a strong supporter of the American Medical Association (AMA) and urge each of you to renew your AMA membership or to join. Allergy is a very small medical sub-specialty and we need the collective power of the AMA. In fact, we have developed a beneficial partnership with the AMA to lobby legislation that will affect our specialty.
Allergy’s membership in AMA is also important for the College to have an active voice in the AMA’s House of Delegates. For the College to maintain representation in the AMA House of Delegates, at least 20% of our AMA-eligible physician members must maintain AMA and College memberships. Thus, I urge you ALL to join the AMA today.
The Advocacy Council does its best to monitor issues in all states, but we need your help. Please contact the Advocacy Council to report issues occurring in your individual states/locales. We also urge your input regarding practice problems and/or for information. We're here for you!
I look forward to working with you over the next two years and can be reached at Chair-AdvocacyCouncil@acaai.org.
Stephen Imbeau MD, FACAAI, Chair
Stephen Imbeau, MD, FACAAI is an assistant clinical professor at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and one of the founders of the Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center in Florence, S.C. He served on the JCAAI Board for 14 years, including as president and has been a member of the Allergy Strike Force since its inception. He received the College’s prestigious Distinguished Service Award in October 2017. He is on the Board of Directors of the AMA’s bipartisan political action committee, AMPAC.
For his efforts on behalf of his patients and the specialty, Dr. Imbeau has been honored by both the South Carolina Senate and House of Representatives. He has always been politically active, staying heavily involved in local, state and national politics for more than 30 years. He has worked as a campaign volunteer in more than 10 local races, eight state races and nine national races, including three Presidential campaigns. “Six out of eight of our South Carolina Federal Legislators have been to my home and three have been overnight house guests,” said Dr. Imbeau.
Over the years, Dr. Imbeau was able to participate in several key advocacy actions. “I’m proud to have been a part of the settlement of “black box” warning issues, modifier misuse, the 2007 and 2013 compounding issues with the United States Pharmacopeia and to have been a part of the implementation of the allergenic extract/ media fill testing program and certification,” said Dr. Imbeau.
As the new Advocacy Council chair, Dr. Imbeau wants to generate awareness of this useful member benefit. “We’re going to make sure the Advocacy Council becomes the “go-to” resource for members seeking education and resources regarding coding, reimbursement and advocacy.”
James M. Tracy, DO, FACAAI, Vice chair
James M. Tracy, DO, FACAAI has served the ACAAI for over 25 years and currently serves on the Board of Regents. Trained at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, he divides his professional time as volunteer faculty at the University of Nebraska and is managing partner of a large multi-state allergy and immunology practice. He continues to actively publish in the areas of insect allergy, anaphylaxis, chronic infections and practice management.
His experience with the Joint Task Force for Health Care reform, as a frequent visitor to national legislative representatives in Washington DC and as member of FDA Pulmonary Allergy Drug Advisory Committee has provided him a unique national perspective of the changes and challenges allergists/immunologists in both academic and private practice face.
Dr. Tracy’s cutting-edge efforts, working with CMS and AMA on the development of Alternative Payment Models for asthma, have been at the forefront of healthcare reform. His leadership roles in both patient access as well as integration with local and state allergy societies have provided him an avenue to strongly advocate for the specialty and the patients it serves.
J. Allen Meadows MD, FACAAI, Immediate Past-chair
J. Allen Meadows, MD, FACAAI, is a clinical instructor of family practice at the University of Birmingham, a clinical instructor at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, and a solo community-based practitioner at the Alabama Allergy & Asthma Clinic in Montgomery, Alabama. He has been heavily involved in advocacy, especially in-person, throughout his career. He was president of the JCAAI until it became part of the College, where he assumed chairmanship of the Advocacy Council. In the past, he served as JCAAI secretary and board member. He’s been chair of the Allergy Strike Force since its inception. “I’ve been involved in advocacy and political campaigns literally since I could walk,” said Dr. Meadows.
While at the JCAAI, he worked hard to convince the board that in-person advocacy efforts - such as the Allergy Strike Force - were crucial and needed to be continued. In cooperation with the Allergy and Asthma Network, the Allergy Strike Force is more effective than ever. “We have a record number of doctors participating in visits on Capitol Hill.”
"I am proud we have a bigger focus on local issues. Having Practice Management and ACAAI’s House of Delegates under the same umbrella makes us stronger than in the past. We have a great past and a bright future under the leadership of Steve Imbeau, Jim Tracy, and Jim Sublett."
James L. Sublett, MD, FACAAI, Executive Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs
James L. Sublett, MD, former ACAAI president, recently joined the Advocacy Council team as the Executive Director, Advocacy and Governmental Affairs. He is also a past-president of the Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (JCAAI) and has provided invaluable guidance over the years. He is the co-founder and managing partner of his practice in Louisville, Kentucky. He’s served as a clinical professor and Section Chief of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine for more than 20 years. His knowledge and experience will help to guide us through the myriad of changes to medicine and our practices.
Rebecca Burke, JD, Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville
Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville (PPSV), a Washington, D.C.-based law firm focusing on health care, education and tax-exempt organizations, has been the Advocacy Council’s (formerly JCAAI’s) legal and regulatory counsel since the mid-eighties.
Rebecca Burke, JD, and her colleagues at PPSV have advised allergy on issues such as Medicare reimbursement and compliance, valuation of allergy services before the AMA RUC, development of new CPT codes, best coding practices, HIPAA privacy rules, coverage and payment issues involving government and commercial payers, compounding issues, and appealing payment denials. Burke has more than 30 years of health care law experience, specifically in regulatory and reimbursement services. She has represented allergy before the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in addition to other federal agencies, on a variety of important issues. Her points of view when examining issues and her expertise in working with the AMA is invaluable.
Bill Finerfrock, Capitol Associates
Mr. Finerfrock, President and CEO of Capitol Associates, has worked in health care advocacy for more than 30 years. “I’ve been involved with stakeholders in all aspects of health care, from individual providers to hospitals, to clinics and organizations representing all branches of health care. I’m familiar with everything from the back office to Medicare payment and reimbursement - and I’m glad to be bringing all of that experience to the Advocacy Council.” Capitol Associates, a well-respected health care advocacy firm with decades of experience and a track record of success in Washington D.C., has worked on behalf of allergy for more than 25 years.
Dealing exclusively in health care, Capitol Associates has the right expertise to ensure that members’ voices are heard. “We have a lot of experience with Congress and the various governmental agencies. We know how the process works - how to craft the right message, how to maximize resonance on Capitol Hill. We know who to reach out to and how to get things done when there are problems that need solving,” said Bill Finerfrock. The years of experience that Capitol Associates had with the Advocacy Council (formerly JCAAI) will now benefit members exclusively. “We understand that not all physicians are the same, and that the challenges that face allergy/immunology specialists aren’t the same as the ones facing other doctors. Capitol Associates has a lot of historical knowledge and familiarity with the allergy/immunology specialty, and is acutely aware of the unique challenges allergists come up against. Because we understand the nuances of the specialty and have this knowledge, we’re able to communicate that to Congress,” said Finerfrock. Capitol Associates worked closely with the JCAAI around the 2013 compounding issue. Without the intervention of the JCAAI, allergists would have been prevented from mixing extracts in-office. Capitol Associates continues to provide invaluable assistance to the Advocacy Council as the compounding issue continues.