A Word from the President
During this past year, the College has continually built upon the strong foundation we first laid out in Vision 2020. And since there will always be new challenges facing the specialty of allergy, the College is prepared and ready to support the practicing allergist at every new hurdle.
With so many new regulations and issues affecting the practicing allergist, our Advocacy Council and College leadership are fighting to make sure your voices are heard. Since strength comes in numbers, we also work alongside the AAAAI and other related medical societies on some issues.
In the last few weeks, the College has written extensively about the proposed changes to the 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. In brief, reimbursement under Medicare Part B would suffer a 6% decrease for allergy services in 2019. Our Advocacy Council analyzed and reported on the proposed E&M changes.
This spring, the College’s thought-leaders in education gathered in Chicago for the second Education Summit. On the agenda was a review of our current professional development offerings, and a goal to develop a three-year blueprint to guide the College’s future education activities.
Background for the work during the summit included what we heard from College members about their needs and wants and collected from evaluations, surveys and more. We looked at not only your feedback, but also gaps in our existing programs to make sure that our professional development offerings are shaped just for you.
The Annual Scientific Meeting, year after year, brings together the top experts in allergy, asthma and immunology from around the globe. At the 2018 meeting, Nov. 15 – 19 in Seattle, two all-new sessions will let you get up close and personal with some of these leaders. You’ll want to plan ahead for this fantastic, intimate new format.
We’ve spent countless hours redesigning the Annual Scientific Meeting to give you an all-new experience this year. With 90-minute sessions, new formats and easier-to-attend events, it’s going to be a meeting you won’t want to miss. Another new feature this year? The Saturday Presidential Plenary.
Food allergy has always been a hot topic for both allergists and patients. It’s a highly life-altering allergy to live with, so naturally patients have a lot of concerns and questions. There are several new treatment modalities coming into play, so allergists have a lot of questions as well. It’s also a topic that gets a lot of attention in the press, who cover everything from allergy bans to reactions due to kissing. As a result, there are a lot of ‘myths’ and misinformation floating around in the cultural consciousness.
We’re all familiar with the classic wooden yardstick, a tool you always want to have around. What exactly do wooden rulers have to do with medicine? Yardsticks, in this context, represent a standard guideline, a touchstone, a point of reference. The College is dedicated to developing yardsticks to help guide your patient treatment decisions. College member experts and others work together to author these helpful tools. The College yardsticks include:
As Bela Schick said, “First the patient, second the patient, third the patient, fourth the patient, fifth the patient, and then maybe comes science.
In years past, patients didn’t question doctors. That’s not the case anymore. Our patients engage in their health care. They are informed. They come to their appointments and tell us about new treatments they’ve heard about and want to know if those treatments are right for them.
Our role is one of informing versus telling. Informing our patients of the risks and benefits of any treatment can only help them make the right decision for them.
It’s a new year and a new round of headaches in obtaining prior authorizations for our patients’ medications. Let’s look at three issues practicing allergists face every day and especially at the start of each year.
First, formularies change frequently, and especially in January after insurance companies have made new deals with employers for coverage. I hope you like solving puzzles, because each insurance company likely has a new set of prior authorization rules – and it’s up to allergy practices to figure them out. This results in needing to, yet again, get prior authorizations for existing patients to continue their medications, or be shifted to different medications which are now covered because the ones they were previously on are no longer covered. Is your head spinning yet?