Presidential Matters February 2015


February 2015

Dear Colleagues,


When the Society of Gynecologic Oncology reorganized and became a 501(c) 6 organization, we positioned ourselves to better address legislative and reimbursement matters that affect our members and the profession.

Over the past four months the SGO board and staff have put a great deal of time into a reorganization of our current government relations structure. This reorganization includes certain committees becoming taskforces, and we are now creating a new Taskforce on Physician Payment Reform. These four taskforces will work closely together as issues in all four areas create overlap and report to a new umbrella committee: the Health Policy and Socio-Economic Committee.

Reflecting the recognition that these issues are of utmost significance to us, the Health Policy and Socio-Economic Committee will be chaired by the President Elect II, with President Elect I serving as immediate past chair, and include the SGO Executive Committee as well as chairs and vice chairs of each taskforce.

As we know coding has a direct impact on our reimbursement. Through the Taskforce on Coding and Reimbursement, SGO can marshal the best minds in the profession to recommend appropriate revision or development of CPT and ICD codes to federal agencies responsible for these regulations and ensure that appropriate compensation occurs. Barbara Goff, MD, will chair the taskforce and Mark Shahin, MD, will serve as vice chair.

The creation of the Taskforce on Quality, Outcomes and Policy breathes new life into these priority issues. The taskforce will keep on top of reporting, incentive and penalty payment programs such as the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) for Medicare. SGO intends to continue to develop top measures for gynecologic oncology and also quality reporting systems, and to work closely with the SGO Clinical Outcomes Registry to implement measures and monitor collection and analysis of data to ensure accurate validation. This taskforce will be led by Chair Matthew Powell, MD, and Vice Chair Sean Dowdy, MD.

With Patrick Timmins, MD, and Heidi Gray, MD, serving as chair and vice chair, respectively, the Taskforce on Legislative and Regulatory Affairs will function much like the existing Government Relations Committee. However, input from the other taskforces will bring SGO priorities into sharper focus. Expect more grassroots initiatives in which members are encouraged to contact Congressional representatives and policymakers. In Washington numbers count, so every voice is needed.

Physician payment is undergoing a transformation from fee-for-service to a value-based system. It is incumbent upon SGO to ensure gynecologic oncology can deliver high-quality and cost-effective care. Led by Chair Emily Ko, MD, and Ronald Alvarez, MD, the Taskforce on Physician Payment Reform will consider forward-thinking practice models for physician payment, such as capitation, accountable care organizations, management fees, and policies that would support SGO members and address multidisciplinary practice and management issues that impact the care of women with gynecologic malignancies.

As the medical landscape changes, it is imperative that gynecologic oncology as a subspecialty not stand idly by and succumb to policies developed to serve the interests of practitioners in other disciplines. We believe this reorganization optimizes the intellectual and financial capital within SGO to ensure that we define the future of our medical practice and have our finger on the pulse of issues identified as important by SGO members.

I encourage you to attend the Member Forum on Monday, March 30, during the Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer® in Chicago. The program will cover the results of the 2015 State of the Subspecialty practice survey, the SGO Clinical Outcomes Registry, and SGO’s role in the development of alternative payment models—all directly relevant to this government relations reorganization. Heading into the home stretch of my presidential year, it has been an honor and humbling experience to serve as President.

All the best,

Richard R. Barakat, MD