SGO Issues Jan. 23, 2014

sgo-issues

SGO Issues January 23, 2014

Committee secures Ovarian Cancer Research funding at DoD
Annual Meeting Preview: Coding Course
Palliative care linked to lower ACE scores and hospital costs
2014 SGO Board Elections open through Feb. 21
Important deadlines and reminders

Committee secures Ovarian Cancer Research funding at DoD

With President Obama signing the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 into law on Jan. 17, the SGO Government Relations Committee achieved its top legislative priority for 2013: $20 million in FY 2014 funding for the Ovarian Cancer Research Program at the Department of Defense.

Patrick Timmins, III, MD

Patrick Timmins, III, MD

The budget passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 359 – 67 and the U.S. Senate by a vote of 72-26, ending the uncertainty regarding the funding of the government for FY 2014.

“In the current budget climate, this was an amazing feat and one that may be hard to replicate for 2014,” said Patrick F. Timmins, III, MD, chair of the SGO Government Relations Committee. “The House and Senate Appropriations staff has already warned the SGO and others in the cancer community that we will have to work harder for these programs and funding in FY 2015. The SGO Government Relations Committee will be calling on all SGO members to join them in their efforts this year.”

For the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and biomedical research in general, the legislation provides an increase of $1 billion (3.5 percent), bringing the NIH budget to $29.9 billion in FY14. This does not restore the NIH to its pre-sequestration budget of $30.6 billion, but is an important step in the right direction. Included in the NIH number is $4.923 billion for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a $144 million increase over the FY13 baseline (3 percent). A chart from the One Voice Against Cancer Coalition, of which the SGO is a member, compares numerous Federal programs that are important to the cancer community and their FY 2013 versus FY 2014 funding levels.

Annual Meeting Preview: Coding Course

Coding and billing office staff, as well as gynecologic oncologists seeking additional training on CPT and ICD codes, are invited to register for an all-day SGO Annual Meeting pre-conference Coding Course on Friday, March 21.

Emily Hill

Emily Hill

Course directors Emily Hill, PA, of Hill & Associates in Wilmington, NC and William Robinson III, MD, of Tulane Medical School in New Orleans, LA, will conduct this session with course faculty Mark Shahin, MD, of Tulane Medical School in Abington, PA.

“Coding for physician services has become increasingly important and complex,” said Hill. Changes in third-party reimbursement, billing and coding practices, and recent government initiatives focusing on medical fraud and abuse have emphasized the need for medical practices to ensure that professional services are billed appropriately.”

This updated course focuses on coding for surgical and Evaluation and Management Services related to the practice of gynecologic oncology. Common E/M scenarios and surgical cases will be reviewed. In addition, participants are introduced to ICD-10 codes and the associated coding guidelines impacting gynecologic oncology practices.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Introduction and Primer on Physician Reimbursement
  • Coding for E/M Services
  • ICD Coding and Introduction to ICD-10
  • Global Surgical Modifiers
  • Coding for Typical Procedures
  • Case Presentation
  • Question and answer

Hill added that physicians need to be assured that their coding selections are correct, the documentation in the medical record fully supports the service, and the proper coding assures maximum reimbursement and reduces audit liability.

“The upcoming coding course offers the opportunity to improve coding skills and general knowledge of the current reimbursement environment,” she said.

A lunch/networking session is included. Additional information on the Coding Course schedule and fees for individuals who are not registered for the Annual Meeting can be found on the SGO website.

Palliative care linked to lower ACE scores and hospital costs

Timely palliative medicine consultation was associated with lower aggressive care interventions at the end of life (ACE) scores and direct hospital costs, a study published in the January issue of Gynecologic Oncology found.

Nicole Nevadunsky, MD

Nicole Nevadunsky, MD

For the study, “The role and timing of palliative medicine consultation for women with gynecologic malignancies: Association with end of life interventions and direct hospital costs,” Nicole S. Nevadunsky, MD, of the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY and colleagues conducted a “retrospective review of medical records of the past 100 consecutive patients who died from their primary gynecologic malignancies at a single institution.” They found that 49% of patients had a palliative medicine consultation and 18% had timely consultation, which was associated with lower ACE scores and direct hospital costs.

“The findings from our study reflect end of life care in an academic medical center with an established palliative care service, and awareness of the palliative care needs of our patients by the gynecologic oncology division,” said Dr. Nevadunsky. “Prioritization of these needs by timely palliative medicine consultation reduced aggressive measures at the end of life in this setting. The preponderance of late referrals suggests the need and importance of palliative care education for gynecologic oncologists, and the expansion of outpatient palliative care resources.

“Utilization of ACE scores as a metric of quality of end of life care should be interpreted with caution as further research must be conducted to understand the impact of ACE-defined aggressive measures on patient reported quality of life. The move by all cancer care specialists to early recognition and referral for palliative care is essential in reducing futile end of life interventions, mitigating cost and improving quality of life of women with gynecologic cancers.” Dr. Nevadunsky added.

In an accompanying editorial, Laura J. Havrilesky, MD, of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, said: “…we need to attend to the preferences of women with cancer when considering palliative care services. While survival is a primary consideration of women with ovarian cancer, this priority is often tempered by women’s expectations about their quality of life.”

Referencing the SGO White Paper on ovarian cancer clinical trial endpoints, which appears in the journal’s January 2014 print edition, Dr. Havrilesky noted: “In a recent survey of the preferences of over 1400 ovarian cancer survivors, women both expected at least a 5-month survival gain with any new treatment contemplated, and were much less likely to accept additional toxicity of treatments if they were delivered in a non-curative setting.”

To view all three of these articles and additional reports in this month’s Gynecologic Oncology, log in to Science Direct.

2014 SGO Board Elections open through Feb. 21

The SGO Board of Directors and Foundation Council election is open now through Feb. 21. We are pleased to present an excellent list of candidates for leadership positions within the Society. Members who are eligible to vote should have received their electronic ballot link on Jan. 21 from noreply@directvote.net.

If you did not receive the emailed ballot, you may request your login information from the ballot login page. If you have any questions about voting, please contact SGO Governance Manager Debbie Leopold at Debbie.leopold@sgo.org or call (312) 676-3902.

Important deadlines and reminders

World Cancer Day Feb. 4, 2014
Register for SGO Winter Meeting
Register for SGO Annual Meeting
Renew SGO member dues: Dec. 31 was the dues renewal deadline so please renew promptly to continue receiving SGO membership benefits in 2014.