AAD sets sights on iPLEDGE, Medicare reform; will work to boost image of specialty

July 29, 2006

American Academy of Dermatology President Stephen Stone, M.D., outlines an ambitious and ongoing agenda for the AAD that includes efforts to correct problems with the national iPLEDGE registry, to improve Medicare reimbursement and reform medical liability, and to protect the scope of practice of the specialty.

American Academy of Dermatology President Stephen Stone, M.D., outlines an ambitious and ongoing agenda for the AAD that includes efforts to correct problems with the national iPLEDGE registry, to improve Medicare reimbursement and reform medical liability, and to protect the scope of practice of the specialty.

The AAD also is focusing on extending dermatologic education both globally and in the United States, supporting skin disease research, and enhancing the public perception of dermatology, Dr. Stone says.

Speaking at the Friday morning plenary session at Academy '06, Dr. Stone said the AAD plans a late-August initiative to continue to push for correction of problems with iPLEDGE, a mandatory national registry for providers, prescribers and users of isotretinoin that has been sharply criticized for its cumbersomeness and inefficiency.

Doane Marketing Research is currently polling Academy members by phone about iPLEDGE problems, Dr. Stone says, and the AAD will continue to talk to the Food and Drug Administration, manufacturers of isotretinoin and the iPLEDGE program vendor."We are also getting on the pages of newspapers," he says.

The Academy also continues to push for reform of Medicare's physician reimbursement regulations ? the AAD's efforts contributed to a repeal earlier this year of a planned 4.4 percent cut in payments ? and also reform of medical liability regulations, for instance, by advocating caps on noneconomic damages and establishment of a reasonable statute of limitations for filing lawsuits.

Under scope of practice concerns, Dr. Stone notes efforts under way in several states to limit the use of lasers to qualified personnel who are supervised by board-certified or board-eligible dermatologists or cosmetic surgeons. The AAD will support these efforts by developing strong state societies, forming coalitions with other specialties and increasing the representation of dermatologists in Washington, he says.

The AAD continues to expand its educational outreach, promoting "first-class education for dermatologists throughout the world," Dr. Stone says. Delegations will attend conferences in China, Brazil and the Philippines, and the AAD offers scholarships for doctors in other countries to attend meetings in the United States.

Dr. Stone says the AAD is urging Congress to approve a 5 percent increase in funding for skin disease research.The AAD also will work to enhance public perception of the specialty, which faces "encroachment" from many nondermatologists now involved in skincare. The Academy is developing a national print advertising campaign to debut at its 65th Annual Meeting in February 2007 in Washington, D.C., and is exploring ways for members to align with that campaign.

"Let's work together on this," Dr. Stone urges members. "We're depending on you to help us get to the next level."