Fredrica Smith, MD, a rheumatologist in Los Alamos, N.M., was recently invited to become a part of the Practicing Physicians Advisory Council (PPAC), a congressionally mandated council that advises the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the administrator of CMS on proposed changes in regulations.
The PPAC comprises 15 people, 11 of whom must be MDs or DOs. All must have submitted at least 250 claims for physician services in the previous year. The PPAC hears reports from various government agencies that have a role in creating regulations for physicians.
At the March 3 PPAC meeting, the council heard reports on several issues, including the Medicare fee-for-service National Provider Identifier implementation, the 2008 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative, and eHealth and Personal Health Records. These are the same issues that the ACR is monitoring and lobbying about.
Dr. Smith’s appointment means that rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals will have another avenue to shape regulations and voice their concerns on regulations that affect rheumatology.
Of her appointment, Dr. Smith says, “As a rheumatologist in a small town in the west, it is exciting to have been chosen to serve on PPAC. I am delighted to have an opportunity to work with other physicians as we meet directly with CMS to try to influence policy and bring issues facing patient care and medical practices to the attention of CMS.”
The PPAC holds quarterly meetings that are open to the public. Information discussed during these meetings is public record, and a transcript of each meeting can be found at www.cms.hhs.gov.
For more information on PPAC or other regulation issues, contact Kristin Wormley, director of government affairs, at [email protected].