July Edition
The essential resource for your practice
Volume XXI, Number 7

Member Perspective: JAC 2012 -- Make a Difference

Timothy D. Averch, M.D.

Many of us went through medical school behind the idea of helping people, and now that we are established in our medical careers as active urologists, we continue to help people—in other words, making a difference in the lives of our patients. Welcome to the next level of making a difference: the Urology Joint Advocacy Conference (JAC), jointly sponsored by the American Urological Association (AUA) and the American Association of Clinical Urologists (AACU). 

Table of Contents

  

JAC by the Numbers

2012 Joint Advocacy Conference Focuses on Reform, Regulation and Grassroots

Those attending the 7thAnnual Urology Joint Advocacy Conference (JAC) in Washington, DC, March 4-6, 2012, were fortunate to attend what was arguably the best urology advocacy conference yet. Participants were treated to presentations by acclaimed speakers and scholars, an unprecedented number of Members of Congress joined us to share their views and hear ours, a few new ventures, and of course the opportunity to meet directly with our Members of Congress and their staff people. 

Significant focus at the JAC was devoted to the United States Preventative Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) recent draft recommendations against prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer. (Click here to view the AUA’s position on this issue). The Task Force draft recommendation states that there is "moderate or high certainty that the service has no net benefit or that the harms outweigh the benefits," and discouraged the use of the test by issuing it a Grade D rating. Two key speakers addressed the issue including Scott Gottlieb, MD, a practicing physician and Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. In his keynote address on Sunday, March 4, Dr. Gottlieb MD criticized both the USPSTF in general and their recently ruling on PSA. He noted that over the last several years the government has increased its regulation of the practice of medicine believing that it must protect patients, and through the Affordable Care Act, the federal government elevated the power of the USPSTF by tying their decisions to Medicare coverage. Like the AUA, Dr. Gottlieb found fault with this decision to give authority to a body with an insular appointment process and which does not have to work with practitioners or other agencies. 

AUA Recruits New Bill Sponsors

Before they go to Capitol Hill for one-on-one meetings with their elected officials, Joint Advocacy Conference (JAC) attendees are always educated about the important legislative issues they should brief their Members of Congress. For the last several years, these legislative issues or “asks” have included the bills drafted by the AUA: the Prostate Research, Outreach, Screening, Testing, Access and Treatment Effectiveness (PROSTATE) Act of 2011(S. 1190/ H.R. 2159) and the urotrauma legislation(H.R. 1612).

Five Questions: USPSTF Co-Vice Chair Michael LeFevre, MD, MSPH

Michael LeFevre, MD, MSPH,Co-Vice Chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), who  played a key role in drafting the USPSTF panel’s recommendation against prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer, led one of the most widely anticipated discussions at this year’s JAC. He graciously agreed to this question and answer session with  AUA Health Policy Chair Steven M. Schlossberg, MD, MBA.

Q: What made you volunteer to serve on the USPSTF?

A:As a family physician, I believe strongly that preventive services can play an important role in assuring the health and well-being of individuals and the public. The Task Force has long been a champion of evidence-based preventive services, and from early in my career I looked to its guidelines for objective, dispassionate and evidence-based recommendations on services that should result in more benefit than harm for my patients. Much of my academic career has been involved in evidence-based medicine and guideline development.