On December 5, the American Association of Clinical Urologists used its Twitter account to announce four United States senators had written a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), urging them to reject attempts to close the in-office ancillary services exception (IOASE) to the Stark Law.
The senators, Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Barrasso (R-WY), Rand Paul (R-KY) and John Boozman (R-AR) are all purportedly members of the “Physician’s Caucus of the United States Senate.” I had never heard of that before, so I did a Google search and found plenty of references to the House Republican Physician Caucus, but nothing for a Senate caucus.
So I looked a little more and found a page from the official US Senate website that lists every physician member of the Senate from 1789 to the current day. It lists Sens. Coburn, Barrasso and Paul, but not Sen. Boozman. Turns out he’s an optometrist.
The letter references President Obama’s proposed 2014 budget, which seeks to close the IOASE for radiation oncology, advanced imaging and therapy services, but unfortunately, not pathology. As I stated in my post about the president’s budget, which estimated closure of the IOASE would save $6.05 billion between 2014-2023, I was (and still am) extremely disappointed pathology was not included.