Douglas D. Backous, MD

April 2017 - Vol. 36, No. 3

Q: How would you strengthen our grassroots activities to protect our specialty from legislation that would undermine our mission? What life lessons in your career would you use to identify and strengthen portions of our strategic plan to improve our membership’s future?

Douglas D. Backous, MD

Broader member involvement will strengthen grassroots Academy initiatives and represents the most powerful protection from legislation that would undermine our mission of empowering otolaryngologists to deliver the highest quality healthcare. The thought of building relationships with state and local government officials is daunting to most of us who are very busy in the day-to-day clinical activities. The AAO-HNS can make your advocacy work efficient and effective by providing core resources.

I work in a matrixed health system staffed by independent and hospital-employed surgeons. We, together, defined minimal clinical standards for participation in a shared implantable hearing device program to ensure consistent, high quality care. Necessary core services that were too extensive for each participant to afford on their own were provided by the hospital. Cost savings to the hospital providing the implants justified infrastructure provided by the system. The volume of devices provided better buying leverage for the contracting team. Surgeons were supported in the pre-authorization process to improve the probability of adequate reimbursement.

The lessons I learned from collaborating in this working group can be translated to the power of improving access to the rich centralized resources AAO-HNS has created to achieve specific objectives set out in the Academy strategic plan. Consistent messaging in line with our Academy lobbying efforts will optimize your time spent in advocacy efforts. Enriching the quality and accessibility of socioeconomic data would provide our members needed information for negotiating employment and insurance contracts. Increased participation in PROJECT 535 will form key relationships in each state and will help us to generate a list of representatives and senators who support AAO-HNS initiatives and activities of the Physician Payment Policy (3P) Workgroup. As a director-at-large, I would work diligently to represent your needs to the AAO-HNS Board.