Published: December 10, 2015

Building on momentum

As we face the end of 2015 and the dawn of 2016, it is a good time to reflect on what we have done and what we aim to accomplish.

Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD AAO-HNS/F Past PresidentSujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD
AAO-HNS/F Past President
As we face the end of 2015 and the dawn of 2016, it is a good time to reflect on what we have done and what we aim to accomplish.

At AAO-HNS/F, we welcomed some new faces across all business units, including a new EVP/CEO, and saw a realignment of the organizational structure to better operationalize our strategic initiatives. For example, the Board of Governors now falls within the Member Networks & Legislative Advocacy Unit, allowing for streamlined information sharing. The Academy is doing more for our Members with only 69 dedicated staff, who give of their time, effort, and even money. (Forty-one percent of them are AAO-HNSF and/or ENTPAC donors!)

In April, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) passed, repealing the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). MACRA increased payments by 0.5 percent for the second half of 2015 through 2019, and opened the way to Medicare payment reform, based on quality measures in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) (beginning in 2019) or on participation in Alternative Payment Models (APMs). Overall MIPS scores are calculated based on: Quality (50 percent in 2019; 30 percent in 2021) + Resource Use (10 percent in 2019; 30 percent by 2021) + Clinical Improvement (15 percent) + EHR Use (25 percent).

Quality—it sometimes feels like a four-letter word. Of course, we practice quality otolaryngology. Who is Uncle Sam to judge us?! Well, with 18 percent of the U.S. GDP going to healthcare costs, these quality measures are not going away. It is up to us to respond thoughtfully. Our Academy, under the leadership of Lisa E. Ishii, MD, MHS, the Registry Task Force, and senior staff spent much of 2015 fast-tracking RegentSM, the otolaryngology clinical data registry, which will be available in 2016. Regent is a Member-only benefit that will effortlessly “data-mine” EMRs for accurate quality reporting. Additionally, Regent will give us information to evaluate ourselves compared to other otolaryngologists. All data except our own is de-identified. The power of having our own otolaryngology data will truly level the playing field during physician negotiations with private insurers. Please visit to learn more.

Subspecialty unity and maintaining a healthy relationship with the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOto) have always been crucial. The first subspecialty summit was held during the March Leadership Forum in 2015 and the second will occur at the Leadership Forum & Board of Governors Spring Meeting, March 18-21, which is designed for maximal attendee interaction, and will offer CME credits again, at no cost for most Members ( Our Academy is committed to defending the breadth of training and experience in our specialty. We are working with ABOto to preserve the integrity of our Members’ primary certificate in otolaryngology.

The 2015 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPOSM in Dallas revamped the education structure in a “pay-one-price” model where registration covered all offerings, including Instruction Courses. This was extremely well received. For 2016 in San Diego (September 18-21), we will fine tune this and are looking at other enhancements. Your input is invaluable. Also, please don’t forget to download your Member-only benefit of six Miniseminars for free at

At least one-third of Academy Members have been on the ENTConnect site since it began. It’s a great forum for real-time communication. mENTorConnect is a pilot online community for personal and professional mentoring. Sign up as either mentor or mentee (or both!) and take advantage of sharing wisdom. The AcademyU® materials are robust. The Bulletin and Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (“the white journal”) are more easily available online. It has never been easier to have otolaryngology and practice information at your fingertips.

Your membership dues cover only 32 percent of the cost of programs and services the Academy provides. Health policy activities alone bring a substantial return on investment for our Members. Both the Academy and Foundation can benefit greatly from your generous year-end contributions.

On the Foundation side, your tax-deductible contributions to the Annual Fund ( will enable us to push forward Foundation activities more rapidly.

On the Academy side, personal contributions to our political action committee (from U.S. Members only at enable our staff to fight hard for us and for our patients, to advocate for better legislation regarding healthcare, and to ensure that patients are cared for by qualified physicians.

So, let’s celebrate the achievements of 2015 and work together to make an even better 2016!

More from December 2015/ January 2016 - Vol. 34, No. 11

BOG will ‘bring home the Academy’ to you
By David Edelstein, MD, BOG Chair Hockey fans know that each year the winners of the Stanley Cup get a chance to touch the Cup when the winning team gets to “Bring Home the Cup.” This is an exciting moment for local fans, and I remember being taken by my dad many years ago to see the Cup firsthand when the Bruins won it. Seeing the Cup makes the win tangible and the moment memorable. Just as the Bruins brought home the Stanley Cup to the Boston of my youth, the Academy’s Board of Governors (BOG) can help “bring home the Academy” to you. Some people have the mistaken idea that the Academy’s and Foundation’s only function is to run the Annual Meeting once a year. Although the recent meeting in Dallas was a success, it represents only a small part of what the AAO-HNS/F does for you every day. A lot goes on at the Academy during the year about which you need to be informed. Hence, one of the major goals of the BOG this year is to “bring home the Academy” by helping Academy Members and local BOG governors stay up to date on what the Academy is doing by providing handouts and slide shows on a quarterly basis highlighting topics of interest to local societies. The BOG serves an important role in ensuring that the day-to-day issues you face in your practice remain front and center on the Academy’s agenda. For example, this past year the BOG’s Legislative Affairs Committee collated reports on issues of local concern from 110 otolaryngologists in 42 states and organized 40 local In-district Grassroots Outreach (I-GO) meetings with federal lawmakers. Similarly, the Socioeconomic and Grassroots (SEGR) Committee heard presentations on socioeconomic issues affecting our specialty from all 10 regions of the country. Appropriately, part of SEGR stands for “grassroots” (GR), and the Committee will be conducting two polls for 2015-2016 regarding feedback on the Affordable Care Act (polling in December 2015) and ICD-10 (polling in March 2016). The BOG’s Rules and Regulations committee was recently renamed Governance and Society Engagement in keeping with its new mission to help energize local societies and build a framework to develop new state societies where none exist. Did you know that there are five states with no local societies? The newly named committee will help to build virtual societies with Internet-based platforms for these states so that otolaryngologists can talk about local problems, especially in those geographic areas where in-person meetings are not easily accomplished. Spring Leadership Meeting  The BOG also helps organize the Academy’s annual conference on leadership, scheduled for March 18-21, 2016, in Alexandria, VA. The AAO-HNS/F 2016 Leadership Forum & BOG Spring Meeting is open to any Academy Member, in addition to BOG governors and local society representatives. The conference program includes exciting luncheon speakers on such topics as where medicine is going, how to be a leader in medicine, and the current political environment on medical issues in Washington, DC. In addition, there will be many interesting panels on building leadership skills; on how to write a business plan; how to write a letter to insurance companies; RegentSM, the Academy’s new ENT clinical data registry; and how to set your career pathway. We hope that your local BOG governors help you to reconnect with the AAO-HNS and that the “bring home the Academy” project enables you to find ways in which the Academy can be useful to you every day. See you in March!