Dr. Lim: Dermatology must continue to adapt

AAD President Henry W. Lim, MD: “Successfully transitioning — adapting — to those changes is especially challenging for all of medicine, and for our specialty.”

Dermatology faces a variety of challenges, such as increasing skin disease in seniors, the role of non-physician providers, and meeting the demands of government regulations, but the Academy is stepping up its efforts to meet those challenges, AAD President Henry W. Lim, MD, said Friday.

Dr. Lim, an avowed ballroom dancer, said that just as dancers must synchronize their movements to the music, dermatology must get in sync with the changing world of health care and government regulation.

The dance of change

“Successfully transitioning — adapting — to those changes is especially challenging for all of medicine, and for our specialty,” Dr. Lim said during his President’s Address at the Plenary session. “Nationally, we are in the middle of a health care system in deep turmoil and uncertainty.”

The AAD’s recently updated Burden of Skin Disease report found that almost half of Americans over age 65 have at least one skin disease. It also found that two-thirds of patients with skin disease are treated by non-dermatologists.

“We know the major reason is access. This very issue was an important part of the discussion at the Dermatology Specialty Summit that I convened in May,” Dr. Lim said, adding that dermatologists successfully work with other health care providers.

“We have learned to dance with our partners in the derm care team,” he said. “Almost 50 percent of us now employ non-physician clinicians in our practice. While we all welcome this as a way to enhance access and to deliver timely and excellent care, it is vital that we keep physicians firmly as the leader of this team to make sure that our patients receive the highest quality care they deserve.”

MOC and MACRA are priorities

The Academy has stepped up its efforts to help dermatologists deal with reporting requirements for MACRA and maintenance of certification (MOC). The AADA Practice Management Center can help answer questions about MACRA compliance. The Academy successfully advocated for the adjustment of some MACRA regulations. AAD continues to represent dermatologists regarding MOC.

“This is a challenging issue. On one hand, we must continue to demonstrate our training and qualifications as dermatologists and to distinguish ourselves from other clinicians who claim to practice dermatology,” Dr. Lim said. “Board certification is the gold standard to do so. However, we all also recognize the time and effort needed to comply with MOC requirements, as they stand now.”

The AAD is preparing a survey for members to get feedback on MOC. Members should expect to receive the survey within a few weeks.

Another MOC issue is the proposed certification for Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Oncology by the American Board of Dermatology. A member survey showed a 50-50 split on the issue, so the Academy continues to study the matter.

Serving members in the future

AAD will continue to communicate with members to better serve them, Dr. Lim said. He asked the members to be involved in the dermatology community and in the Academy. In addition, an August conference of Academy members, leaders, and sister societies will work to better represent patients.

“It is only the first step, but it is a meaningful beginning to address this issue,” Dr. Lim said of the conference. “American medicine’s music is, indeed, changing. But with the leadership of our Academy listening to you and working together with all of you, I am confident that dermatology will continue to be a bright star on the dance floor.”

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