|The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2018 Large Urology Group Practice Association meeting in Chicago, November 1-3. Renal and Urology News’ staff will be reporting on presentations dealing with various practice management and clinical topics aimed at community-based urologists. Check back for the latest news from LUGPA 2018.|
CHICAGO—As President-Elect of the Large Urology Group Practice Association (LUGPA), Richard Harris, MD, said his top priority is to continue his association’s initiatives to represent the interests of independent urology practices in Washington, DC.
Fluctuating Medicare policies are among the major concerns. “Our greatest challenge is figuring out how to navigate the things that are handed to us,” Dr Harris told Renal & Urology News. “All of their [changing] rules and regulations make it difficult to navigate what our future is going to be. It’s extremely difficult to have a 10-year plan or a 5-year plan.”
LUGPA, which was founded in 2008, attempts to give independent community-based urologists a voice at the federal level to help shape policies that affect their practice. For example, in 2012, LUGPA began extensive lobbying efforts in response to General Accounting Office reports on threats to the in-office ancillary services exception. In 2017, representing LUGPA, Gary Kirsh, MD, testified at a Congressional hearing on refinements to the Stark Law.
Efforts to influence federal legislation and policies center on ensuring the financial stability of independent urology practices so that a high level of care is maintained, Dr Harris, who is the CEO and President of UroPartners, a large urology group in the Chicago area.
“First and foremost, we’re always about our patients,” Dr Harris said. “But we also have to understand that we have to run businesses and to survive so that we can take care of our patients. We need to have organizations such as LUGPA to help fight the good fight in Washington.”
Another issue that Dr Harris is concerned about is private equity investment. “Right now, urology is very appealing to them [investors],” Dr Harris said. “It will be a challenge for LUGPA to figure out how to bring them into the tent, to make what we do relevant to them to keep our membership growing.”
In addition to being involved in the lobbying efforts at the federal level, Dr Harris said he wants to work on encouraging leadership within the association’s ranks to ensure a pipeline of capable individuals to run LUGPA and urology groups around the country. “It’s important that we have individuals who are eventually going to step up and take the role of the current leaders.”