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February 27, 2007

2007

February 27, 2007

HEADLINE

ATS Participates in RUC Survey on Smoking Cessation Code

American Thoracic Society (ATS) will be participating with other specialty societies in surveying two smoking cessation counseling codes. HCPCS G0375 and G0376 will be transitioning into CPT for 2008 and we have agreed to participate in the American Medical Association's RVS Update Committee (RUC) survey process that will determine a recommended relative value unit (RVU) to CMS that will affect your future Medicare Reimbursement.

If you are interested in participating in the survey for the smoking cessation code, please contact Gary Ewart, ATS at gewart@thoracic.org. The survey will take place in early March and should take 15-30 minutes to complete.

TOBACCO

Supreme Court Strikes Down $80 Million Tobacco Award

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an Oregon court decision to award $80 million to the estate of a smoker who died from lung cancer.  In the case, Phillip Morris USA v Williams, by a 5-4 decision the court determined the $80 million award was excessive and that the jury should have been instructed not to have considered the harm caused by Phillip Morris to other individuals when determining the monetary damages to be awarded to the Williams estate.

The case is a victory for the tobacco industry, who continues to enjoy success in the higher courts in over-turning punitive awards granted by juries in lower courts.  The ATS filed an amicus brief in the case encouraging the U.S. Supreme Court to support the $80 million award.  The ATS felt the award was justified based on the past and ongoing reprehensible actions of the tobacco industry in knowingly marketing an addictive and lethal product.



Points of Contact

Gary Ewart Senior Director, Government Relations
Nuala Moore Senior Legislative Representative
Joe Kirby DC Office Administrator