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April 2015

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IT'S FINALLY OVER: THE MEDICARE SGR IS DEAD!

After a decade of battling, the U.S. Senate, on April 14 in a whopping vote of 92-8, passed HR 2, the monumental, bipartisan Medicare SGR Payment Reform and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act-both senators Feinstein and Boxer voted in the affirmative. Two weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted the legislation in a landslide vote of 392-37.

A 21% cut to physicians' Medicare payments was set to take place on April 15. Instead, HR 2 provides positive annual payment updates of 0.5% starting July 1 and lasting through 2019. Claims that were held for the first half of April will be processed and paid at rates that were in place before the 21% cut was scheduled to take effect.

MMS and CMA extend a sincere thank you to all member physicians for the extraordinary campaign this last decade to end the SGR. Member physicians kept up the fight these last two years to hold Congress' feet to the fire to develop a comprehensive bill to reform Medicare physician payments. The unity within organized medicine finally put this over the finish line. Moreover, 52 out of 54 members of the California congressional delegation voted to support physicians-a direct result of long-term MMS and CMA advocacy.

Following is a brief summary of the major provisions of HR 2:

  • Repeals the SGR.
  • Provides 0.5% increases in Medicare each year for four years.
  • Offers physicians payment options. In 2019, physicians can choose to participate in one of two payment track options: (1) A Fee-for-Service Track that simplifies and consolidates the existing quality reporting programs, reinstates large bonuses up to 9%, and reduces current penalties; or (2) The Alternative Payment Model Track, which provides 5% bonus payments and allows physicians to develop the new models, such as primary care/specialty medical homes.
  • Involves physicians in defining quality.
  • Provides $125 million in funding to help small practice physicians transition to the alternative models or quality reporting programs.
  • Reinstates bundled payments for the 10- and 90-day global surgical services.
  • Provides total cost of care data to help physicians better manage their practices.
  • Mandates interoperability of EHR systems.

MMS-CMA physician member dues dollars made this happen. Combine this huge SGR win with the victories on Proposition 46, GPCI, arresting the Medi-Cal cuts for three years, stopping scope of practice expansions . . . and the message could not be any clearer: Non-member physicians have received significant value from member dues! If you are not already a member, please join your fellow physicians who have contributed to these victories by becoming an MMS-CMA member. Click here to join now.



SCMA NEWS

SCMA wine & cheese reception at Dutton-Goldfield Winery June 10

The annual SCMA Wine & Cheese Reception will be held at the Dutton-Goldfield Winery in Sebastopol on Wednesday evening, June 10. All Sonoma County physicians and their spouse or guest are invited to attend. The reception, now in its 15th year, has become increasingly popular because of its relaxed, collegial atmosphere.

Please join your colleagues for informal conversation and a sampling of fine wines with our hosts Dan Goldfield and Dr. Loie Sauer. There's no charge for SCMA members and their spouse or guest. The charge for nonmembers is $55 per person.

To RSVP, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org.  Visit duttongoldfield.com  for directions and information about their wines. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase the wines being poured. Download flier for more details.



24th Garden Tour kicks off

Tickets are now on sale for "Gardens of Greater Sebastopol: Natural Beauties," SCMA Alliance Foundation's signature event, the 24th annual fundraising Garden Tour on Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16. $45 early-bird pricing through April 30. Regular price: $50.

For more information about ordering tickets and a description of sponsorship opportunities still available (which include complimentary tickets), please visit www.scmaa.org download flier, or feel free to call Janet Shane at 707-578-4537.



Dr. Regina Sullivan nominated as SCMA President-Elect

SCMA's president, Dr. Rob Nied, and the incoming president, Dr. Mary Maddux-Gonzalez, announce that Dr. Regina Sullivan, a Santa Rosa OB-GYN, has been nominated as SCMA President-Elect. Others nominated to the SCMA Board of Directors are Drs. Peter Sybert (treasurer), Rachel Mayorga (North County district), Stephen Steady (Petaluma), and three nominees for the CMA delegation: Drs. Regina Sullivan (delegate), Tricia May (alternate delegate) and Leonard Klay (alternate delegate).

SCMA members will receive ballots by postal mail in May. For more information, contact Cynthia Melody at cmelody@scma.org  or 525-4375.


SCMA hosting ICD-10 training July 13 & 14

Learn to code for ICD-10-Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) and prepare for the ICD-10 Proficiency Assessment. Conducted over two days, July 13 & 14 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., attendees will receive 16 hours of intensive general ICD-10 code set training along with hands-on coding exercises focused on ICD-10 format and structure, guidelines, and coding tips.

Pricing varies: $399 for SCMA-CMA members (a $200 savings), $499 for CA-MGMA members, and $599 for non-members. To register, call CMA at 800-786-4262 or view info and register online (Sonoma, Marin, and Mendocino-Lake counties). Click here to download informational flier.


MIEC seminar: "Mastering the Art of Disclosing an Unexpected Outcome"

MIEC (Medical Insurance Exchange of California) has created an interactive workshop for Sonoma and Marin physicians. The workshop examines the elements of providing a timely and effective disclosure when an unexpected outcome occurs. The workshop will be held on Wednesday evening, July 22 at the Hilltop 1892 in Novato. Scheduled from 5:30-9 p.m., the event includes dinner. Cost is free to SCMA and MMS members, and $45 for nonmembers. Save the date! Watch for registration information to follow.


Sonoma Medicine publishes spring issue

The spring issue of Sonoma Medicine features articles on birth: long-term effects of cesarean section, home birth, birth centers in Sonoma County, weight loss and pregnancy, and the Smoke-Free Babies program. Departments look at buprenorphine for pain, trained medical interpreters, helping Haitian amputees, and more. View the PDF or text-only versions online. To order a print copy or subscribe, call Susan at 707-525-0102.


Win an iPad through SCMA's "Passport to Participation"

To encourage physician collegiality and the advancement of community health, PASSPORT TO PARTICIPATION acknowledges Sonoma County physicians' active engagement with SCMA, CMA and community activities by awarding points for participation. In addition to recognition for exemplary involvement, an iPad will be awarded to the winner at the end of the fiscal year. Click here to learn more.


Applicants

Salvador Federico Calaf, MD, Nephrology*, 2301 Circadian Way #A, Santa Rosa 95407, Univ Texas 2004

Eric Cheung, MD, Nephrology*, 2301 Circadian Way #A, Santa Rosa 95407, Univ Southern California 2002

Jason Pope, MD, Pain Medicine*, Anesthesiology*, 392 Tesconi Ct., Santa Rosa 95401, Indiana Univ 2004

* = board certified


LOCAL NEWS

 Memorial Hospital earns national award
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has earned the 2015 Women's Choice Award as one of America's Best Breast Centers, acknowledging its dedication to providing exceptional patient care and treatment. See the full list of awarded breast centers here.

CMA ALERT

CMA Alert is a biweekly newsletter for members of the California Medical Association.

TOP STORY: CMA joins vaccine advocates to launch "I Heart Immunity" campaign in support of SB 277. The California Medical Association (CMA), American Academy of Pediatrics, California, California Immunization Coalition, Vaccinate California and Health Officers Association of California have joined forces to launch the "I Heart Immunity" campaign in an ongoing effort to promote the importance of vaccines and Senate Bill 277 (Pan/Allen). (Read more)

Also in this issue:

 


PRACTICE RESOURCES

Wednesdays at Hospice House

The monthly education series continues in May with "Death On Our Own Terms." The recent situation involving a 29-year-old terminal cancer patient who moved to Oregon in order to die on her own terms, highlights the value of ongoing discussions about options that palliative and hospice care offer in the face of suffering. The presentations are provided free of charge to the community by Hospice Services of St. Joseph Health. No reservations are required. For more details, visit www.SonomaCountyHospice.org  or contact Denise Burke at denise.burke@stjoe.org.

May 13 (7 to 9 p.m.) at Hospice of Petaluma, presented by Dr. Gary Johanson, medical director for Memorial Hospice.

May 20 (5 to 7 p.m.) at Memorial Hospice in Santa Rosa, presented by Dr. Steve Hadland, hospice physician at Hospice of Petaluma.


ICD-10 transition

Is your office working on ICD-10 compliance? Click here to see a number of members-only resources, including CMA's ICD-10 Transition Guide for Physicians. Download flier for info about ICD-10 training July 13 & 14, hosted by SCMA.


2015 PQRS and Value-Based Modifier Getting Started Guide

The Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) is a reporting program that has used a combination of incentive payments and payment reductions to promote reporting of quality information by eligible professionals. How does this impact you? PQRS is mandated by federal legislation. The program, which started in 2009, provided an incentive payment up through 2014 to practices with eligible professionals (EPs) who satisfactorily reported data on quality measures for covered Physician Schedule (PFS) services furnished to Medicare Part B fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries.

The guide is free to CMA members at www.cmanet.org  in the Resource Library and Store in the Professional Resources pull-down menu.


CPR: CMA Practice Resources

CPR is a free monthly e-bulletin from CMA's practice management experts that focuses on critical payor and health care industry changes and how they directly impact the business of a physician practice. Each issue includes tips on reimbursement and contracting-related issues along with information on the latest practice management news. Read the current issue here. Titles include:


CMEs

CME April 25: HIV/AIDS review

CME April 25: HIV/AIDS Review

The 22nd Annual HIV/AIDS Review, an educational CME seminar and luncheon for physicians, mid-levels and pharmacists who provide care to people with HIV/AIDS will be held on Saturday, April 25, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Finley Community Center, Santa Rosa. This year's program will include: an HIV and HCV Update; HIV Prevention; Substance Use and Harm Reduction; Interdisciplinary Case Management; and Medication Errors in HIV Care. Speakers include: Kirsten Balano, PharmD; Drs. Marshall Kubota, Ele Lozares-Lewis and Danny Toub; and Meghan Murphy, MSW. For more information, call The North Coast Area AIDS Education & Training Center at 707-303-8904.


CME May 1: Innovation 2015, San Mateo

"The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine's Computer Age" and "The Future of Health & Medicine: Where Can Technology Take Us?" will be featured at the Innovation Symposium 2015 on May 1 in San Mateo. Physicians, CFOs, COOs, nurses, HR executives, and pharmacists are invited. CMEs will be available. Download flier or register online today.  


CLASSIFIEDS

Pediatric physicians
The Permanente Medical Group, Inc. is currently seeking BC/BE Outpatient Pediatric Physicians to join our team in San Rafael, CA. This is an excellent opportunity to practice with one of the nation's top health care organizations where you can develop a rewarding and lasting career. To learn more about these opportunities, please contact Judy Padilla at 800-777-4912 or Judy.G.Padilla@kp.org.  We are an EOE/AA/M/F/D/V Employer and VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

Shared medical suite available
Lovely reception area, patient rooms and furnished office. Beautiful Novato location, plenty of parking, utilities included. Please inquire at 415-897-9800.

SCMA members get free classifieds!
SCMA members can place free classified ads in News Briefs or Sonoma Medicine. Cost for nonmember physicians and the general public is $1 per word. To place a classified ad, contact Susan Gumucio at susan@scma.org or 707-525-0102.


ABOUT SCMA

The Sonoma County Medical Association, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association, supports local physicians and their efforts to enhance the health of the community. Founded in 1858, SCMA is affiliated with the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association.

© 2015 SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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