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Jan. 24, 2012
AMA/FEDERATION NEWS: National headlines, grassroots news and important AMA announcements for Federation executives and communicators.
1. Bipartisan bill to repeal IPAB introduced in House of Representatives
2. AMA to HHS: Make Medicare EHR program more reasonable, achievable
3. New CPT® codes support physician payment for Medicare care coordination
4. Thought leaders to discuss how to build a better Medicare system
5. Ohio court upholds state’s four-year limit for filing liability lawsuits
6. Alabama prevents Medicaid payment cuts
7. Website helps physicians, patients make choices for high-value care
8. Physician campaign aims to help employers address obesity
9. Reformulated opioids thwart misuse of the painkillers
10. Call for applications: Key medical education leadership slots
11. Webinar to examine AMA physician employment principles
1. Bipartisan bill to repeal IPAB introduced in House of Representatives A bipartisan bill introduced Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives would eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) before it has a chance to order cuts to Medicare physician payments.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, MD, (R-Tenn.), is supported by 83 co-sponsors from both political parties, including Democratic lead co-sponsor Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.). Current law requires the creation of the 15-member IPAB and invests it with the authority to impose across-the-board cuts to Medicare payments to physicians and other health care professionals.
“IPAB is a panel that would have too little accountability and the power to make indiscriminate cuts that adversely affect access to health care for patients,” AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, said in a statement. “We must move away from these broken systems and focus on new payment and delivery models that give physicians the ability to improve patient care and reduce costs to stabilize Medicare for seniors now and in the future.”
The AMA plans to work with Roe, Schwartz and the other co-sponsors to see the legislation adopted.
Visit http://www.elabs10.com/ct.html?ufl=8&rtr=on&s=x8pbgr,1caj0,2ke5,9h0h,9b7l,br4e,1mb1 to read the AMA statement.
2. AMA to HHS: Make Medicare EHR program more reasonable, achievable The proposed requirements for Stage 3 of the Medicare electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use program need revisions if physicians are to successfully participate, the AMA told the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a comment letter submitted last week.
“The AMA shares the administration’s goal of widespread EHR adoption and use, but we again stress our continuing concern that the meaningful use program is moving forward without a comprehensive evaluation of previous stages to resolve existing problems,” AMA Board Chair Steven J. Stack, MD, said in a news release.
The AMA’s letter discusses the top issues that must be addressed to make the program a success, including implementing a process for independent evaluation of the program, addressing physicians’ EHR usability concerns, and making requirements more flexible for physicians in all practice patterns and specialties.
Visit http://www.elabs10.com/ct.html?ufl=8&rtr=on&s=x8pbgr,1caj0,2ke5,495p,2atw,br4e,1mb1 to read more in AMA Wire.
3. New CPT® codes support physician payment for Medicare care coordination Physicians who coordinate care for patients recently discharged from a hospital or skilled nursing facility now can report new Current Procedural Terminology® (CPT®) codes to receive Medicare payment for these services.
Effective Jan. 1, Medicare will cover transitional care management services included in two new CPT codes: 99495 and 99496. These codes allow physicians to efficiently report time spent discussing patient care plans, connecting patients to community services, transitioning them from inpatient settings and preventing readmissions. The codes were created by the AMA CPT Editorial Panel with broad input from the health care community.
“Medicare’s acceptance of the new codes signals that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recognizes the important role these services have in improving the overall quality of health care,” AMA President-elect Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, said in a news release. “The decision supports the work involved in transitioning patients from one care setting to the next and physicians working in emerging models of care.”
Visit http://www.elabs10.com/ct.html?ufl=8&rtr=on&s=x8pbgr,1caj0,2ke5,ihrr,6rm5,br4e,1mb1 to read more in AMA Wire.
4. Thought leaders to discuss how to build a better Medicare system A National Journal event Jan. 29 will bring together leading health policy experts to analyze ways to overhaul the ailing Medicare payment system. Physicians can watch a live webcast of the event.
Underwritten by the AMA, the event will facilitate discussion about viable options for reforming Medicare’s quality improvement programs, including implementation of new payment models, provision of timely performance data to physicians, and involvement of physicians in efforts to measure quality and efficiency.
Panelists will include physician leaders, health care executives, congressional staff experts and other key voices in health policy.
Visit http://www.elabs10.com/ct.html?ufl=8&rtr=on&s=x8pbgr,1caj0,2ke5,86v6,en1w,br4e,1mb1 to read more in AMA Wire.
5. Ohio court upholds state’s four-year limit for filing liability lawsuits The Ohio Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of existing legislation that prohibits the filing of medical liability lawsuits more than four years after the event.
In a 6-1 decision, the court overturned a decision by an appeals court that had said the statute was unconstitutional.
“Just as a plaintiff is entitled to a meaningful time and opportunity to pursue a claim, a defendant is entitled to a reasonable time after which he or she can be assured that a defense will not have to be mounted for actions occurring years before,” the Ohio Supreme Court’s majority opinion states.
The Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) had filed an amicus brief in the case, urging the court to uphold the statute.
“The court has validated an important tort reform of our civil justice laws in a way that provides greater predictability and stability for the medical profession,” Tim Maglione, OSMA’s senior director of governmental relations, said in a news alert.
Visit http://www.elabs10.com/ct.html?ufl=8&rtr=on&s=x8pbgr,1caj0,2ke5,gb0p,4gju,br4e,1mb1 to read more in the OSMA news alert.
6. Alabama prevents Medicaid payment cuts Physicians in the Yellowhammer State have avoided steep cuts to Medicaid payments after voters approved an amendment to the state’s constitution.
The Medical Association of the State of Alabama (MASA) was instrumental in ensuring protection of Medicaid payments as part of the legislation and rallying physicians to support the vote.
“Medicaid is critical to not only recipients but the entire health care framework of this state, and the medical association is committed to creating long-term solutions to the annual Medicaid funding shortfalls, including an increase in the tobacco tax,” MASA President Michael Harrington, MD, said in a MASA news update. “We intend to offer solutions that help physicians treat their patients and improve the delivery and quality of care.”
Visit http://www.elabs10.com/ct.html?ufl=8&rtr=on&s=x8pbgr,1caj0,2ke5,d07t,7vap,br4e,1mb1 to read more in a MASA news update.
7. Website helps physicians, patients make choices for high-value care A new website from the American College of Physicians (ACP) provides a central source of information for the medical community and patients to understand the benefits, harms and costs of tests and treatment options for common clinical issues.
The High Value Care website includes such resources as informational videos, patient education materials about evidence-based recommendations and clinical practice recommendations.
“By identifying and eliminating wasteful practices that do not improve health, physicians can provide the best possible care to their patients while reducing unnecessary costs to the health care system at the same time,” ACP CEO Steven E. Weinberger, MD, said in a news release.
Visit http://www.elabs10.com/ct.html?ufl=8&rtr=on&s=x8pbgr,1caj0,2ke5,kdon,4rfd,br4e,1mb1 to read more in the ACP news release.
8. Physician campaign aims to help employers address obesity Employers now have access to tools and resources to identify and respond to the impact of obesity on worker health and productivity, thanks to a campaign of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).
Last month ACOEM released a set of resources to help employers foster employee health as part of its Healthy Workforce Now program. The association emphasized that obesity goes beyond individual lifestyle choices and encouraged employers to provide a supportive health environment for their workers.
“Workplace obesity prevention programs can be an effective way for employers to help their employees improve their lives and at the same time lower health care costs and absenteeism and increase employee productivity,” ACOEM Executive Director Barry Eisenberg said in a news release.
Visit http://www.elabs10.com/ct.html?ufl=8&rtr=on&s=x8pbgr,1caj0,2ke5,2iab,d1kj,br4e,1mb1 to read more in the ACOEM news release.
9. Reformulated opioids thwart misuse of the painkillers More evidence is emerging to show that tamper-resistant formulations of extended-release analgesic opioids are improving public health by discouraging abuse, according to a recent article in American Medical News.
Prompted by appeals from physicians and officials at the Food and Drug Administration for a harder-to-abuse pill to ease what many see as a public health crisis, drugmaker Purdue Pharma in August 2010 launched a tamper-resistant form of its best-selling painkiller oxycodone, American Medical News reports.
Research shows the change has made a dent in misuse of the drug, American Medical News reports. According to the article, two studies published in 2012—one in The New England Journal of Medicine and another in The Journal of Pain—found that abuse of the drug was cut in half once the crush-resistant form of oxycodone was introduced.
Visit http://www.elabs10.com/ct.html?ufl=8&rtr=on&s=x8pbgr,1caj0,2ke5,6y3j,3l33,br4e,1mb1 to read the article.
10. Call for applications: Key medical education leadership slots AMA members interested in serving as leaders in medical education can apply for new vacancies. The deadline is Feb. 15.
The AMA Council on Medical Education nominates representatives to key medical education organizations, Residency Review Committees of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties. Vacancies are available for the following specialties:
* Emergency Medicine
* Family Medicine
* Internal Medicine (two positions)
* Medical Genetics
* Obstetrics/Gynecology (two positions)
* Orthopaedic Surgery
* Preventive Medicine
* Urology (two positions)
Physicians can visit http://www.elabs10.com/ct.html?ufl=8&rtr=on&s=x8pbgr,1caj0,2ke5,fpoc,3h46,br4e,1mb1 to complete the online application form.
The AMA councils, including the AMA Council on Medical Education, also are seeking nominations for open seats in 2013. Visit http://www.elabs10.com/ct.html?ufl=8&rtr=on&s=x8pbgr,1caj0,2ke5,72nb,e8o4,br4e,1mb1 to learn more about the nominations process.
11. Webinar to examine AMA physician employment principles The newly adopted AMA Principles for Physician Employment provide guidance for employed physicians. Physicians can learn how the principles apply to real-world situations by participating in a webinar jointly sponsored by the AMA and the American Bar Association at 8 p.m. Eastern time Jan. 30.
Participants can earn continuing medical education credit in the form of 1.5 "AMA PRA Category 1 Credits"™. Registration is free for AMA members; nonmembers can sign up for $45.