february 20, 2018
Major Health Programs Renewed after FP Advocacy
As part of the federal budget fight, CAFP, AAFP and family physicians from across the country called on Congress to ensure the continuation of several crucial health programs, and such advocacy has paid off in a remarkable way: the President signed a spending measure that extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program for four additional years (on top of the previous six-year extension) and includes the extension of several other high-priority health programs, including:
- Community Health Centers (CHCs): CHCs serve more than 24 million people, most of them low-income and about half of them in rural areas where options for care are limited. Today, more than 1,300 CHCs provide comprehensive, high-quality care to 6.5 million people in California. In many rural communities, CHCs serve as the only source of medical and wellness care for middle- and working-class families. The new spending agreement extends and increases funding for CHCs from $3.6 billion per year to $3.8 billion for 2018 and $4 billion for 2019.
- Teaching Health Centers (THCs): THCs are primary care residency programs located in community clinics in underserved areas. Created and funded through the Affordable Care Act, they have shown tremendous promise to improve care in underserved regions while growing the primary care physician workforce. The new spending agreement extends and increases funding for the THC program from $60 million per year to $126.5 million per year for 2018 and 2019. This desperately- needed money will ensure that THCs in California and across the country will not close.
- National Health Service Corps (NHSC): The NHSC sends physicians to medically underserved areas in exchange for repayment of medical school debt. The program places physicians and other health professionals in areas in which they otherwise might be unlikely to work. More than 50,000 health professionals have served in the NHSC since its inception in 1972 and, today, 10,000 NHSC members provide care to more than 11 million patients at more than 5,000 locations. The new spending agreement extends NHSC’s current funding level of $310 million annually for 2018 and 2019.
Unfortunately, the bill also includes a $1.35 billion cut over 10 years to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, reduces the 2019 positive update to Medicare physician payment conversion factor from 0.5 percent to 0.25 percent and continues to ignore needed action and protection for participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. One in four DACA participants lives in California, some of whom are medical students and residents. Please call your Representatives and thank them for protecting these vital programs and urge them to address these remaining issues.
What if You Threw a Party and EVERYBODY Came?
CAFP’s All Member Advocacy Meeting (AMAM) is on its way to setting an attendance record with 181 registrants as of today! 110 have registered so far to participate in Family Medicine Lobby Day on Monday, March 12 – so many that the breakfast briefing has been moved to the Metropolitan Terrace from the Park Plaza Ballroom.
THAT’S what we’re talking about: committed, activated family physicians, residents and students flooding into the State Capitol to share their passion, stories and facts about why California needs primary care and family physicians at its health care core.
Register now for AMAM and plan to participate in Family Medicine Lobby Day on March 12 as well. A total of nine resolutions have been received and are posted for member comment on the CAFP website, along with the meeting schedule. The resolutions also are in the Participants’ Handbook which has been sent to all registered attendees. A mobile app for the meeting will be available on February 26. CAFP’s hotel room block is sold out, but you may still find a room at The Citizen Hotel by calling (877) 781-8559 or go online to your favorite travel website and stay nearby.
While 7.75 Prescribed credit will be offered at the AMAM itself, two additional Prescribed credits can be obtained by attending the FREE Sacramento-El Dorado Academy of Family Physicians continuing professional development program on opioids – Opioid Prescribing: Safe Practice, Changing Lives with faculty member Karen Muchowski, MD, FAAFP on Saturday morning, March 10 from 9-11 am. Questions on any of the above? Contact email@example.com or 415-345-8667.
CAFP Weighing in on Future Workforce Needs of the State
Executive Vice President Susan Hogeland, CAE, with support from Director of Government Relations Adam Francis and Director of Health Policy Conrad Amenta, is representing CAFP on both the Technical Advisory Committee of the California Future Health Workforce Commission and the Primary Care and Prevention Subcommittee of the Commission – with seven meetings held to date and many more scheduled. The Commission is on a fast track to develop a comprehensive health workforce strategy for California to close the gap between the health workforce of today and that required to “fully deploy the optimal health care delivery system of tomorrow.”
Supported by four major California foundations, Blue Shield of California Foundation, California Health Care Foundation, The California Endowment and The California Wellness Foundation, this initiative was prompted by the uncertain changes at the federal level and the 2018 gubernatorial election.
Are You Ready for SPARK?
SPARK, CAFP’s new online member engagement platform, launches next week! SPARK gives members an exclusive community in which to connect, engage and share information and best practices in real time. This new platform also will help CAFP communicate more dynamically with members, responding more quickly to your needs and receiving your input on critical issues. Watch your email next week for the official launch and prepare to be ignited!
What Pressing Clinical Questions Do You Have?
1) Your patient brings in a record of normal fasting glucose, but hemoglobin a1c is significantly high. What would you do next? Would you change medications? If so, what would you prescribe?
2) How would you medically manage a thin elderly patient with diabetes who lives alone?
These and many more questions about important clinical topics will be answered at the 2018 Family Medicine Clinical Forum, April 13-15 in Monterey. Don't miss this opportunity to join 300 of your colleagues at this exciting event!
On this Day in History: February 20
1872: The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens in New York City, in a building located at 681 Fifth Avenue.
1902: American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams is born in San Francisco.
1931: The U.S. Congress approves the construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
2018: CAFP members renew membership for 2018, and with it their commitment to family medicine, physicians and patients.
CAFP's 2018 Coding and Billing Webinar is Available
Ensure you and your staff know the ins and outs of the new, edited and deleted CPT codes for 2018 so you are paid fully and fairly for the care you provide. A recording of the webinar, along with presentation slides for download, is available here.
Health Plans Terminate Contracts with EHS
As reported by the California Medical Association (CMA), the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) has issued a cease-and-desist order requiring nine health plans to terminate their contracts with Employee Health Systems (EHS) Medical Group. This order comes after SynerMed, a company closely affiliated with EHS, was accused of blocking patient access to specialists to reduce costs. By February 5, health plans were to have transferred all EHS patients to different health care providers (90 percent of EHS's 600,000 patients receive care through Medi-Cal managed care). Physicians should obtain updated insurance information from patients to avoid unnecessary confusion and payment denials. California’s continuity of care law may allow your patient to continue under you care, even if you are not contracted with the patient’s new insurer. Patients who have an acute condition, serious chronic condition, terminal illness, are pregnant, younger than 36 months or currently scheduled for a surgery or other procedure may qualify for a continuity of care waiver. To request continuity of care, patients should call the health plan number on the back of their medical ID cards.
MIPS Reporting Deadlines Fast Approaching
Deadlines are quickly approaching if you plan to submit data for the 2017 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) performance period. Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your data.
The two key dates are:
• March 16 at 5 pm (PST) for group reporting via the CMS web interface
• March 31 for all other MIPS reporting, including via qpp.cms.gov
For step-by-step instructions on how to submit MIPS data, check out this video and this factsheet. If you’re unsure if you are required to report for MIPS, enter your National Provider Identifier (NPI) in the MIPS Lookup Tool.
CMS Webinar on Submitting Your Data to the Quality Payment Program
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will host a webinar on Friday, March 2, 2018 from 1:30-2:30 pm to discuss data submission as part of the Quality Payment Program. Options for clinicians in small practices to receive free, customized technical assistance also will be addressed. Speakers include Dr. Ashby Wolfe, CMS Chief Medical Officer for the San Francisco Regional Office, and Neal Logue, a health insurance specialist with CMS. CMS staff will offer an overview of the data submission process and time will be available for your questions.