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CSMS Recent Headlines

New AMA Economic Impact Study Released

Spread the word: Physicians boost the U.S. economy.Beyond their role of safeguarding a healthy community and a productive work force, physicians have a huge positive impact on the national and state economies, as demonstrated in an American Medical Association study that was completed in conjunction with state medical associations.Now is the time to quantify physicians’ economic impact to lawmakers, regulators and policymakers. The report shows that each physician supports an average of: $2.2 million in economic output and contributes to a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output nationwide 84 jobs and contributes to a total of 10 million jobs …

Group Practice Reporting Option - Registration Now Open

If your practice wishes to participate in PQRS as a group for the 2015 reporting year, you must register for the Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO) by June 30, 2015 using the Physician Value-PQRS (PV-PQRS) registration system.GPRO Reporting ChoicesWhen you register your group, you need to select a GPRO reporting method: Registry EHR Web interface Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & System (CAHPS) for PQRS via a certified survey vendor.The reporting mechanism can be changed at any time during the registration period, but you must do so before the June 30, 2015 deadline.GPRO Authorized AccessIn order to access the PV-PQRS …

Open Payments Review Period Now Underway

On June 30 of this year, 2014 Open Payments (Sunshine Act) data will be displayed on the CMS public website.Before the data is made public, physicians can review and dispute payment data submitted by applicable manufacturers and GPOs from April 1 - May 20. During this review period, physicians can affirm records (optional - unaffirmed records will still be published), initiate disputes, or withdraw disputes. You can still register and dispute inaccuracies after this review and dispute period, but resolutions will not be displayed in the public data until the next reporting cycle.Getting Started with Payment Review Step 1 - …

What Does SGR Repeal Mean for CT Physicians?

Before last night's Senate vote to approve H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), there was a great deal of concern about the possible 21% cut to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) for Medicare services provided on or after April 1, 2015. The President is expected to sign MACRA into law shortly, eliminating the scheduled 21% MPFS cut.In an effort to minimize potential financial effects on providers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had previously instituted a 10-business day processing hold for all impacted claims with dates of service April 1, 2015, …

CSMS Statement on SGR Repeal

April 15, 2015 (North Haven, CT) – After more than a decade of patches, the flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula was finally repealed last night by an overwhelming Senate vote.On behalf of our physician and physician in training members, the Connecticut State Medical Society would like to thank the entire Connecticut Congressional delegation for their unanimous support of H.R. 2, the “Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act” (MACRA):US Senator Richard BlumenthalUS Senator Chris MurphyUS Representative John Larson (CT-1)US Representative Joe Courtney (CT-2)US Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-3)US Representative Jim Himes (CT-4)US Representative Elizabeth Esty (CT-5)This historic vote ended a costly …

US Senate Passes "Doc Fix" - SGR Finally Repealed

After weeks of uncertainty, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 2, the “Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act” (MACRA), last night with an overwhelming majority vote of 92-8. The House passed H.R. 2 last month, in an unprecedented bipartisan vote of 392-37. The bill now moves to the White House for President Obama's signature.H.R. 2 finally repeals the flawed SGR formula for physician reimbursement, first introduced in 1997 as part of the Balanced Budget Amendment. It has been patched 17 times since 2003; an AMA estimate places the cost of these patches at $153.7 billion.Key Bill Features • The sustainable growth rate …

CMS Update: 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule

On April 1, 2015, the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) was updated using the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) methodology as required by current law. The SGR methodology required a 21% decrease in all MPFS payments beginning April 1, 2015. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) took steps to limit the impact on Medicare providers and beneficiaries by holding claims paid under the MPFS with dates of service on and after April 1, 2015. Additionally, Medicare is also holding all therapy claims that would no longer qualify for the therapy cap exceptions (those therapy claims with the ‘KX’ modifier), …

US Senate Must Act Now on SGR Repeal

Today the U.S. Senate returns from a two-week recess to tackle the bipartisan sustainable growth rate (SGR) repeal legislation that overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House of Representatives more than two weeks ago. The Senate must act immediately to repeal the 21 percent cut to Medicare payments that already went into effect with the expiration of the most recent SGR patch on April 1.We've never been this close -- let's finally get SGR reform across the finish line by contacting your senators through every means available and asking them to pass H.R. 2 without delay. Call your senators using the AMA's …

New Proposed Rule for Meaningful Use Modifications (CMS press release)

Modifications to Meaningful Use for 2015 through 2017: Realigning the EHR Incentive Programs to support health information exchange and quality improvement On April 10, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a new proposed rule for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs to align Stage 1 and Stage 2 objectives and measures with the long-term proposals for Stage 3, to build progress toward program milestones, to reduce complexity, and to simplify providers’ reporting. These modifications would allow providers to focus more closely on the advanced use of certified EHR technology to support health information …

CSMS Deeply Concerned With DSS Cuts to Obstetric Care

Recently, CT DSS released a bulletin on changes to the rate structure for obstetric care.CSMS and other physician and hospital groups across the state are very concerned with the potential impact of these changes.Today, a joint letter was sent to DSS Commissioner Roderick Bremby and DSS Health Services Director Kate McEvoy requesting an immediate meeting to discuss these concerns.The letter raised a number of points, including: These draconian cuts will have an immediate and irreversible impact on access to care for expectant mothers in the Medicaid program in Connecticut. Further, these reductions, many of them 20% to 40% cuts in …

Potential Medicare Cuts: Is Your Practice Prepared?

Last week, the House passed H.R. 2, the “Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act” (MACRA), with overwhelming bipartisan support: 392-37. Click here to view a section by section bill summary.However, the Senate failed to vote on the bill before Congress adjourned for its two-week spring recess on March 27. This means that a 21% Medicare physician payment cut will technically take effect on April 1. Medicare Physician Fee Schedule claims for services rendered on or before March 31, 2015, are unaffected by the payment cut and will be processed and paid under normal procedures and time frames.Because Medicare is required by …

UPDATE: Medicare Physician Payment Reform

Today, the Medicare physician payment reform legislation was modified to include budget offsets, policy extenders, and other provisions and reintroduced by Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX) as H.R. 2, the “Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act” (MACRA). Click here to view a section by section summary from the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees.The new bill replaces H.R. 1470, which was introduced last week. It builds on the bipartisan, bicameral SGR replacement policy negotiated last year.What's Next?The bill is scheduled for consideration by the House Rules Committee on Wednesday afternoon (3/25). Floor debate is expected to occur Thursday …

No More Patches: Fix Medicare Now

The clock is ticking for Congress to permanently repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) before the March 31 deadline.Bipartisan repeal legislation (H.R. 1470/S. 810) is expected on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives next week, but Congress needs to know that physicians and patients demand action to fix Medicare NOW.That's why we need you to act now - keep the pressure on Congress and ask your elected officials to vote yes on H.R. 1470/S. 810.1.) Call your U.S. representative and senators using the AMA's toll-free Physicians Grassroots Hotline: (800) 833-6354.2.) Send an urgent email to your lawmakers reinforcing …

Physicians' Day at the Capitol 2015

It was a busy - and successful - day at the Capitol for CSMS physicians today.In addition to meetings with state representative and senators, CSMS physicians heard presentations from the American College of Surgeons, the State Comptroller, and the Senate President and Minority Leader.L-R: Gary Price, MD; Kathleen LaVorgna, MD; guest speaker Patrick Bailey, MD of ACS; Scott Ellner, DO; Valerie Vitale, MDYale Primary Care ResidentsSenate President Martin Looney and Minority Leader Len Fasano co-chair the Bipartisan Roundtable on Hospitals and Healthcare, and gave testimony before the Public Health Committee on bills proposed by the Roundtable. Sens. Looney and Fasano …

Protecting Young Athletes from Concussion

The CT Mirror recently published an op-ed by members of State of Connecticut General Assembly Task Force on Youth Athletics and Concussions: "Time to pass bill protecting young athletes from concussion."Several CSMS members are on the Task Force, including Michael Krinsky, MD (Co-Chair), Karen Laugel, MD, and David Wang, MD (Co-Chair).Read the op-ed here.Dr. Krinsky is a past President of the Connecticut State Medical Society.Dr. Laugel is Chair of the Connecticut American Academy of Pediatrics Traumatic Brain Injury-Return to Learn Initiative, and a board member of Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut and of the Children’s Safety Network, TBI Advisory Board. …

Deep Concerns Over Medicaid Budget Cuts

CSMS has joined with the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA), the Connecticut Association for Health Care at Home (CAHCH), and Leading Age CT in response to the significant cuts proposed to the state Medicaid budget by Governor Malloy.The group has put together a flyer expressing their concerns over the impact these cuts would have on a medically vulnerable population (download the flyer here). The proposed cuts would not only affect access to care, but also eliminate funding for a program to coordinate care for the poorest and sickest Connecticut residents.Read more:Providers, advocates call Malloy Medicaid cuts short-sighted - CT Mirror  

Connecticut Emergency Department Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

CSMS, the Connecticut Hospital Association, and the Connecticut College of Emergency Physicians have developed opioid prescribing guidelines as an educational tool to assist emergency medical personnel (EMPs) in addressing the care needs of persons who come to the Emergency Department (ED), and have a a chronic pain condition that may involve the use of opioids.Click here to view the guidelines, which include specific considerations for EDs and EMPs, as well as specific legal, oversight, and policy considerations.   

2014 PQRS Data Submission Deadline Extension

Some good news if you're an individual Eligible Provider (EP) or Group Practice reporting your 2014 PQRS data through EHR or QCDR.The filing deadline has been extended to March 20, 2015 at 8 pm ET: If you're filing EHR Direct or Data Submission Vendor that is certified EHR technology (CEHRT) - or - If you're filing Qualified clinical data registries (QCDRs) (using QRDA III format) reporting for PQRS and the clinical quality measure (CQM) component of meaningful use for the Medicare EHR Incentive ProgramQuestions? Please contact the QualityNet Support Help Desk at 1-866-288-8912 7 am - 7 pm CT. You …

CSMS Urges NGA to Focus on Overdose Prevention, Treatment

The Connecticut State Medical Society joined more than 150 national and state organizations in signing a letter to the National Governors Association (NGA). The letter urges their strong support for shifting the national discussion about prescription drug toward an increased emphasis on overdose prevention and treatment.Signed by the American Medical Association, every state medical society, and 25 major national specialty societies, as well as the National Safety Council and the Harm Reduction Coalition, the letter is a tremendous show of unified support for a new focus on overdose prevention and treatment.The full text of the letter is available here. 

CSMS Members in the News

CSMS members are making national news on trending healthcare topics such as telemedicine and patient perspectives of care. Politico Pro, a site for national politics and policy professionals, interviewed CSMS President Robert Russo, MD on current Connecticut legislation on telemedicine (SB 5).“This is not an effort to protect the practices of doctors,” President Bob Russo said. “It’s an effort to make sure the patients are properly cared for and that the follow-up is necessary and that the team approach is built in.”You can find CSMS testimony on SB 5 (telemedicine) and other bills here. An abbreviated version of the article …