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CSMS Recent Headlines

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 …

ACTION ALERT: Preserve CT Medicaid Funding

Please contact the Governor and Legislative Leaders and urge them to: Support the Medicaid Program Support Those Enrolled in Medicaid Support Providers Across the Continuum of CareBackground:The Governor and the members of the General Assembly are facing difficult funding choices as they begin to craft a new two-year budget under the shadow of projected revenue shortfalls estimated to exceed $1 billion. At this point of the budgetary process, state policy makers are deciding which programs to fund and which programs to cut. Governor Malloy will present his budget proposal to the legislature on February 18, 2015. This request is coordinated …

Valentine Miscellany

Giant Lifelike Gummy HeartMake a cardiologist laugh... (or make an endocrinologist cry, since it weighs in at 1.5 pounds.) Click for details.The Quickest Way to My Heart..."... is through my mediastinum with a #11 blade." This and other downloadable clinical expressions of love can be found at Medicine: A Love Story Happy 86th BirthdayOn February 14, 1929, Alexander Fleming introduced his mold by-product called penicillin to cure bacterial infections.Valentines by the Numbers There was more than one St. Valentine (but at least one of them was a physician) Necco produces ~100,000 pounds of candy hearts every day throughout the year …

Racial, Ethnic Disparities Common in CT Hospital Readmissions

The Connecticut State Medical Society hosted a well-attended symposium yesterday highlighting its multi-year research into racial and ethnic disparities in readmissions.The symposium, funded by a generous grant from the Connecticut Health Foundation, brought together physicians, nurses, patients, and other stakeholders from across the state. The stakeholders had an opportunity to review and discuss the CSMS research data, and also provided insight and interpretations of the disparities. This stakeholder feedback will be integrated into clinical recommendations for care delivery models that may help to reduce the level of disparity in hospital readmission rates.CSMS was pleased to have American Medical Association (AMA) …

Dr. DeFrancesco Interview on Healthy Rounds

CSMS member and ACOG President-elect Mark DeFrancesco, MD was a recent guest on WTIC's Healthy Rounds program, hosted by CSMS member Anthony Alessi, MD.Dr. DeFrancesco discussed readmission disparities in Connecticut, noting that CSMS has been active in research and physician education on this issue for many years. He also talked about the upcoming CSMS symposium, Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Readmission Rates in Connecticut Acute-Care Hospitals, scheduled for February 4, 2015.Click here to listen to the interview (segment begins at 09:49).

Changing Course: CT Mirror series Part 2

Part 2 of the CT Mirror series on childhood trauma, adversity and health.Science suggests that having a secure relationship with a caregiver can help protect a child’s brain and body from the effects of adversity. A Connecticut program for very young children who have experienced trauma or other challenges has gotten results by focusing on that relationship – and the things that can interfere, including depression, family violence and a parent’s own history of trauma.Click here to view Changing Course: Intervention.

The Long Reach of Childhood Trauma - CT Mirror Series

The CT Mirror is featuring a series of reports on childhood trauma, adversity and health. A growing body of research is links between childhood abuse and neglect, and a wide range of mental and physical illnesses.A key way to target adult diseases, reduce health care costs and address a host of problems throughout life is to start early, focusing not on symptoms of illness but childhood adversity and the factors that can protect against its effects. That includes identifying and treating trauma early, to stem deeper problems from developing.Click here to view the first of the four-part series.

PQRS Data Submission Process

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently hosted a Medicare Learning Network (MLN) National Provider Call on PQRS data submission.The call covered a number of important topics, including: Submission Information Qualified Registry Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) Electronic Health Record (EHR)-based Reporting Accountable Care Organization (ACO) and PQRS Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO) Web Interface Maintenance of Certification Program (MOCP) Resources & Who to Call for HelpThe complete presentation is available here as a PDF: 2014 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Submission ProcessLinks will be provided for the audio and written transcripts as soon as they are available.