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CSMS Recent Headlines

Efficiency and Reliability: CSMS/DrFirst Offer Mobile eRx and CPMRS Access

The Connecticut State Medical Society is pleased to highlight our partnership with DrFirst and to offer their iPrescribe mobile e-prescribing solution to CSMS members. DrFirst is the industry leader in medication management and is the trusted partner to over 350 EHRs. We partnered with DrFirst because their applications, like iPrescribe, consistently pass stringent audits and certifications with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to be compliant for both legend drugs and controlled substances. They have joined us in the fight against the opioid epidemic by assuring streamlined access to our state’s PDMP, Connecticut Prescription Monitoring and Reporting System (CPMRS), to improve …

CSMS Encourages Members to Weigh in on Draft MOC Recommendations

CSMS is encouraging our members to weigh in on the Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future Commission’s draft recommendations for continuing certification programs by 12 p.m. on Tuesday, January 15.The Vision Commission says that it “considered the input received from key stakeholders reflected in the more than 21 hours of testimony and results of the open stakeholder survey posted this past summer on its website.”Please share your comments with EVP/CEO Matthew Katz at Mkatz@csms.org. Your thoughts will be submitted to the Vision Commission, who will submit its final report to the Board of Directors of the American Board of …

Physician Fee Schedule for 2019 Includes Changes to Evaluation-and-Management Services

The 2019 Medicare physician fee schedule final rule included several changes when it comes to payment for evaluation-and-management (E/M) services.Physicians should make note about three things in next year’s fee schedule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS has postponed the E/M coding “collapse” for at least two years. CMS will postpone its proposal to collapse payment rates for four E/M office visit services into a single blended rate. The AMA advised CMS the proposal could create unintended consequences for specialties that treat the sickest patients and for physicians who provide comprehensive primary care.CMS also announced it …

KAMMCO Develops New Tool to Assist Healthcare Providers Combating Opioid Epidemic

Physicians, hospitals and behavioral health providers participating in the CTHealthLink health information exchange will appreciate access to a new analytic dashboard—Opioid/Controlled Substances. Developed by physicians in response to the widespread opioid crisis in this country, the new tool supplements the currently available Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).The tool builds upon a more comprehensive set of data than the PDMP, which only utilizes filled prescription data. The new dashboard provides participating clinicians with the list of opioids/controlled substances prescribed or administered to a clinician’s patients even before a prescription is filled at the pharmacy and even if the patient received prescriptions …

A Prescriber’s Guide to the New Medicare Part D Opioid Overutilization Policies for 2019

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a roadmap with details of their three-pronged approach to combating the opioid epidemic going forward: 1) prevention of new cases of opioid use disorder (OUD); 2) treatment of patients who have already become dependent on or addicted to opioids; and 3) utilization of data from across the country to better target prevention and treatment activities.CMS seeks to strengthen and broaden its partnership with providers to address the opioid crisis through their 2019 Medicare Part D opioid overutilization initiatives.Click here to download the Prescriber’s Guide to the New Medicare Part D Opioid …

CMS Updates Electronic Clinical Quality Measure (eCQM) Resources for the 2019 Performance Period for Eligible Clinicians and Eligible Professionals

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated the list of Electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQMs) that are fully specified and are available to be used for the 2019 performance period in the Quality Payment Program, which were finalized in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Final Rule.Updated list of eCQMs and supporting documents can be found on the eCQI Resource Center for the following programs: Quality Payment Program: The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (Advanced APMs) Advanced APM: Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program for Eligible Professionals(formerly known as …

Avoiding the 2020 MIPS Payment Adjustment – The Minimum You Need to Report for 2018

QPP Tip of the MonthThe “test” and “partial” participation options that were available for the CY 2017 MIPS participation period are no longer available for the CY 2018 MIPS participation period. To avoid the 2020 MIPS payment adjustment, based on 2018 MIPS participation, physicians will need a minimum of 15 points across all four MIPS categories – quality, improvement activities, promoting interoperability, and cost. Potential ways to achieve the minimum 15 points include: 100 percent score in improvement activities category – reporting medium/high weight activities to achieve a total of 40 points Achieving 18 points out of a total of …

HIEs Valuable During Times of Natural Disasters

It is heartbreaking to see the destruction caused by the current wild fires devastating California. We thank the brave fire fighters and medical professionals who are doing whatever they can to preserve life. Click here to learn more about how you can help.Healthcare demands rise dramatically when threatened with a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tornado, or wild fires. Significantly impacted are patient access to care, access to health data, and clinician workflows. Determining the best course of medical action requires secure access to patient records. For both the provider and the patient, the health information exchange (HIE) …

Just Released from CMS: Changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program

CSMS will review/examine these changes and report back to our members. Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized bold proposals that address provider burnout and provide clinicians immediate relief from excessive paperwork tied to outdated billing practices. The final 2019 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and the Quality Payment Program (QPP) rule released today also modernizes Medicare payment policies to promote access to virtual care, saving Medicare beneficiaries time and money while improving their access to high-quality services, no matter where they live. It makes changes to ease health information exchange through improved interoperability and updates QPP measures …

Physician I.T. Leaders Say Recent Improvements to Medication Management in Hospitals Make Patients Safer - A DrFirst Article

Nearly 100% of chief medical information officers (CMIOs) in US hospitals believe medication management improvement initiatives are having a positive impact and that patient safety issues are less likely to occur today, as compared to five years ago, according to a new survey from the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS). The survey of physician leaders, sponsored by DrFirst, also revealed that CMIOs believe there is more work to be done to address gaps that could potentially impact patient safety.Among the top patient safety gaps identified by CMIOs is the “inability to prevent financial constraints” from impacting patients’ …

CSMS Significantly Contributes to Response to CMS Regarding Anti-Kickback Law

The Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI), of which CSMS is a part of, recently sent a letter in response to CMS' request for information on the need for modernization of "anti-kickback" laws. CSMS contributed significantly to the development of this letter and it is consistent with our previous comments to CMS regarding CMMI, APMs, stark and self-referral statutes and initiatives.Three high-level recommendations are included in the letter: Establish clear exceptions to the Statute and CMP restrictions for payment models and demonstrations and other arrangements that promote physician-led initiatives to value-based care. Allow for physicians to align with other high-quality providers (clinical …

Candidates Share Thoughts on Healthcare with CSMS Members

CSMS is committed to being your voice at the state Capitol and in Washington DC. Throughout this election year cycle, our dedicated team has reached out to those running for office to make sure that they know about the struggles and frustrations of our physician members. We are pleased to share highlights with you now and encourage you to vote on November 6th in support of the candidates who support the practice of medicine and quality health care. The candidates running for Congress, Governor and Attorney General were invited to share a statement with CSMS members regarding healthcare and the …

CSMS Opposition of CVS/Aetna Merger: Update

October 4, 2018CSMS voiced opposition to the proposed CVS Aetna merger at a CT Insurance Department (CID) public hearing. We have submitted testimony (available here) that challenges the merger on anti-trust grounds. A special thank you the American Medical Association (AMA) for their tremendous amount of support and assistance throughout this process and for providing additional testimony at this hearing. We will keep you informed of further developments. UPDATE: 10/11/18Department of Justice preliminary approved the merger of CVS and Aetna. CSMS and the AMA's oppositions were sited in a Think Advisor publication. Read the article here. UPDATE: 10/18/18The Connecticut Insurance Department has …

QPP Roundup: October 2018

PAI's QPP Tip of the Month: 2019 Virtual Group Election Process Now OpenFor the 2019 participation year, physicians and other eligible clinicians (ECs) have the opportunity to participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) as part of a virtual group. Virtual Groups are a combination of two or more tax identification numbers (TINs) made up of solo practitioners or groups of 10 or fewer ECs who come together "virtually" (regardless of specialty or location). All ECs part of the Virtual Group receive the same aggregated MIPS score and corresponding payment adjustment across the Virtual Group.Virtual Group elections must be …

NOW RECRUITING: THE PHYSICIAN LEADERSHIP ACADEMY at UCONN HEALTH

Presented by: Connecticut State Medical Society, The Physician Health Foundation, and the University of Connecticut Health Center, School of MedicineThe Physician Leadership Academy provides physicians with a comprehensive skill set, enhancing your ability to influence practice and policy development on a state and national level, as well as influence change within your healthcare organization.The Physician Leadership Academy is open to all young physicians as defined by the American Medical Association (40 years of age and younger or less than 8 years of practice post residency). It is free of charge to CSMS members. Sessions are held on Thursdays (November 15, …

The 2019 CMS QRDA III Implementation Guide

Plus: Schematron, and Sample Files Are Now AvailableThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published the 2019 CMS Quality Reporting Document Architecture (QRDA) Category III Implementation Guide (IG), Schematron, and Sample files. The 2019 CMS QRDA III IG will help eligible clinicians and eligible professionals report electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs), improvement activities, and/or promoting interoperability measures for the calendar year 2019 performance period.The IG provides technical instructions for QRDA III reporting for the following programs: Quality Payment Program: Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) Promoting Interoperability (PI)The …

Connecticut State Medical Society, CTHealthLink, and the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy Announce Collaboration

(October 2, 2018) North Haven, CT- Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS) and CTHealthLink are pleased to announce a collaboration with the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy (OHS) to improve patient care through the interoperability and connectivity of health information in Connecticut.Connecticut Health Information Technology Officer Allan Hackney said, “CTHealthLink will provide a major connection to potentially thousands of physicians across the state; it’s an important part of our work to launch the state of Connecticut’s first statewide HIE linking doctors, hospitals, nursing facilities, home healthcare professionals, and others to give them a platform to exchange clinical and diagnostic data in …

The Connecticut State Medical Society Announces 180th President, Claudia Gruss, MD

September 27, 2018 (North Haven, CT) – At the 226th Annual Meeting of the Connecticut State Medical Society Claudia Gruss, MD of Norwalk was inaugurated as the 180th President of the nation’s oldest medical societies.Claudia Gruss, MD is a Wilton-based gastroenterologist at the Western Connecticut Medical Group – Wilton Primary and Specialty Care who has been a champion for women physicians and organized medicine throughout her career. She was proceeded by Steven Thornquist, MD who concluded his successful one-year term as the medical society’s 179th President.At the ceremony Dr. Thornquist proclaimed that, “(Dr. Gruss) is an insightful, thoughtful, and sincere …

The Connecticut State Medical Society Presents 2018 Maloney Distinguished Service Award to Craig W. Czarsty, M.D., DABFM, FAAFP

September 27, 2018 (North Haven, CT) - The 2018 Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS) Paul K. Maloney, Jr., MD Distinguished Service Award was presented to past CSMS President, Craig W. Czarsty, MD, DABFM, FAAFP of Watertown. The award was presented to Dr. Czarsty by CSMS President Steven Thornquist, MD at the 226th Annual Meeting of CSMS on September 27, 2018.The CSMS Paul K. Maloney, Jr., MD Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor that can be awarded a member. It was established to honor the life and work of Dr. Maloney, an eminent physician known for his exemplary service, active …

2018 Connecticut Medicine Healthcare Leader and Innovator Award Presented to Joseph Feuerstein, MD

September 27, 2018 (North Haven, CT) – The 2018 Connecticut Medicine Healthcare Leader and Innovator Award (HLI) was presented to Joseph Feuerstein, MD of Weston. The award was presented Connecticut Medicine Editor Michael Deren, MD at the 226th Annual Meeting of the Connecticut State Medical Society on September 27, 2018.The Connecticut Medicine HLI Award is presented to a physician at any stage of practice who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to leadership and innovation at a time of significant changes in the practice of medicine.Dr. Feuerstein upbeat, proactive approach to patient care has inspired young physicians and residents, as well as, …