Weekly Member Update - December 3rd, 2010

December 3rd, 2010

Dan Thought You Would Like to Know

ASSH Signs on to AMA Letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services

One Question

Pay for Call Survey

Thank You to AFSH Donors

Fiscal Commission's SGR Recommendations & IFSSH - From AMA

AMA Makes Recommendations to CMS for Physician-led, Patient-centered ACOs - From AMA

Red Flags Bill Passed by Senate - From AMA


Dan Thought You Would Like to Know

On November 29th, the House of Representatives approved legislation which provides a 31-day reprieve from the 23 percent Medicare physician payment cut that was scheduled to take effect on December 1st.  However, on January 1st, 2011, a 25% cut in Medicare reimbursement will be enacted - such a cut would impact our ability to provide quality care to our patients.  ASSH members are urged to advocate for a 13-month “patch” to delay this reduction. 

As part of the physician community, we need to call our Members of Congress to pass this “patch” and find a permanent solution to the flawed SGR formula.  To help move toward permanently repealing and fixing the Medicare physician payment formula, please call your representative:

  1. Find out who your representative is at www.house.gov.
  2. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to be connected to your representative’s office.

To call your Senator:

  1. Find out who your senator is at www.senate.gov
  2. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to be connected to your senator’s office.

Thank you for your help and attention to this important issue.


ASSH Signs on to AMA Letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services

There are many times when our President or Practice Division Director is asked to sign on to a letter advocating changes in healthcare policy in our nation’s capital.  Sister organizations such as the AMA, AAOS, ASPS and ACS work diligently to promote interests in the house of medicine.  The AMA is aggressively involved in advocacy efforts related to the most vital issues in medicine today. 

We recently agreed to sign onto two letters from the AMA to the Secretary of Health and Human Services,  Kathleen Sebelius.  The letters address the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announcement that it would base the e-prescribing penalties for 2012 and 2013 on a physician's activity during the first six months of 2011 and CMS's failure to make appropriate retroactive payment increases to physicians.  For this and other AMA topics in advocacy, visit the AMA website


One Question

Last week, we asked about your mobile web usage.  View the results of the poll.  This week, we want to know about your favorite personal and professional apps.  Answer this week's One Question.


Pay for Call Survey

Shortly after you receive this newsletter, all US members will be sent an important survey regarding Pay for Call.  Since this data is not currently available, we feel that having it will be very useful to ASSH members when negotiating call agreements.  We would greatly appreciate you completing this survey by December 10th.  The survey results will be posted on the ASSH website for your reference by the end of the year.  The ER Task Force appreciates your help on this project.


Thank You to AFSH Donors

Thank you to the following members for their generous contributions:

Edward Akelman, MD
Michael A. Baskies, MD
Robert L. Bass, MD
Jack Choueka, MD
Michael P. Coyle, Jr., MD
David G. Dennison, MD
Stephen C. Drukker, MD
Paul Feldon, MD
Michael S. Fitzsimmons, MD
Herbert S. Gates, III, MD
Richard H. Gelberman, MD
Paul W. Gorman, MD
John D. Hand, MD
Paul R. Manske, MD
Robert J. Medoff, MD
Vikram P. Mehta, MD, FACS
James L. Pertsch, MD
Stephen B. Schnall, MD
Roger L. Simpson, MD, MBA
William B. Strecker, MD
Stephanie Sweet, MD
Robert V. Sypher, Jr., MD
Robert M. Szabo, MD, MPH
Jane S. Tan, MD
Robert E. Van Demark, Jr., MD
Craig E. Weil, MD

Learn more about the AFSH.


Fiscal Commission's SGR Recommendations & IFSSH - From AMA

The following news release was sent by the AMA on Thursday, December 2nd, 2010:

On December 1, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released its revised and final report on recommendations to bring federal spending and the deficit under control.  Commission members have been meeting to review and discuss the recommendations, with plans to vote on the entire report on Friday, December 3.  If 14 of the Commission’s 18 members approve the final report, it will be sent to Congress where Democratic leaders have promised a vote.  While current projections are that the final report will fall short of the 14 votes required, certainly its recommendations for deficit reduction will provide a menu of options for the 112th Congress to consider when it convenes next year.
 
For several months, the AMA has engaged in discussions with Commission members and staff about the importance of addressing the shortfalls of Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula in the final report.  In fact, the report does recommend eliminating the SGR.  However, to offset the budgetary costs of SGR reform, and to rein in health care spending generally, the report includes a number of controversial provisions.  Some of these proposals, such as medical liability reform, will be supported by physicians.  Others recommendations, such as strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board and reducing Medicare financial support for graduate medical education, will not be supportable.
 
With respect to the SGR, the report recommends the following:

  • Freeze Medicare physician payments through 2013.
  • Implement a 1 percent payment reduction for physician services in 2014.
  • Implement comprehensive physician payment reforms to be developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2015.
  • If CMS is unable to meet the deadline for implementing a new payment system, reinstate the SGR in 2015, using 2014 spending as the base year.

While the report includes a number of proposals that the AMA does not support, it does make important contributions regarding the need to repeal the SGR and reduce costs by enacting medical liability reform.  The AMA does not support an extended freeze in Medicare payments and opposes any reductions in Medicare physician payments. The AMA looks forward to working with Democratic and Republican Members of Congress and the Obama Administration in the weeks and months ahead to providing a stable and sustainable framework for our health care system.


AMA Makes Recommendations to CMS for Physician-led, Patient-centered ACOs - From AMA

The AMA submitted its most detailed comments (PDF) to date to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on how Medicare should structure physician-led and patient-centered accountable care organizations (ACOs).  The recommendations were submitted yesterday, December 2, in response to a specific request from CMS for comments on how to ensure that solo and small group practices have the opportunity to actively participate in Medicare's ACO program.
 
Read about the AMA's recommendations to CMS on structuring physician-led ACOs.


Red Flags Bill Passed by Senate - From AMA

The following news release was sent by the AMA on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010:

On Monday, the Senate unanimously passed S. 3987, the “Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010,” legislation that limits the type of “creditor” that must comply with the Red Flags Rule.
 
The Red Flags Rule requires creditors to develop identity theft prevention and detection programs, and was originally scheduled to take effect on November 1, 2008.  According to the FTC, physicians who do not accept payment from their patients at the time of service are creditors and must comply with the Rule by developing and implementing written identity theft prevention and detection programs in their practices.
 
The AMA was the first to adamantly oppose the FTC’s broad application of the Rule to physicians.  As a result of continued discussions with FTC’s Chairman Jon Leibowitz and an aggressive advocacy campaign on the Hill, AMA efforts prompted the agency to delay the November 1, 2008 compliance deadline on multiple occasions up through December 31, 2010. 
 
On May 21, 2010, the AMA Litigation Center, along with the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and the Medical Society of the District of Columbia (MSDC) filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to block FTC enforcement of the Red Flags Rule on physicians.  On June 25, 2010, the FTC entered into a stipulation with the AMA agreeing not to enforce its Red Flags Rule until the D.C. Circuit Court issues a decision in the pending challenge brought by the American Bar Association (ABA) to block the FTC from applying the Red Flags Rule to attorneys.
 
To further clarify protection for physicians from misguided federal regulation, Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) spoke in support of the “Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010” and for the Congressional Record indicating that the purpose of this legislation is to clarify that doctors should no longer be classified as “creditors” for the purposes of the Red Flags Rule. 
 
Efforts are under way to secure House consideration and passage prior the adjournment of the 111th Congress.
 
The AMA will continue to provide updates on the pending “Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010” legislation and litigation.