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"News You Can Use" <> March 16, 2015



CMA Wants Physicians’ Input on SB 128 — The End of Life Option Act: As has been widely reported in the media, legislation has been introduced in Sacramento that would legalize physician prescribing of lethal medications to terminally ill patients who request assistance ending their lives. If SB 128 (Wolk), The End of Life Option Act, is enacted into law, California would join five other states in allowing and regulating physician-assisted suicide / physician aid-in-dying (PAS / PAD). Click here to access the full text of the bill.

CMA has current, longstanding policy in opposition to PAS and has successfully helped defeat previous efforts to legalize it in the state legislature and through the ballot. However, recognizing that views on many social issues have shifted in the years since that policy was fully debated and adopted, and aware of data suggesting that opinions within the physician community itself may have changed, CMA's Council on Ethical Affairs and Council on Legislation are reassessing CMA policy and will make recommendations to the CMA Board of Trustees in April regarding reaffirmation or modification of CMA policy on PAS / PAD and CMA’s response to SB 128.

SDCMS-CMA members are invited to contribute your views to this discussion. We invite you to log on to the CMA House of Delegates (HOD) website to register your opinion. On the HOD homepage, click on the “Discussions” tab (right below the blue House of Delegates banner) to post your comments and view what your colleagues are saying. The CMA Board of Trustees will address this issue at its April 13 meeting.

As we transition into the new governance structure approved by the House last December (to become fully effective in 2016), your online testimony on this issue will serve to further familiarize you with the process to be implemented as resolutions are addressed in a year-round fashion by CMA councils, including receipt of online testimony in the manner of the virtual reference committees the House began phasing in two years ago. In view of the importance of this particular issue to the House in the past, your Speakers believe the Board will benefit from the opinions of the House as it debates any policy changes. We thank you in advance for your time and your input.


Theodore M. Mazer, MD
Speaker of the House

Lee T. Snook, Jr., MD
Vice Speaker of the House

Executive Director Note on SGR: On April 1 (no fooling) the one-year patch on the formula that determines the Medicare cost-of-living adjustments (aka, the SGR) expires. Absent action by Congress, this would result in approximately a 24% across-the-board cut to Medicare rates (and, obviously, cuts to any payer denominated as a multiple of Medicare rates). No one wants this to happen, and CMA is aggressively advocating for a permanent fix. But in today’s toxic environment, a permanent fix is a stretch, and brinkmanship is the norm. What to do? While the odds of a permanent 24% cut are near nil, the odds of a short (days) cut, with retroactive backfill, is real — so be prepared for short-term disruptions of Medicare cash flow. SDCMS, as always, will keep you informed of developments as they occur.



Question: We received an overpayment request from TRICARE for a patient we saw over three years ago. How far back can TRICARE go for these requests? Can I fight this? Click Here for the Answer



Recently Reported Cases of Ocular Syphilis on the West Coast: Click Here



Have You Been Reporting PQRS Data to Medicare? If not, you are currently being paid 1.5% less for all of your Part B covered professional services under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS). If you continue nonparticipation with the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), you will begin seeing payment adjustments increasing to 2.0% for 2016 and subsequent years. Here are the deadlines by reporting method:

Reporting Method: Certified EHR
Submission Period: 01/01/15–03/20/15
Submission Deadline Time: 8:00pm EASTERN

Reporting Method: Qualified Registry
Submission Period: 01/01/15–03/31/15
Submission Deadline Time: 8:00pm EASTERN

Don’t know where to begin? Click here for information on how to get started. If you have any further questions, contact the QualityNet Help Desk at (866) 288-8912 or at Qnetsupport@hcqis.org.

CMS to Conduct ICD-10 Claims Testing for Physicians in March and June: Click Here

Open Payments Database Available for Physician Review in April: Click Here

Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) Continuing to Require Physicians to Revalidate Their Medicare Enrollments: Revalidation notices have been sent out and will continue to be sent out until March 23, 2015. Click Here for Further Information



We Care for California Coalition Introduces Legislation to Increase Medi-Cal Rates to Medicare Levels: Click Here



June 6 Workshop on Financial & Legal Life Skills: Covering investing, insurance, real estate, taxes accounting, and much more. Saturday, June 6, 8am–12pm. For SDCMS members only. Email me at Gehring@SDCMS.org for information or to RSVP.

Is Your Office Working on ICD-10 Compliance? Click here to see a number of members-only resources, including CMA’s ICD-10 Transition Guide for Physicians. Be on the lookout as well for a two-day training through CMA in conjunction with the AAPC in late June. Details to follow shortly. October 1 is closer than you think!!!

SDCMS Members: Take Advantage of Discounted Services for Help With EHR Meaningful Use!

  • Physicians and practices challenged by the adoption and implementation of electronic health records, help is at hand! From selection through attestation for Meaningful Use Stages 1 & 2, the SDCMS Foundation can provide technical assistance to make you and your staff’s lives easier. The fee is $90 per hour for SDCMS members, $150 per hour for nonmembers. For more information, email Victor.Bloomberg@SDCMS.org.
  • Meaningful Use Pre-attestation audit services now available! SDCMS members can now obtain an inexpensive, pre-attestation audit for their Meaningful Use submissions to either Medicare or Medi-Cal. Members receive a $50 discount each for the low cost of $250! The audit will ensure that your reporting and documentation is complete and assist you in putting together an audit binder. Collectively, the services will ensure you are more likely to pass an audit — 10% of all eligible professionals are audited! For more information, call PrivaPlan at (877) 218-7707.

Click Here to Read the March 2015 CMA Practice Resources (CPR), Including:

  • DHCS Identifies Another Glitch in Issuing Primary Care Rate Increase for CHDP Claims: Click Here
  • DWC Implements Annual Changes to Workers' Compensation Physician Fee Schedule: Click Here
  • Anthem System Error Results in Missing Remittances: Click Here
  • Medi-Cal Deactivates Some Physicians in Error: Click Here
  • New Fee Reduction for Workers’ Compensation Independent Medical Review and Independent Bill Review Submissions: Click Here

Members: Click Here to Watch Previously Recorded SDCMS Seminars, Including:

  • HIPAA & EHRs: What Every Practice Must Know (2015.03.04)
  • Medicare Updates and Changes for 2015 (2015.01.29)
  • Covered California: What Your Healthcare Team Needs to Know (2014.11.13)
  • Payor Denials & Appeals: Effective Management and Best Outcomes (2014.10.09)
  • HIPAA Compliance Update (2014.09.25)
  • How to Handle Reportable Events, Such As Abuse, Loss of Consciousness, and the Impaired Provider (2014.09.11)

Email Membership@SDCMS.org for assistance in logging in.



It’s Free & It’s Fun — Mingle, Socialize, and Network With Your Fellow Physicians on Friday, April 24, 5:30pm–8:00pm Near Scripps Mercy: Complimentary hors d'ouvres and hosted wine and craft beer. Bring a nonmember — everyone welcome! Where: 57 Degrees, 1735 Hancock Street, San Diego 92101. Questions? Contact Jen Ohmstede at (858) 300-2781 or at JOhmstede@SDCMS.org. RSVPs required as space is limited — click here to RSVP. We hope to see you there!

Work-Life Balance Workshop on Saturday, May 2: Feeling burned out? Want to regain your love of medicine and excitement with life? Join your colleagues and Helane Fronek, MD, certified physician development coach, to take an honest look at your life, reacquaint yourself with what you find most meaningful, and then make the changes that will bring your life into greater balance. After the success of our fall 2014 workshop, we are offering it again on Saturday, May 2, from 9:00am to noon. Begin to see your life and your choices in it in a new light! Workshop limited to 12 physicians. Email Dr. Fronek at hsfronek@aol.com for details or to reserve your spot.

Can You Help Spread the Message of Health by Making a Brief Presentation in Your Community? The SDCMS Foundation is partnering with the County of San Diego to educate community members on how to improve their lives and take charge of their health by launching a Live Well Physicians’ Speakers Bureau. Contact Barbara.Mandel@SDCMS.org to say YES, you will volunteer just one or two times a year, quarterly, or however your schedule allows.



Enrollment Information / Deadlines: Open enrollment for private health coverage through Covered California in 2015 is now over. However, Medi-Cal enrollment is year-round. Additionally, individuals who experience a qualifying life event may be eligible to enroll in private coverage through Covered California by applying for special enrollment.

Physician Resources:


“Dimidium facti, qui coepit, habet; sapere aude, incipe.” “He who has begun is half done; dare to know, dare to begin!”
— Horace, Roman Lyric Poet (65–8 BCE)

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