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"News You Can Use" <> October 23, 2013



Executive Director Comment: This survey is critically important — please participate! Members & Nonmembers: Click Here to Complete SDCMS’s 2013 San Diego County Physician Workforce and Compensation Survey — 5 Minutes Tops!

SDCMS-CMA Membership $50 Earlybird Discount Expires October 31: Click Here

Top Doctors Black-tie Gala on November 9: Click Here for Tickets: Executive Director Comment: Great party, great people!

Last Call for the SDCMS “How to Be a Leader” Seminar on Nov. 2 & 3: Email me at Gehring@SDCMS.org if interested.

Executive Director Comment: Please Check out the CMA-SDCMS Track Record on Legislation — Click Here: 9 of 9 CMA-opposed bills in California killed or modified to acceptability. 4 of 6 CMA-sponsored bills signed into law. If you are not a member, ask yourself what would have happened without SDCMS-CMA, and then CLICK HERE TO JOIN. If you are a member, thanks for paying the dues that make it happen.

Executive Director Comment: The MICRA Fight Is On: Expect the initiative to eviscerate MICRA to be rolled out for signature gathering within the next 14 days! Thank you to the following hospitals for contributing toward its defense:

  • Alvarado: $10,000
  • Grossmont: $33,000
  • Paradise Valley: $10,000
  • Rady Children’s: $33,000
  • San Diego Imaging: $12,000
  • San Diego Pathologists Medical Group: $10,000
  • Scripps Chula Vista: $33,000
  • Scripps Encinitas: $10,000
  • Scripps Memorial: $33,000
  • Sharp Chula Vista: $10,000
  • Sharp Coronado: $20,000
  • Sharp Memorial: $33,000
  • Tri-City: $5,000

The California Hospital Association matches hospital medical staff contributions 2:1! In other words, medical staffs have raised $690,000, plus the $22,000 from San Diego Imaging and San Diego Pathologists Medical Group, or almost $712,000 for San Diego!

Member Physicians: “What Has Been Your Greatest Challenge as a Physician?” We Want to Know What You Think in One Sentence! SDCMS will be publishing in our November issue of San Diego Physician magazine your ONE-SENTENCE responses to this question: Please email your name and response (for publication) to Editor@SDCMS.org. Thank you!


Acute Hepatitis and Liver Failure Following the Use of a Dietary Supplement Intended for Weight Loss or Muscle Building: Notify the San Diego County Epidemiology Branch at (619) 692-8499 or by using a confidential morbidity report form. Click Here

Prescription Drug Take Back Day: Saturday, October 26, 2013, 10:00am-2:00pm. Click Here

San Diego Cases Identified in Multi-state, Multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg Outbreak: Click Here

Click Here for the First San Diego County Weekly Influenza Watch, 2013–14


Executive Director Comment: Please Check out the CMA-SDCMS Track Record on Legislation Below: 9 of 9 CMA-opposed bills in California killed or modified to acceptability. 4 of 6 CMA-sponsored bills signed into law. If you are not a member, ask yourself what would have happened without SDCMS-CMA, and then CLICK HERE TO JOIN. If you are a member, thanks for paying the dues that make it happen.

CMA Legislative Wrap-up:

  • In a major CMA victory in the Legislature, no bills were even submitted to repeal MICRA. The trial lawyers are now attempting to qualify a measure for the November 2014 ballot. We will be successful in this fight, but victory will not come overnight, and we will need every physician to enter the fray.
  • After failing to reverse the 10% Medi-Cal physician reimbursement cut with CMA-sponsored legislation — SB 640 and AB 880 — introduced in both houses in 2013, CMA filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 20 to block the cut.
  • By sponsoring SB 21, which the governor signed, CMA successfully secured an annual $15 million appropriation to fully fund the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine, the first new four-year medical school established in California in over 40 years.
  • AB 565 and AB 1288, sponsored by CMA and signed into law, will fund physicians (through med school loan repayment) to locate their practices in underserved regions of the state, a long-term solution to California’s physician distribution issues — as opposed to expanding allied health professional scope of practice.
  • SB 191, co-sponsored by CMA and signed into law, extends the current January 1, 2014, sunset date for ER funding a.k.a. Maddy Funds, to January 1, 2017, raising $50 million to augment local county EMS funds to allow counties, hospitals, and physicians to continue providing emergency services in their communities.
  • Without expanding or modifying physical therapists’ scope of practice, AB 1000, co-sponsored by CMA and signed by into law, clarifies an existing ambiguity in the law so that physical therapists can continue to work within the legal boundaries of medical corporations as they have for decades.
  • CMA killed SB 117, which would have endangered patient safety by allowing for the treatment of cancer patients with methods that have not been scientifically proven.
  • CMA killed SB 266, which would have placed the onus on medical groups to inform patients whether individual providers within the group are outside the patient’s network — a health plan responsibility, not a medical group’s.
  • CMA killed SB 312, which would have placed school district governing boards squarely in the middle of the physician-patient relationship.
  • CMA killed SB 430, which would have put determination of standard of care into the hands of legislators.
  • CMA killed SB 491, an attempt by nurse practitioners to gain a plenary license to practice medicine independently in California.
  • CMA killed SB 492, an attempt by optometrists to practice ophthalmology, specifically to treat and diagnose disease, prescribe and administer drugs, perform surgical procedures, order laboratory and diagnostic tests, and more.
  • CMA killed AB 591, which would have created a slippery slope of “what specialty physician would be required to be on-call next in every general acute care hospital with an emergency department? Pediatricians? Ophthalmologists?” etc.
  • CMA helped kill AB 975, which would have made it extremely difficult for hospitals to be classifieds as nonprofit. (A big issue for hospital chiefs of staff.)
  • CMA-supported SB 352, which was signed by the governor, will prohibits nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, and physician assistants from authorizing medical assistants to perform any clinical laboratory test or examination for which they are not authorized.
  • CMA-supported SB 494, which was signed by the governor, amends statute to include physician assistants (PAs) — while maintaining that PAs must operate under the supervision of a physician as primary care providers and increases the number of enrollees assigned to PAs in Medi-Cal managed care plans.
  • CMA soundly defeated a proposal to expand the MBC’s authority to limit a physician’s prescribing authority with a lower standard of evidence.
  • With CMA-supported-and-signed into law SB 809, CMA secured ongoing funding for and upgrades to the CURES database, California’s prescription monitoring program, as well as a streamlined CURES application process, a reduced fee impact on physicians, no mandated physician participation, and more.
  • CMA-supported-and-signed into law AB 154 expands access to abortion by medication or aspiration techniques in the first trimester of pregnancy while ensuring patient safety and physician supervision.
  • CMA-supported (after amendment) AB 361 (signed by the governor) authorizes the DMHC to create a health home program for enrollees with chronic conditions, as authorized under federal law.
  • CMA significantly narrowed a pharmacists’ proposal (SB 493), ensuring that pharmacists, can provide reasonable services in an integrated and safe manner that promoted collaboration with physicians.
  • In addition to defeating an effort to shift the investigative authority from the MBC to the DOJ (in SB 304), CMA ensured issues raised (expert witness, 820 evaluations) were addressed in its favor.

Courts Rule in CMA’s Favor: On October 15, the California Court of Appeal agreed with CMA’s position and held in Regents of the University of California v. Superior County of Los Angeles County (Platter) that a private cause of action for statutory damages based on negligent storage or maintenance of confidential medical information requires pleading and proof that the plaintiff’s confidential information was released to a third party. Click Here for Details

The Medical Board of California (MBC) Is Currently Transitioning to a New Database — Online License Renewals Affected! The MBC sends out renewal applications by U.S. mail to the physician’s address of record approximately 90 days prior to the license expiration date. At this time, if you need to renew your license, the online renewal option will not be available during the month of October 2013. Online renewals are usually processed within 48–72 hours, but, because this option is down, the MBC is recommending that renewals be mailed in. Depending on when the renewal paperwork is received, it will typically take 7 to 8 weeks to process. Click here for the FAQ section of the MBC website regarding license renewals. SDCMS Members: If you have any questions, please contact your SDCMS physician advocate, Marisol Gonzalez, at MGonzalez@SDCMS.org or at (858) 300-2783.

DHCS Webinars on What Physicians Need to Know About the Coordinated Care Initiative:

SDCMS Physician Elected Speaker of the CMA House of Delegates: Theodore M. Mazer, MD, was elected speaker by the CMA House of Delegates at its annual meeting in October in Anaheim. Dr. Mazer, a board-certified otolaryngologist, SDCMS-CMA member since 1989, and past SDCMS president, runs a small, solo practice. He served on the CMA Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2010 and has chaired various committees, including those focusing on medical services and access to specialty care. Dr. Mazer had served as vice speaker of the CMA House of Delegates since 2011. Congratulations, Dr. Mazer!

Richard Thorp, MD, Installed as 146th President of CMA: Click Here


How Do Doctors View the Future of Healthcare? Find out in this short, animated video from The Doctors Company.

Physicians Who Do Not Successfully Participate in the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) This Year Will Be Subject to PQRS Payment Penalties Starting in 2015: Click Here


Ask Your SDCMS Physician Advocate, Marisol Gonzalez!

  • Member Question: I have a new practice in San Diego County, and I submitted my enrollment paperwork for Medicare and Medi-Cal, and I’m still waiting for approval. I’m worried that I will not be able to attest for the Medi-Cal primary care physician rate increase. Is there a deadline for completing the attestation process in order to receive retroactive payment back to January 1, 2013? Click Here for the Answer
  • Answer: While CMS allowed states to limit retroactive payments to the beginning of the month or quarter in which the attestation is submitted, DHCS has advised CMA that it will not be implementing any restrictions. DHCS has confirmed that physicians who complete the attestation process by December 31, 2014, will still be eligible for retroactive payment dating back to January 1, 2013. DHCS further confirmed that this also applies to Medi-Cal managed care plans as well. Contact Marisol at (858) 300-2783 or at MGonzalez@SDCMS.org

Understand Covered California in Order to Better Assist Your Patients With Their Options! SDCMS and the SDCMS Foundation are here to help physicians and office staff better understand Covered California so that you can better assist your patients with their options. Watch for information on a seminar and webinar to be offered on Wednesday, November 20, from 11:30am to 1:00pm.

Risk Management Tip: Avoid Missed or Delayed Diagnosis by Being Aware of Risks for BRCA-based Breast Cancer

October 2013 Issue of CMA’s Regulations Quick List: Click Here (Please Note: If this will be your first visit to CMA’s new website, you will need to create a free web account to download this file.) 

Follow SDCMS’ Twitter Feed and Get a Treasure Trove of Healthcare News Delivered Daily to Your Smartphone: Click Here

Is Your Office Manager / Practice Administrator Using SDCMS’ Online Forum? Click Here to Join


Nominate Your Office Manager for SDCMS' 5th Annual "Outstanding Medical Office Manager" Contest Today! SDCMS member physicians can nominate their office manager by explaining in writing (up to 600 words) why their office manager is the best in San Diego County. Send nominations (and questions) to Kyle Lewis at SDCMS at KLewis@SDCMS.org. Nominations deadline is November 1, 2013.

“When we are out of sympathy with the young, then I think our work in this world is over.” — George Macdonald, Scottish Author (1824–1905)

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