Latest “What Have We Done for You Lately?” Letters
September 6, 2013
Dear SDCMS Member Physician:
Periodically, we want to let you know what your SDCMS-CMA membership has allowed us to do for you lately. Following is a summary of how we’ve created value for you since our last letter.
MICRA ASSAULT — OUR EXISTENTIAL CRISIS
- Your malpractice rates are the envy of the other 49 states because over decades we’ve successfully spent your dues and CALPAC dollars ensuring MICRA’s safety in California’s Legislature and defendng MICRA in state and federal courts.
- Since we stymied the trial lawyers in the legislative and judicial branches, they’ve shifted to the ballot box, submitting initiative language to the Attorney General — the first step in a long and expensive process to qualify a ballot measure for November 2014.
- The initiative’s most pernicious provision would increase the cap on speculative, non-economic damages from the current $250,000 to more than $1.25 million, with automatic annual increases.
- There are multiple other onerous provisions, including invasive physician drug testing, but — make no mistake — the main purpose is to change MICRA to make it easier for lawyers to file lawsuits against doctors, hospitals, community clinics, and other healthcare providers, thereby generating big paydays for trial lawyers.
- It matters not whether you’re an academic physician, whether you practice in a large group, whether you’re a community clinic doctor, or whether you’re in solo practice, if this initiative passes, the immediate impact on you, your practice, and your patients will be dramatic and severe.
- We will ask every member to contribute above and beyond their dues in order to ensure a win at the ballot box in 2014.
- For your nonmember colleagues, you need to ensure they join SDCMS-CMA and contribute — just like you. There are no free passes for nonmembers — this is an existential crisis for every doctor in California.
- CMA federal advocacy was directly responsible for the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s unanimously approving HR 2810 to repeal/replace the Medicare SGR, including a "California GPCI Fix" that corrects the longstanding Medicare underpayment travesty for San Diego while holding rural physicians harmless. This is a huge step in the right direction!
- CMA negotiated substantial positive changes to fund and upgrade the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES).
- We killed dramatic scope-of-practice expansions by pharmacists, optometrists, and nurse practitioners — a trifecta of big wins for patient safety.
- CMA created SB 191 — now on the governor’s desk — to provide $50 million annually to the Maddy fund, which is used to offset the costs incurred for care provided to uninsured patients in hospital ERs.
- CMA and SDCMS are deeply involved in molding the California Health Insurance Exchange (Covered California) so that it does not become (in 2014) the monopoly that depresses all reimbursements to Medi-Cal rates.
- SDCMS is integral in establishing a self-sustaining San Diego-wide Health Information Exchange.
- SDCMS’ Emergency Medicine Oversight Commission led a campaign against overprescribing of pain medicines.
- SDCMS’ GERM Commission has been proactively following the meningococcal outbreak this past year in San Diego and is discussing steps to prepare for the possibility of the arrival in San Diego of the H7N9 flu virus.
- Our SDCMS Foundation will be coordinating a countywide effort to increase adult flu immunization in community settings.
- Your SDCMS Physician Advocate provided "concierge care" to members, resolving approximately 200 problem tickets. Here are just two examples of how we've helped our members.
- A member psychiatrist had a problem with an authorization denial from Blue Cross after the patient was seen, which resulted in the patient's being stuck paying the bill. The denial was overturned, saving the patient over $30,000.
- We were able to stop a member cardiologist from losing her Medi-Cal incentive monies due to missing paperwork during her application process.
- SDCMS and CMA have created resources to help with the September 16 Medicare Part B transition from Palmetto to Noridian.
- Members get free classified ads on our website and in San Diego Physician magazine.
- More than 600 SDCMS physicians saved nearly $370,000 with The Doctors Company (TDC), SDCMS' endorsed professional liability carrier. TDC offers SDCMS members a 5 percent discount on professional liability insurance.
- Are you using SDCMS's e-forum for office managers and practice administrators? Email KLewis@SDCMS.org to join.
- Over 120 physicians attended a CURES sign-up event at SDCMS, with a CURES representative onsite, a significant savings in time and money for physicians.
- Since our last letter, we have offered 28 seminars and webinars with 300+ physicians and office staff attending. Our most in-demand seminar topics for 2013 have been "Medicare 2013 and Beyond," "OSHA Updates," and "ICD-10 Transition."
- SDCMS members enjoy:
- 30 percent savings on medical waste management services.
- Discounted disability insurance, with exceptional discounts for female members of SDCMS.
- Major discounts on website packages.
- Free annual physician mailing list, car insurance discounts, and free California Emergency Driving Emblem.
- Resources to help physicians transition to the new HIPAA 5010 Transaction Standards.
- Savings on accounting services, security prescriptions pads, billing solutions, IT support, computer hardware, contract negotiations services, practice management consulting, banking, legal services, and collections.
COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING
- SDCMS communicated with San Diego’s citizens and decision-makers via op-eds in the U-T San Diego:
- In June 2013 we presented the case for not inappropriately expanding nonphysician scope of practice with "Doctors Should Take Lead on Patient Care."
- In January 2013 we made the case for not cutting preposterously low Medi-Cal rates with "Medi-Cal Rate Cuts Hurt Healthcare, Access."
- San Diego County’s media outlets routinely turned to SDCMS for comment on the ACA Medicaid expansion access problem, CMA’s Medi-Cal lawsuit, obesity in San Diego County, testing doctors for narcotics, NPs and PAs practicing independently, long ambulance response times, and so much more.
- We sent out 16 issues of our biweekly, commercial-free e-newsletter, "News You Can Use" (NYCU). If you’re not getting NYCU, send an email to Gehring@SDCMS.org, and we’ll sign you up.
- You can follow the latest healthcare news and updates from SDCMS on Twitter (http://twitter.com/SDCMS).
- We continue to offer media training, advocacy training, and leadership training for member physicians and their staffs.
- SDCMS spoke at six general staff meetings and medical executive committees — can we speak to yours?
- After almost a year of preparation, this summer we simultaneously migrated our in-house membership database to CMA’s association management system and launched our new website (which seamlessly integrates with the new database). You can log on to update your profile for our soon-to-publish pictorial membership directory, sign up for our seminars, webinars, and workshops, access our SDCMS practice management FAQ database, get the latest news from SDCMS and the web, stay abreast of upcoming practice management deadlines, and more! Email Membership@SDCMS.org for assistance in logging on.
SDCMS & CMA FOUNDATIONS
- Volunteer physicians, through the SDCMS Foundation, have averaged $100,000/month in pro bono care to increase access to specialty care for an average of 45 patients each month, resulting in $6.9 million in contributed pro bono care since late 2008.
- The SDCMS Foundation has assisted 286 private practice primary care physicians to adopt electronic health records, and 158 have received their CMS incentive payments to date.
- Beginning in October, SDCMS and the SDCMS Foundation will provide monthly educational meetings and webinars to physicians and office staff to explain the logistics of Covered California.
- On the state level, your CMA Foundation is working on obesity, the role of ethnic physicians, vaccinations, and multiple other public health issues.
- SDCMS continues to grow! Scripps Clinic has come aboard as a group, and UC San Diego has extended their agreement for an additional half decade. We are now the largest county medical society in California.
PREVIEWS OF COMING ATTRACTIONS
- ICD-10 transition orientation sessions on September 18 and 19.
- SDCMS’ bi-annual Workforce and Compensation Survey, as well as our annual Office Staff Salary Survey.
What are you doing that you’d like us to know about? What more do you need us to do on your behalf? Contact us directly. Our email addresses are President@SDCMS.org and Gehring@SDCMS.org respectively.
Finally, we ask for your help in telling your nonmember colleagues what SDCMS and CMA are accomplishing. Please encourage nonmember physicians to join at www.SDCMS.org so that we can fulfill our vision of "Physicians United for a Healthy San Diego."
Robert E. Peters, MD, PhD
SDCMS CEO / Executive Director
Past “What Have We Done for You Lately?” Letter