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SBC Dept. of Public Health Update on Oak Glen Outbreak

On Saturday, March 25, several campers at Oak Glen Christian Camp became ill with symptoms that included nausea and vomiting. Forty-one people were reported ill and 14 people were transported to local hospitals. The camp has been temporarily closed and is being inspected by the Division of Environmental Health Services. DEHS is working closely with the Public Health Communicable Disease Section in this investigation. The cause of the illnesses has not yet been determined. Any updates regarding this incident will be announced in future news releases and social media postings. Please refer ...

CDPH publishes new Zika resources for physicians

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has published new and revised Zika virus resources for physicians on its website. The evolving Zika virus outbreak and science have presented challenges for providers who are asked to educate, counsel, screen, monitor and manage patients with Zika virus exposure. “We hope these resources will aid health care providers in meeting the needs of California’s families,” the agency said. These materials can be accessed through the CDPH Zika webpage. The new resources include: 1) CDPH Zika Screening Algorithm; 2) CDPH Zika Virus Information for Healthcare ...

CMS awards $100 million to help small practices succeed

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded $20 million to 11 organizations for the first year of a five-year project to provide on-the-ground training and education about the Quality Payment Program, established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), for clinicians in individual or small group practices. CMS intends to invest up to an additional $80 million over the remaining four years. Among the awardees are three California organizations: IPRO in San Francisco, Health Services Advisory Group in Glendale and Burlingame, and Qualis ...

Physicians targeted by identity theft tax scam

The California Medical Association (CMA) has received reports from physicians that fraudulent federal income tax returns have been filed using physician names, addresses and social security numbers. In many cases the fraudulent tax return includes the name of an unknown person listed as the physician's spouse. Sometimes, this other name is a prior patient of the physician. Affected physicians are likely to learn of the scam by receiving a 5071C letter from the IRS alerting them of possible fraud. Physicians may also have received a rejection notification when attempting to ...

California grapples with 'severe' doctor shortage, study shows

California doesn't have enough doctors to handle its primary health care demands and the problem is getting worse. A new study by UCSF Healthforce Center finds that California doesn’t have enough primary care physicians in most regions of the state. According to the study, the shortage is becoming more acute because of an aging physician workforce, a growing patient population and expanded coverage through the Affordable Care Act. According to the study, only two regions of California (the Greater Bay Area and Sacramento) have ratios of primary care physicians per ...

Dr. Abraham Verghese to speak at Western Health Care Leadership Academy

With a dramatic shake-up happening in Washington, D.C., the Western Health Care Leadership Academy is the right place and time for physician leaders who want to stay on top of policy and political changes to shape the future of health care. Register today and join us in San Diego for the West Coast's premier health care leadership conference! Featuring Abraham Verghese, M.D. We are pleased to announce our featured speaker Abraham Verghese, M.D., MACP, physician, professor at Stanford School of Medicine and best-selling author of "Cutting for Stone." Modern medicine is ...

DHCS extends reporting deadline for 2016 Medi-Cal meaningful use

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has announced that it will extend the deadline for Medi-Cal meaningful use reporting for the 2016 program year. The deadline has been pushed back one month to May 2, 2017. After that date, DHCS will only accept 2017 attestations. The Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program provides funding to Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) providers and hospitals to adopt, implement, upgrade and make meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Eligible providers should be aware that 2016 is the last year that eligible ...

Bills introduced to stop IPAB

California Congressman and physician Raul Ruiz, M.D., (D-Palm Springs) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) recently introduced bills that that would prevent the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) from moving forward. IPAB was to be a 15-member federal agency with the task of achieving specified savings in Medicare without affecting coverage or quality. It was established by the Affordable Care Act and up until now has not been implemented. The board was charged with making recommendations to reduce per capita spending growth in Medicare if spending ...

Meaningful use reporting deadline pushed back two weeks to March 13

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Monday announced that physicians would have two additional weeks to register and attest to meaningful use for 2016 and avoid the 2018 penalty. Physicians now have until Monday, March 13, to attest for the 2016 reporting year. Two weeks ago, hospitals also received a similar reprieve. Physicians should note that CMS is only extending the attestation period, not the reporting period, so physicians must have concluded their reporting by December 31, 2016. Although the Medicare meaningful use program is being phased out ...

U.S. District Court blocks Anthem-Cigna merger

A federal judge has blocked the $48 billion mega-merger between Anthem and Cigna (U.S. v. Anthem Inc., 16-cv-1493). The ruling favored the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and 11 states, including California, who argued that the Anthem-Cigna merger would limit price competition and lower the quality of care that Americans receive. “The California Medical Association (CMA) has opposed the Anthem-Cigna mega-merger since day one because it would hurt patients and increase health care costs,” said CMA President Ruth E. Haskins, M.D. “Limiting market competition would compel insurers to contract ...