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CMA working to fix security prescription legislation

The California Medical Association (CMA) has heard from dozens of physicians and patients across the state about prescriptions not being filled because the pads the prescriptions were written on were not compliant with a new state law. On January 1, 2019, a new California law took effect that requires all security prescription forms to have a uniquely serialized number. The legislation did not include any transition or grandfathering period to allow for continued use of old controlled substance security prescription forms on or after January 1. Unfortunately, with less than two ...

CMA membership reaches all time high of 44k

The collective voice of physicians just got a little louder. The California Medical Association (CMA) now has over 44,000 members, after a year of record-setting growth. In 2018, CMA’s active, dues paying membership grew by 6.3 percent, with a 92.2 percent retention rate. According to CMA Vice President of Membership and Marketing Mike Steenburgh, membership growth has been driven by the association’s group recruitment strategy, with several medium-sized groups signing membership agreements throughout the state this year.  “We say it all the time –Together we are stronger. When we speak with ...

Federal court halts expanded religious exemption from ACA contraceptive mandate

On January 7, 2019, the California Medical Association (CMA), along with other health care provider organizations, filed an amicus brief in support of the State of California in its challenge to federal rules that would expand a group health plan or health insurer's ability to claim a religious or moral objection to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive coverage mandate. On January 13, 2019, one day before the effective date, the federal court granted the state’s motion for a preliminary injunction, blocking the rules from going ...

CMA's online health law library is free to members

The California Medical Association (CMA) online health law library contains nearly 5,000 pages of up-to-date legal information on a variety of subjects of everyday importance to practicing physicians. One of CMA's most valuable member benefits, the searchable online library contains all the information available in the California Physician's Legal Handbook (CPLH), an annual publication from CMA's Center for Legal Affairs. CMA members can access the library documents free at cmadocs.org/health-law-library. Nonmembers can purchase documents for $2 per page. CPLH, the complete health law library, is also available for purchase in a ...

CMS hosting call for prescribers on new opioid policies on Feb. 14

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented new opioid policies for Medicare drug plans effective January 1, 2019. The new policies include safety alerts when patients fill opioid prescriptions and drug management programs for patients at-risk for misuse or abuse of opioids or other drugs.   CMS will be hosting a call on Thursday, February 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pacific time, to help physicians and other prescribers understand the new policies. During the call, CMS experts will discuss the new policies and answer questions. To ...

CMS completes issuance of new Medicare ID cards

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has now completed the process of mailing new Medicare cards to beneficiaries across all states and territories. The new Medicare ID cards, required under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), contain a unique, randomly assigned Medicare Beneficiary Identification (MBI) number, which replaces the previous Social Security-based number. CMS also reports that for the week ending January 11, 2019, fee-for-service health care providers submitted 58 percent of claims with the new MBIs.  CMS is allowing a 21-month transition period (which ...

UnitedHealthcare delays outpatient advanced radiology policy until February 1

Citing the need for additional time for communication and optimal rollout, UnitedHealthcare (UHC) has delayed implementation of its outpatient advanced radiology policy until February 1, 2019.  The new UHC policy—originally scheduled for implementation on Jan. 1—requires prior authorization for advanced imaging procedures, including certain magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance angiography and computed tomography imaging procedures, when performed in the outpatient hospital setting.  Under UHC’s Outpatient Radiology Notification/Prior Authorization Protocol, a site of care review will be required for these advanced imaging services when performed in the outpatient hospital. Site of care ...

Joint Statement Regarding Security Prescription Forms

As of January 1, 2019, California law requires prescription forms for controlled substances to be printed with a uniquely serialized number. Notices explaining the serial number format and reporting requirements have been released by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Additionally, notices to prescribers and pharmacists were issued by the California State Board of Pharmacy (Pharmacy Board), and by the Medical Board of California (Medical Board), yet questions remain about implementation. This joint statement by DOJ, the Pharmacy Board, and the Medical Board is therefore being issued to provide further ...

Newsom's first budget puts health care access, costs front and center

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Gavin Newsom released his first state budget proposal on Thursday, including a number of new goals and programs aimed at making health care more affordable and accessible to all Californians. The governor is following through on a key campaign promise by investing more than $1 billion in Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenue to increase access for Medi-Cal patients. That investment will help make it easier for low-income patients throughout California to see a physician and make Medi-Cal coverage more meaningful and effective for patients.  Much of Newsom’s health ...

Gov. Newsom signs executive order expanding health care access

Within hours of being sworn in as California’s 40th governor on Monday, Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will help control health care costs and expand access to care for millions of Californians. Gov. Newsom announced the creation of the nation’s first state-run purchasing program for prescription drugs to help bring down costs via bulk purchasing. He also announced his intention to expand Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented Californians up to age 26. (California current allows anyone under age 19 to receive Medi-Cal benefits, regardless of immigration status.) The governor also ...