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Press - Package of bills to increase number of physicians in rural, underserved areas signed by Governor Brown

Sacramento – Two bills that would put more physicians in rural and underserved parts of California were signed by Governor Jerry Brown. SB 21 and AB 1288 were both sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA).   The 2013-14 state budget included a $15 million annual appropriation to fully fund the University of California Riverside School of Medicine (UCR SOM). The Inland Empire, including Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, is experiencing the lowest supply of physicians per capital than any other region of the state. Allocating a continuous funding source for ...

Legislature passes CURES bill

The California Assembly has unanimously passed a bill (SB 809) that will provide $9 million annually to upgrade and maintain the Controlled Substances and Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES). CURES is an online database that allows authorized users, including physicians, pharmacists, law enforcement and regulatory boards, to access information about a patient’s controlled substance prescription history. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.   The California Medical Association (CMA) changed its position on the bill from neutral to support after negotiating significant amendments to the bill that will make ...

Governor signs CMA-sponsored bill to expedite physician licensure for practice in underserved areas

Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill (AB 1288) sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA) that requires priority review status be given to the license applications of physicians who can demonstrate that they intend to practice in a medically-underserved area or serve a medically-underserved population.   With California facing an uneven disbursement of physicians, increasing the physician pipeline to those areas to ensure delivery of safe, quality medical care will be crucial to the health of those communities.   “We need more physicians in rural and underserved areas of California,” said Paul ...

Trial attorneys re-file anti-MICRA ballot initiative

On August 30, the trial attorneys re-filed their proposed anti-MICRA ballot initiative with the Attorney General’s Office, a political maneuver that will buy them more time as they attempt to navigate around the organized opposition to the proposal. The revised initiative was filed only hours before the start of the long Labor Day weekend, an obvious attempt at keeping their proposal off the public’s radar as best they could.   Despite the revisions, the central focus of this proposed initiative remains to be to more than quadruple California's current $250,000 cap ...

CMA opposes bill that lowers standard of proof for physician discipline

California legislators are currently considering a bill, SB 670 (Steinberg), that would increase the likelihood that limitations will be erroneously placed on a physician’s ability to practice. SB 670 allows the Medical Board of California to use a significantly lower standard of proof – "probable cause" instead of the more reliable "clear and convincing evidence" – to determine if a physician's prescribing of controlled substance is a danger to patients and the public. This reduces the level of evidence needed to justify placing a serious limitation on the physician’s ...

Medicare transition to Noridian is just a week away!

We are just one week away from the September 16 cutover date from Palmetto to the new Medicare Part B fee-for-service contractor, Noridian. Although efforts have been made to minimize the burden to practices and to ensure that physicians continue to receive their Medicare payments in a timely fashion after the transition, there are a number of things physicians should be aware of, including: Last day to submit to Palmetto: September 11, 2013 is the last day providers may submit electronic claims to Palmetto (2:00 p.m. cutoff time), and the ...

Why Attend IMQ's "Stepping Up to Leadership" Program

The Institute for Medical Quality and the PACE Program at UC San Diego are proud to announce an unparalleled opportunity for medical staff leaders. The Stepping Up to Leadership program trains medical staff leaders in issues of communication, problem-solving, and improving outcomes for patients and staff—and it’s more accessible than ever. The Stepping Up to Leadership conference will take place on November 7-9, 2013; March 6-8, 2014; and May 8-10, 2014. So why should your medical staff attend the Stepping Up to Leadership conference? Stepping Up to Leadership helps physicians ...

Medicare transition is less than two weeks away

September 16, 2013, is the cutover date for transition of the Medicare Part B fee-for-service contractor from Palmetto GBA to Noridian. Although efforts have been made to minimize the burden to practices and to ensure that physicians continue to receive their Medicare payments in a timely fashion after the transition, physician practices will have to make some changes in their processes, including but not limited to the following: •Electronic claim submitters must change the contractor ID (payor ID) on their transmissions. The new ID for the Northern California jurisdiction is ...

Medicare transition is three weeks away

September 16, 2013, is the cutover date for transition of the Medicare Part B fee-for-service contractor from Palmetto GBA to Noridian. Although every effort has been made to minimize the burden to practices and to ensure that physicians continue to receive their Medicare payments in a timely fashion after the transition, physician practices will have to make some changes in their processes. Practices are encouraged to review the resources available to you to ensure you are aware of and prepared for the transition. Physician practices that submit their claims electronically, ...

MICRA: Haven't we all seen this before?

For nearly four decades California trial attorneys have been trying to rewrite the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). By now, you’ve likely heard the main narrative spun by the trial lawyer-backed Consumer Watchdog and other MICRA opponents – 38 years is too long for a law such as MICRA to exist without being updated in some fashion. Oddly enough, Consumer Watchdog and others are quick to leave out the fact that the only time MICRA was successfully altered, trial lawyers agreed to back off in exchange for a bigger piece ...