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Free workshops on medical board's new Physician Health and Wellness Program

The California Public Protection & Physician Health Inc. (CPPPH) is offering a series of free informational workshops about the Medical Board of California’s new Physician Health and Wellness Program. The workshops will discuss: how the new program will work, when it will be available to physicians, and what role medical group and medical staff well-being committees will play. CPPPH, together with the California Society of Addiction Medicine and California Medical Association (CMA), are encouraging all wellbeing committees and medical staff leaders to attend one of these workshop sessions so they can ...

Call for nominations: California Delegation to the AMA

The California Medical Association (CMA) is seeking nominations for physicians to serve as at-large delegates and alternates to the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates. Current delegates who are eligible for reappointment must submit an application for the 2018 term. They will not be reappointed if a form is not submitted. We are seeking physicians who are active CMA members and able to serve as delegates or alternates twice a year during the annual (June) and interim (November) meetings of the AMA House of Delegates for a two-year term ...

Stopgap bill to fund federal government includes 6-year CHIP extension

Today, the U.S. Senate voted to end the federal shutdown and keep the government running temporarily for three weeks until February 8. This stopgap bill will give budget negotiators time to develop a final agreement on 2018 fiscal year spending. The House of Representatives is expected to adopt the Senate’s three-week stopgap bill.  The bill also includes a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – an important program that serves nearly 2 million children and pregnant women in California, and more than 9 million nationwide. The California ...

HHS issues "provider conscience" regulations

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it would form a new division within the HHS Office of Civil Rights to focus on provider conscience and religious freedom exemptions. Following this announcement, HHS released a proposed rule that would expand existing protections for physicians and other providers who object to performing certain health care procedures. The proposed rule covers a wide array of existing federal laws that provide conscience protections, including those related to abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide and the performance of advance directives.  The California ...

California Medical Association Endorses Eleni Kounalakis for California Lt. Governor

Today, the California Medical Association (CMA) endorsed Eleni Kounalakis’ 2018 bid to become California’s next Lieutenant Governor. “The California Medical Association is proud to support Eleni Kounalakis for Lieutenant Governor,” said CMA President Theodore M. Mazer, M.D. “Today’s political environment demands leaders focused on pragmatic solutions to improve quality access to health care, address our looming physician shortage crisis and champion public health initiatives. We believe Eleni has the passion, temperament and experience to best represent California’s citizens and interests.” “I am so honored to receive the endorsement of the California ...

CMS announces new voluntary bundled payment model

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a new voluntary bundled-payment model. Called the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Advanced Model, it will be considered an advanced alternative payment model (APM) under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). This new, voluntary model comes less than two months after the CMS eliminated two mandatory bundled-payment models created during the Obama administration. MACRA’s Quality Payment Program (QPP) created two tracks for physician payment – the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced APM track.  Under ...

DMHC orders 600,000 patients transferred from troubled medical group

The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued a cease-and-desist order on December 26, 2017, requiring nine health plans to terminate their contracts with Employee Health Systems (EHS) Medical Group Inc. This order comes after SynerMed—a company closely affiliated with EHS—was accused of blocking patient access to specialists to hold down costs. EHS has 600,000 patients statewide—90 percent of whom are Medi-Cal managed care patients. The health plans affected by this order must transfer all EHS patients to different health care providers by early February 2018. The plans were ...

FDA restricts use of cough and cold medicines with codeine or hydrocodone for kids

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said today that cough and cold medicines containing codeine and hydrocodone should not be prescribed to children and adolescents because of serious safety risks posed by the opioid ingredients. The FDA also announced that such products will now be required to carry "boxed warnings" – the FDA’s strongest warning – that highlight the risks misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose, death, and slowed or difficult breathing. According to the FDA, it is taking this action after an extensive review that determined the risks associated with ...

Save the date for the 2018 California Immunization Coalition Summit

The California Immunization Coalition (CIC) will be hosting its annual Summit April 16-17, 2018, at the Sawyer Hotel in Sacramento. The summit theme will be Onward and Upward and will focus on utilizing public health successes to engage with new partners, grow the coalition network, and educate and support local communities. The CIC is a non-profit, public-private partnership dedicated to achieving and maintaining full immunization protection for all Californians to promote health and prevent serious illness. For updates and registration, visit www.immunizeca.org/about/cic-summit.

It's not too late to get a flu shot

With widespread influenza activity in California, physicians are encouraged to remind patients that it’s not too late to get their flu shot. Although influenza season usually peaks between December and February, flu activity can occur as late as May. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to respond fully. Vaccine effectiveness does vary for the different strains and year by year. Vaccination will still prevent infection in a large number of cases. If disease does occur after vaccination, the vaccine can reduce the severity of flu symptoms. An ...