SBCMS News

rss

CMA now accepting testimony for the first batch of year-round resolutions

At the close of the California Medical Association (CMA) 2015 House of Delegates last month, new governance reforms took effect. One of the most significant changes to the bylaws allow for the submission of resolutions for debate and discussion throughout the year, rather than just once a year as was previously the case. This will allow CMA to be more nimble and effective in making decisions on critical issues that are important to physicians. CMA members are wasting no time availing themselves of the new year-round resolutions process. CMA has ...

Two flu deaths confirmed by CDPH

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) last week confirmed the season's first two flu-related deaths in California—one an infant less than six months old. The deaths serve as another somber reminder that influenza can cause serious illness or death. Influenza viruses circulate at their peak levels from December to April, according to CDPH, which is urging people to get vaccinated before the flu spreads widely. “As California’s public health officer, I am saddened when the flu turns into loss of life,” said State Public Health Officer Karen Smith, M.D. “It ...

CMA supports ballot measure on hospital fee program to stabilize health care access for low-income residents

The California Medical Association (CMA) has joined a broad coalition of health care providers and community groups in support of an initiative, the “Medi-Cal Funding and Accountability Act,” which will appear on the November 2016 ballot. The initiative would extend a critical hospital fee program in order to provide a stable source of health care funding to serve California’s most vulnerable citizens: children, seniors and low-income residents. The initiative builds on SB 239, an important and unanimous bipartisan agreement passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown in ...

CMA publishes summary of new health care laws for 2016

The California Legislature had an active year, passing many new laws affecting health care. In particular, there was a strong focus on Medi-Cal, scope of practice for allied health professionals, public health and residential care facilities for the elderly. This document contains a list of the most significant new health laws of interest to physicians. The California Medical Association has published a summary of the most significant new health laws. For more details, see "Significant New California Laws of Interest to Physicians for 2016."

CMS changes enrollment requirements for Part D prescribers

Beginning on June 1, 2016, all physicians and other providers who prescribe Medicare Part D drugs must be enrolled in Medicare or have a valid record of opting out. Failure to do so will result in a denial of the pharmacy claim or the beneficiary’s request for reimbursement. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had originally intended to begin enforcing this regulation last June, but the agency delayed implementation to allow sufficient time for beneficiaries and Medicare Part D plans to prepare. All physicians and other prescribers who are ...

Have you checked your medical board profile recently?

Physician profiles have been available to the public on the Medical Board of California's website since 1997, as required by Business and Professions Code sections 2027 and 803.1. The California Medical Association encourages physicians to periodically check their profiles for accuracy and to advise the board of any corrections, especially changes to their addresses of record. Making sure your information is accurate is important. Patients use the website to confirm their physician’s information. The medical board has launched a new public information campaign further encouraging patients visit the board's website ...

American Lung Association launches campaign to raise cancer awareness for women

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, a time to bring more awareness to the disease. The American Lung Association (ALA) is launching a $10 million campaign to raise lung cancer awareness among women. Every five minutes, a woman in the U.S. is told she has lung cancer. And this year, lung cancer will kill more Americans than any other cancer. Increased attention on this disease is desperately needed, as only 1 percent of women cite lung cancer as a health risk. Lung cancer is, however, a leading cause of cancer deaths, ...

Are you signed up for Medi-Cal's Subscription Service

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) last year launched the Medi-Cal Subscription Service (MCSS). Subscribers can sign up to receive monthly digest bulletins and/or as-it-happens "news flashes" for critical or time-sensitive issues. You can tailor your subscription to receive only information on subject matters of interest to you and your practice, including billing, payment and policy rule changes. Subscriptions are free. To sign up, go to www.medi-cal.ca.gov/mcss, select the subject matter areas of interest, and fill in your email and zip code. To help providers more easily access important ...

Blue Shield fee schedule changes took effect November 1

n August, Blue Shield announced changes to its physician fee schedule that became effective November 1, 2015. In a notice sent to physicians, the insurer said that it was increasing payments for the more commonly billed office visit codes. The new rates are available on the Blue Shield website (go to www.blueshieldca.com/provider and log in, then select the “Professional Fee Schedule” link located under the "Claims" section menu). Physicians can also request a copy of the new fees by completing the allowance review form enclosed with the notice, or ...

Supreme Court to hear ACA challenge by religious nonprofits

The U.S. Supreme Court announced last week that it would hear another group of court cases that challenge the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that health plans provide a full range of contraceptive coverage to women at no cost. Under the law, religious institutions, including churches, temples and mosques, are automatically exempt from the ACA's contraceptive coverage requirement and do not have to file any paperwork. Nonprofit faith-based charities and religiously affiliated educational institutions and hospitals, however, must notify the health plan or the U.S. Department of Health and Human ...