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Court proceedings begin in Anthem-Cigna mega-merger lawsuit

On Monday, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) and a bipartisan group of state attorneys started court proceedings to block the $48 billion mega-merger between Anthem and Cigna. The merger, if allowed to proceed, would reduce competition and increase health plan market power, compromising patients’ access to care and negatively impacting the quality and affordability of health care across the country. “The California Medical Association has opposed the Anthem-Cigna mega-merger since day one because it will hurt patients and increase health care costs,” said California Medical Association (CMA) President Ruth E. ...

Surgeon General issues landmark report on alcohol, drugs and health

The U.S. Surgeon General issued a report last week calling drug and alcohol addiction a public health crisis that is underappreciated and undertreated. Nearly 21 million Americans – more than the number of people who have all cancers combined – suffer from substance use disorders. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D.,  said he hopes that his report on drug and alcohol will galvanize work on the issue much like the groundswell of action that followed  the Surgeon General's landmark report on smoking some 50 years ago.  “Alcohol and drug addiction take ...

Court hears oral arguments in Oregon prescription drug monitoring database case

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments earlier this month in a patient privacy case involving law enforcement access to Oregon’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). The California Medical Association (CMA) joined the American Medical Association and other western state medical associations in 2015 to file an amicus brief with the appeals court challenging the authority of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to obtain patients' private prescription records without a court order. In this case, the DEA sought patient-specific information from Oregon’s PDMP through the use of ...

CMA says breastfeeding mothers must be accommodated when taking exams

The California Medical Association (CMA), along with the American Medical Women’s Association and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), sent a letter to Prometric, one of the largest test development and delivery networks in the country, asking it to ensure that pregnant and breastfeeding test takers have consistent access to reasonable accommodations during their exams. “It has come to our attention that Prometric does not consistently provide appropriate accommodations to candidates who are pregnant or breastfeeding at the time they are taking exams at Prometric facilities,” said the letter. “These ...

Steven M. Thompson Special Application Cycle

The Health Professions Education Foundation can help pay for your educational loans so you can focus on caring for California's underserved. Doctors providing direct patient care for a period of three years in a medically underserved area of California can benefit from the Steven M. Thompson Physician Corps Loan Repayment Program. A special application cycle is open December 1, 2016 - February 28, 2017. For more information, please visit www.oshpd.ca.gov/HPEF or call (916) 326-3640. Click here to download the flyer.

Call for nominations: CMA Diversity and Inclusion TAC

The California Medical Association (CMA) is currently seeking physician members to serve on the newly formed Diversity and Inclusion Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). CMA's committees and councils provide key input to the Board of Trustees to guide the association as it sets new policies. The deadline to submit an application or nomination for the Diversity and Inclusion TAC is Monday December 12, 2016.   The purpose of this TAC is to assist CMA in implementing the 2016-2017 CMA Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, developed in response to House of Delegates resolution 302-14. ...

Anthem-Cigna mega-merger compromises health care access, quality and affordability

Today, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and a bipartisan group of state attorneys started court proceedings to block the $48 million mega-merger between Anthem and Cigna (U.S. v. Anthem Inc., 16-cv-1493). “The California Medical Association has opposed the Anthem-Cigna mega-merger since day one because it will hurt patients and increase health care costs,” said California Medical Association (CMA) President Ruth E. Haskins, M.D. “Limiting market competition would compel insurers to contract with fewer physicians, resulting in higher premiums and longer wait times for referrals – not to mention forcing ...

CDC releases core elements for prescribing outpatient antibiotics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new recommendations for antibiotic prescribing in outpatient settings in an effort to help reduce the spread of drug-resistant infections, improve patient safety and lower the cost of health care. According to the CDC, at least 2 million people each year in the U.S. acquire serious infections with bacteria that are resistant to one or more of the antibiotics designed to treat those infections. At least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these antibiotic-resistant infections. The CDC recommendations, "Core ...

AMA strengthens anti-tobacco policies

The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted policies at its interim meeting reaffirming the commitment of our nation's physicians to preventing tobacco use. The policies ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require tobacco companies to add graphic warning labels depicting the negative health consequences of smoking to all cigarette packages and call for raising the minimum legal purchase age of all tobacco products to 21. California earlier this year passed a California Medical Association (CMA)-sponsored law that would raise California's smoking age to 21, as part of the most ...

Next CME Essentials Workshop is December 12 in San Mateo

Join the Institute for Medical Quality (IMQ) on Friday, December 12, 2016, for the next CME Essentials Workshop, to be held at the San Mateo Medical Association (near SFO). This one-day workshop focuses on the fundamentals of planning and evaluating a continuing medical education (CME) activity. The CME Essentials Workshop is designed for individuals who are new to CME or who are seeking a refresher, including physicians (CME chairs, committee members, faculty or speakers), CME coordinators, nurses, and other medical staff and education professionals involved in planning CME activities. The workshop ...