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CMA Foundation releases adult vaccine schedule

To help physicians answer questions posed by the recent measles outbreak in California and to educate adult patients about their vaccination needs, the California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation has release an adult vaccine schedule that physicians can hand out during patient visits. Many adults may be skipping vaccinations for a variety of conditions, leaving them susceptible to disease. For example, the tetanus vaccine can prevent a deadly bacterial toxin. While adults should get a booster every 10 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last week that ...

CMS to conduct ICD-10 claims testing for physicians in March and June

On October 1, 2015, the ICD-9 code sets used to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures will be replaced by ICD-10 code sets. To help physicians prepare for this transition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be conducting two national testing weeks, from March 2-6 and June 1-5. 2015. These testing weeks will give trading partners access to the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC) and Common Electronic Data Interchange (CEDI) for testing with real-time help desk support. While participants will not be able to conduct true end-to-end testing at ...

Boxer and Pan introduce vaccination legislation plans in effort to raise immunization rates

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and California State Senator Richard Pan, M.D., toured an Emeryville Head Start program last week to illustrate the reasons they have introduced vaccination bills at the national and state levels. Senator Boxer introduced the Head Start on Vaccinations Act with Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto. That bill would protect children in Head Start programs from preventable diseases by requiring that all children in Head Start programs nationwide be fully vaccinated unless they have been exempted for medical reasons. Boxer chose the Emeryville Head Start program to ...

Medical board commissions review of ethnic demographics of its disciplinary actions

The Medical Board of California has commissioned a non-partisan, third-party review of the board’s disciplinary data by ethnic demographics to determine whether there are disparities in disciplinary actions. The data review was sparked by requests from the Golden State Medical Association (GSMA). At the February 2014 medical board meeting, Katrina Peters, M.D., current GSMA president and California Medical Association (CMA) member, testified that a number of GSMA members have expressed concerns that African-American physicians have been targeted and received discipline from the medical board in higher numbers than other ...

Physicians have until Feb. 28 to review 2013 PQRS payments and penalties

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced last week that physicians who believe they received an incorrect Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) payment penalty can now use the new Look Up tool to verify information without calling the CMS Help Desk. The PQRS Look Up tool uses the same information that the CMS Help Desk accesses to verify whether a physician is subject to the 2015 PQRS payment adjustment, or if he or she should have received a 2013 PQRS incentive. To utilize the tool, physicians need to ...

Covered California rolls gain 1.4 million people; enrollment extended through end of April

Covered California announced that it had 1.4 million people on its rolls and that it had extended the deadline to buy health insurance for people who say they weren't aware they would face a tax penalty. According to Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, as many as 600,000 California residents face a penalty under the Affordable Care Act for not having insurance. The extension does not exempt people from paying the 2014 tax penalty, but would help them avoid bigger penalties in 2015. On the national front, the White ...

Stronger Hearts Helpline

Facts about the Stronger Hearts TM Helpline What is it? The Stronger HeartsTM Helpline provides people who have heart failure with access to community resources that can help them understand and manage their diease. This new 24/7 free call-center resource will serve people in San Bernardino County, where heart failure is particularly prevalent. Stronger Hearts Helpline offerings include: Referrals to medical professionals and clinics Educational information about heart failure and its treatment Referrals to services such as exercise programs, nutrition advice and mental health ...

Open Payments database available for physician review in April

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) announced last week that it will make the Open Payments database available to physicians for their review of payments made to them by drug and medical device companies. The Open Payments database is a part of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, a provision of the Affordable Care Act. Drug and medical device manufacturers are required to report their financial interactions with licensed physicians – including consulting fees, travel reimbursements, research grants and other gifts. Any payments, ownership interests and other “transfers of ...

Cleaner air means a healthier California: Join the Doctors for Climate Health campaign

Climate change is one of the most serious public health challenges of our day. As part of its “Doctors for Climate Health” campaign, the American Lung Association (ALA) is asking physicians to remind policymakers that clean air saves lives and money. Lethal air pollutants contribute to health emergencies that send people to hospitals and contribute to catastrophic climate change. Air pollution costs Californians $1 billion in asthma hospitalizations each year. Approximately 7,300 Californians die prematurely each year due to polluted air. At least 75 percent of pollution in the state ...

Save the date: EMOS/NEPO track at Legislative Advocacy Day

The Ethnic Medical Organization Section (EMOS) and the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO) invite you to participate in the EMOS/NEPO track at the annual California Medical Association (CMA) Legislative Day on April 14, 2015, in Sacramento. Participants will attend special meetings to educate the Legislature's ethnic caucuses about the issues of importance to California’s ethnic physicians. The event takes place at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento, just three blocks from the State Capitol and across the street from CMA headquarters. To view the tentative agenda, click here. To register for ...