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California lawmakers unveil bill to tax MCOs and plug $1.1 billion hole in budget

California lawmakers on Monday unveiled two identical bills to replace the soon-to-expire tax on managed care organizations (MCO). The bills, ABx2 20 (Bonta) and SBx2 15 (Hernandez), are the product of 14 months of negations with MCOs. These bills are supported by the California Association of Health Plans, with most member plans either supportive or neutral. The current MCO tax will expire this summer if legislators cannot agree on a replacement. Since 2005, the state has taxed MCOs and used the money to cover the costs of the Medi-Cal program. ...

Physicians invited to attend workshop on addressing health disparities in HIV care

California physicians are encouraged to register for a free dinner workshop presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM) on February 15, 2016, in San Diego: Health Disparities, Health Equity and HIV: Recognizing, Understanding and Addressing Disparities that Impact our Patients with HIV Infection. AAHIVM is offering 2 hours of continuing medical education for this workshop, which will feature discussions on health care equity and case studies. Presenters include Richard Elion, M.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine, and Christian B. Ramers, M.D., ...

Call for Applications/Nominations: California Delegation to AMA At-Large Seats

Please see the following call for applications/nominations for physician members interested to serve on the California Delegation to the American Medical Association (AMA). Please distribute this solicitation to any and all interested parties. Position: Three (3) available At-Large seats on the California Delegation to the AMA Body: California Delegation to the AMA Members of the AMA House of Delegates serve as an important communications, policy and membership link between the AMA and grassroots physicians. The delegate/ alternate delegate is a key source of information on activities, programs and policies of the AMA. The delegate/alternate ...

CDPH to host provider call on Zika virus this Wednesday, Feb. 10

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is convening a conference call for health care providers on Wednesday, February 10, from 9-10 a.m. The call will provide information and updates about the Zika virus, and give providers the opportunity to ask questions. Please plan to join the call in groups within your organization to maximize availability of conference call lines. To join the conference, call dial (866) 216-6835(866) 216-6835 FREE and key 839641 as the participant passcode. For questions about the call, please contact Cheryl Starling, R.N., nurse consultant and project ...

Register today for CMA webinar on how to get involved (or more involved) in organized medicine

The California Medical Association (CMA) will host a webinar on CMA’s recently reformed physician governance structure and how members can get involved in organized medicine on Wednesday, February 10, from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. This webinar will be presented by CMA Speaker of the House of Delegates, Theodore M. Mazer, M.D. Dr. Mazer is a board-certified otolaryngologist who has been working in a small, solo practice in San Diego for more than 25 years. Dr. Mazer will present information on the new year-round resolutions process; becoming a member of the House ...

CMA urges Tulare hospital to reverse decision to oust elected medical staff leaders

A California hospital’s recent attempt to unlawfully dissolve its medical staff and replace the staff’s elected leaders has spurred the California Medical Association (CMA) to step in and urge more appropriate action. The issue revolves around a decision purportedly made by the Tulare Regional Medical Center’s Board of Directors on January 26 to “terminate its relationship” with the hospital’s medical staff and “enter a new arrangement” with a new medical staff – one that has been approved by the hospital's board, according to a letter sent from Board Chair Sherrie ...

New report gives California "F" grade for tobacco control policies

California is largely failing in its efforts to fight tobacco use, according to the American Lung Association (ALA). In its 14th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report released on February 3, ALA gave California a failing grade in three out of four possible categories: Tobacco prevention and cessation funding, tobacco taxes, and access to cessation services. For the final category, which rates a state’s efforts to provide smoke-free air, California received a “B.” “While significant progress has been made in reducing youth cigarette smoking, youth use of other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes ...

IMQ webinar: Building an infection prevention program

Effective infection control is becoming increasingly important due to a shift in health care delivery from inpatient to outpatient. Given the critical need to ensure patient safety and reduce health care-associated infections, it is more important than ever for health care workers to carefully adhere to infection prevention principles. In an effort to help physicians meet the demands of infection control in their offices and other outpatient settings, the Institute for Medical Quality (IMQ), a subsidiary of the California Medical Association, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health ...

UHC to require prior authorization for select musculoskeletal and pain management procedures

As indicated in its January 2015 Network Bulletin, United Healthcare (UHC) will begin requiring prior authorization for certain additional musculoskeletal and pain management procedures effective April 4, 2016. Included in the new prior authorization requirement are various arthroscopy procedures, spine-related surgeries, neurostimulators for back pain and certain foot surgical procedures. For a complete listing of procedures requiring notification, physicians can access the Advance Notification Requirements on the UHC website. Prior authorization will be required for services performed in all places of service settings, including inpatient/outpatient hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers ...

Blue Shield revises Provider Data Confirmation form

In December 2015, the California Medical Association (CMA) began receiving calls from physicians who had received requests from Blue Shield of California to complete its Provider Data Confirmation form. According to Blue Shield, the requests are an effort to comply with Senate Bill 137, a new law that requires payors to maintain accurate provider directories (among other things). Blue Shield is asking that participating providers review and complete the form to indicate whether the data it has on file for each provider is accurate, incorrect or incomplete. Some physicians, ...