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CMA applauds U.S. House of Representatives for passing monumental Medicare-CHIP reform in landslide vote, urges U.S. Senate to act swiftly

Sacramento – Today, the California Medical Association (CMA) congratulates the U.S. House of Representatives for passing monumental Medicare reform and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) extension, and urgently asks their colleagues in the Senate to do the same before spring recess. The 392-37 vote clearly shows that now is the time to make Medicare reform a reality. The legislation, H.R. 2, known as the “The Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act,” will reform the broken Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) physician payment system and extend the expiring Children’s Health Insurance ...

CMS prepares to make 21% Medicare rate cut should Congress fail to act before April 1

With an April 1 deadline looming, Congress has a week left to stop the 21 percent sustainable growth rate (SGR) cuts to the Medicare reimbursement rate. While Congress works to pass bills H.R. 2 and S. 810 to permanently end the SGR and implement new Medicare funding models, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that without Congressional action, the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule is scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2015. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have negotiated ...

CDPH mounts television ad campaign highlighting the dangers of vaping

Twenty-five years after launching the first anti-smoking advertisements in the state, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched a new series this week of television, digital and outdoor ads, all highlighting the dangers of e-cigarettes, a practice commonly known as “vaping.” With one of the lowest smoking rates in the nation, California has been a leader with its aggressive anti-smoking campaigns, but the aggressive marketing and escalating use of e-cigarettes threatens to erode this progress. CDPH recently released a report and a health advisory highlighting areas of concern regarding e-cigarettes, ...

CMA takes on public health, Medi-Cal with 2015 sponsored legislation

California Medical Association (CMA) sponsored bills for 2015 include a $2 per pack tax on cigarettes, increasing provider rates for Medi-Cal and establishing a Graduate Medical Education Trust Fund in light of inadequate funding levels from the federal government. SB 591 (Pan) – Cigarette and tobacco products taxes: California Tobacco Tax Act of 2015 This bill is the CMA-led Save Lives Coalition’s legislative strategy to increase the state’s tobacco tax by $2 per pack. The bill would allocate funds raised by the tax to tobacco prevention and education, programs provided by ...

Match Day keeps some new doctors in California, sends others out-of-state

Friday, March 20, on National Match Day, California’s graduating medical students learned whether they can begin practicing medicine here – or if they must leave the state to begin their careers. The National Resident Matching Program matches graduating medical students with residency programs using a mathematical algorithm that pairs the rank-ordered preferences of applicants and program directors to produce a “best fit” for filling available training positions. However, this year, more than 41,000 medical school seniors and graduates applied for only 30,000 available residency positions. “Match Day is a pivotal point ...

IMQ's Certification Services make tracking CME credits easy

The Institute for Medical Quality (IMQ) offers a continuing medical education (CME) certification service to make it easier for physicians to track their CME credits. Subscribers can now view and print their transcripts online. They can submit the required documents as email attachments directly to IMQ and enter their data on a submission form that can be downloaded from the IMQ website. The Medical Board of California requires physicians to participate in a minimum of 50 credits from board-recognized CME providers every two years. Thousands of California physicians rely on ...

Reminder: July ICD-10 end-to-end testing forms due in April

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that those providers who want to volunteer for ICD-10 end-to-end testing July 20-24 need to submit their information by April 17. The July testing will give a group of 850 volunteers the opportunity to find out if they are prepared to submit digital information to CMS for ICD-10. CMS intends to select volunteers representing a broad cross-section of provider, claim and submitter types, including claims clearinghouses that submit claims for large numbers of providers. Testers who participated in the January and ...

California Immunization Coalition Summit coming in April

The 2015 California Immunization Summit will be held in April 26-27 in Riverside. This annual summit is an opportunity for physicians to learn about community-based programs that have increased vaccination rates, and how to adapt and apply key lessons from successful programs. The summit is presented by the California Immunization Coalition, a public-private partnership dedicated to achieving and maintaining full immunization protection for all Californians to promote health and prevent serious illness. This year's program, “Ready, Set, Vaccinate!” includes keynote speaker William L. Atkinson, M.D., MPH, Immunization Action Coalition Associate ...

Hundreds of California medical students learn where they will continue training

Sacramento – Friday, March 20, 2015, is national “Match Day.” Hundreds of California medical students will learn whether they can begin their medical practice in state, or if they will be forced to leave California to complete their training to become fully licensed physicians. Medical students select a residency program based on the medical specialty they plan to pursue as well as the specifics of a program, which may include particular aspects of training or geography. “Match Day is a pivotal point in a medical student’s career,” said California Medical Association ...

New study concludes that vaccine refusal helped fuel Disneyland measles outbreak

A new study conducted by research teams from MIT and Boston Children’s Hospital has concluded that parental resistance to vaccinations played a role in the Disneyland measles outbreak that started in January. The analysis, published in JAMA Pediatrics, showed that the highly contagious disease has spread to seven states and two other countries, largely because parents did not vaccinate their children. The study’s authors used simple math to determine that the vaccination rate among people who were exposed to measles during the outbreak was no higher than 86 percent, and might ...