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Deadline to submit meaningful use hardship exception is July 1

Beginning January 1, 2015, Medicare physicians who have not successfully attested to meaningful use of a certified electronic health record (EHR) system may incur payment penalties, as mandated by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. These payment adjustments will be 1-2 percent of total Medicare charges in 2015, to 2 percent in 2016 and 3-5 percent in 2017 and beyond. The 2015 penalties are based on 2013 reporting data. Physicians who failed to successfully demonstrate meaningful use in 2013 can apply for a hardship exception ...

Sugary drink warning labeling bill stalls in Assembly Health committee

Legislation that would have required sugar-sweetened beverages to bear a label warning consumers of their negative health effects failed to clear the Assembly Health committee yesterday. Senate Bill 1000, California’s Sugary Drink Safety Warning Act, which the California Medical Association co-sponsored, would have placed a simple warning label on the front of all bottles and cans of sugary drinks sold in California. The label, developed by a national panel of nutrition and public health experts, would have read: STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to ...

State budget includes $7 million for new primary care residency slots

Following the unprecedented grassroots advocacy by the physician and medical student community, the Legislature approved a state budget that includes $7 million for new primary care residency slots. The budget is now on Governor Brown's desk awaiting his signature. The California Medical Association is urging all physicians to contact the governor's office and urge him to maintain this critical funding, which will help California meet the increased demand for medical services now that millions of additional patients are insured under the Affordable Care Act. Three million dollars would be applied ...

California budget does not restore 10 percent cut to Medi-Cal providers

California lawmakers approved a $156.4 billion state budget plan yesterday that does not restore a 10 percent cut to Medi-Cal for providers – meaning that California continues to balance its budget on the backs of California's neediest and most vulnerable patients. Thanks to California Medical Association (CMA) advocacy, in coordination with the "We Care for California" coalition, the budget does, eliminate retroactive collection of the 10 percent Medi-Cal cut that would have dated back to June 2011, saving Medi-Cal providers more than $42.1 million in retroactive "clawbacks." “Eliminating the retroactive collection ...

AMA HOD adopts CMA's meningococcal vaccination resolution

The American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates (HOD) adopted a resolution proposed by the California Medical Association (CMA) that supports meningococcal vaccinations for school children. Resolution 414 asks that the AMA support efforts to require school children to be vaccinated against meningococcal virus under the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices guidelines. Testimony on the issue reminded the delegates that this is a complex issue and recommended further investigation into why 30 percent of school children are not getting the meningococcal vaccine. The AMA Council on Science and Public Health ...

California Teachers Association joins campaign to defeat MICRA lawsuit measure

The California Teachers Association (CTA), the nation’s largest statewide teacher organization and one of the state’s leading voices for public education, has announced its opposition to the MICRA lawsuit initiative. This addition makes CTA the latest major organization to join the historically-broad and bipartisan coalition of California organizations lining up to oppose the measure. CTA joins a growing list of California public and private organizations – including physicians, health providers, community clinics, civil liberties advocates, school boards, labor unions and business groups – that have expressed concerns about the ballot ...

CMA files brief in case challenging the constitutionality of MICRA

The California Medical Association (CMA), together with the American Medical Association (AMA), has filed an amicus brief supporting the constitutionality of the non-economic damages cap of California's landmark Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). This appeal is the latest in a protracted line of cases challenging MICRA's constitutionality since the Legislature enacted the statute in 1975. The California Supreme Court has previously upheld the constitutionality of MICRA's cost saving provisions, including MICRA's $250,000 cap on non-economic damages. Despite Supreme Court precedent, after a trial court reduced the non-economic damages awarded ...

Pertussis on the rise in California

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is reporting an uptick in cases of pertussis since the beginning of the year. According to the state, a total of 2,649 cases have been reported, with more than 800 new cases reported in April alone—the highest monthly count since the 2010 epidemic. Pertussis can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening complications in infants, especially within the first 6 months of life.Two infant mortalities have been reported this year—the first infant pertussis fatalities reported since 2010. In 2010, 9,159 total cases were reported, including ...

Four California physicians elected to AMA offices

Four representatives from the California Medical Association (CMA) were elected to offices in the American Medical Association (AMA) at its annual House of Delegates meeting this week in Chicago. Jack Resneck Jr., M.D., a San Francisco-based dermatologist, was elected to the AMA Board of Trustees. Dr. Resneck had previously chaired AMA’s Council on Legislation and also serves on the Board of Directors for the America Academy of Dermatology. Patricia Austin, M.D., an Oakland-based ophthalmologist with more than 30 years of small group practice experience, was elected to the AMA’s Council on ...

CMA concerned about possible widespread contract terminations by Tenet Healthcare Corp.

Physicians and medical staffs in many different counties have notified the California Medical Association (CMA) about recent action by Tenet Healthcare Corp. that could negatively affect all 11 of Tenet’s hospitals in California. CMA attorneys are looking into the issues and already have some serious concerns. There are reports that Tenet intends to terminate all existing contracts for anesthesiology, ER and hospitalist services at its hospitals. The Dallas-based hospital system would then award one contract to an out-of-state medical group to provide such services to all of its hospitals in ...