SBCMS News

rss

Spending for federal health programs is expected to remain 'modest' over the next 10 years

Total health care spending growth for federal health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid is expected to average 5.8 percent in aggregate over 2014-2024, according to a report published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary. The authors noted that this rate of growth is still substantially lower than the 9 percent average rate seen in the three decades before 2008.   “Growth in overall health spending remains modest even as more Americans are covered, many for the first time. Per-capita spending and medical ...

Covered California statewide premium costs to rise 4 percent in 2016

Californians insured through Covered California, the state’s health benefit exchange, will see their premiums rise an average of 4 percent in 2016, less than last year’s increase of 4.2 percent. However, consumers in some Bay Area and Sacramento counties will see higher premium increases—up to 8.2 percent in Sacramento and 12.8 percent in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito—while Southern California counties will see increases of around 1.8 percent. However, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee noted that consumers can see their premiums drop an average of 4.5 percent – ...

CMS releases proposed 2016 Medicare physician fee schedule

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released the 2016 proposed Medicare physician payment rule. The rule reflects the 0.5 percent increase in payment as of July 1, 2015, and the additional 0.5 percent increase in payment on January 1, 2016, recently adopted by Congress. Overall, Medicare will pay physicians nearly $700 million more in 2016 than they will have paid in 2015. Most notable in the payment rule is CMS’ proposal to pay for advance care planning and end-of-life counseling. The fee schedule would establish two new ...

House passes bill to increase funding for medical research and speed FDA approvals

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (344-77) to pass a bill known as the "21st Century Cures Act," which would boost federal funding for medical research and speed up Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals for many new drugs and medical devices. The bill, HR 6, will give $8.75 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research and another $550 million to the FDA over the next five years. A scaled-down bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and there are hopes that it ...

Six tobacco bills to be taken up during special session on health

Six bills aimed at saving lives and reducing the cost of tobacco-related diseases on California’s health system will be taken up during the Legislature’s second special session to address health care — a meeting ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown. Some of the bills being proposed are the same as those introduced in the Capitol earlier this year, including bills to add e-cigarettes to the existing tobacco products definition and to increase the age of sale for tobacco products to 21. Other bills introduced would allow local jurisdictions to tax tobacco ...

Senate panel pushes HHS to delay stage 3 meaningful use

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to delay the stage 3 meaningful use rules, its chairman, Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said during a news conference Thursday. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued proposed rules for stage 3 in March 2015. What's concerning providers is that this stage differs from the others in the degree to which a medical provider, to fulfill its requirements, must depend on other providers to document electronically that they have fulfilled ...

Early bird deadline for NEPO Building Healthy Communities Summit is August 17

Register for the 2015 Building Healthy Communities Summit by August 17 to save $100! Hosted by the California Medical Association Foundation’s Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO), this year’s event will take place on September 18-20, 2015, at the Riverside Conference Center. The Summit is an opportunity for physicians, public health professionals and community leaders who work with underserved communities to learn about emerging health care policy issues and share best practices on how to reduce health disparities and increase access to health care services for the populations they ...

Update on the IMQ Hospital Accreditation Survey Program

Since the 1970s, the California Medical Association’s Institute for Medical Quality (IMQ) has participated in hospital licensure and accreditation surveys in partnership with The Joint Commission (TJC) and the California Department of Public Health under the Consolidated Accreditation and Licensure Survey Program. Although the program is no longer consolidated, hospitals that are surveyed by TJC can choose to have an IMQ physician surveyor replace one TJC surveyor on the team. Since October 2014, approximately 50 percent of the hospitals scheduled for a survey in California have opted to have an ...

Deadline to verify CHPI quality data accuracy is July 31

In late May, approximately 18,000 physicians in California received a notice and their individual quality measurement scores for a new quality rating program through the California Healthcare Performance Initiative System (CHPI). The program rates physicians using claims data from Medicare fee-for-service, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California and United Healthcare. Physicians will be assigned a star rating of one to four stars for each measure, based on where they fall as a percentile within a “peer group," plus a composite score. The individual quality measurement scores were based on ...

CMA Capitol Insight: July 22, 2015

CMA Capitol Insight is a biweekly column by veteran journalist Anthony York, reporting on the inner workings of the state Legislature. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ An international impact Gov. Jerry Brown is at the Vatican this week, where he will join Pope Francis and leaders around the globe for a climate change conference. The gathering weaves together threads throughout the former Jesuit seminarian governor’s life that have all shaped him in profound ways. Before Brown was an elected official, he was a student at a Jesuit seminary at Sacred Heart Novitiate in Los Gatos. He ultimately ...