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CMS clarifies ICD-10 grace period guidance

In early July, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that for a period of one year, it will allow for flexibility in claims payment, auditing and quality reporting processes as the medical community gains experience using the new ICD-10 code set. CMS specifically clarified its statement that during the 12 months after ICD-10 implementation, contractors would not deny claims based solely on the specificity of the ICD-10 diagnosis code. However, according to the latest FAQ, claims will be rejected if they do not contain a valid ICD-10 ...

Survey finds increased parental vaccine acceptance in aftermath of California measles outbreak

A survey conducted by Medscape found that fewer parents may be refusing to vaccinate their children in the aftermath of the California measles outbreak, especially in western states, which have had some of the highest refusal rates in America. According to the Medscape Vaccine Acceptance Report, an online survey of 1,577 pediatricians, family physicians, public health physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants that was conducted last month, 42 percent of clinicians said they believed more parents are accepting vaccines and 38 percent said parents are more accepting of the measles ...

Patient resources on end-of-life decisions now available online

The California Medical Association (CMA) encourages Californians to think about and talk with loved ones about their wishes for end-of-life medical care. CMA has developed a number of resources to help providers, patients and loved ones with making these important end-of-life decisions. The information, available in English and Spanish, includes legally recognized documents such as Advance Directives, Do-Not-Resuscitate forms and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). CMA's Advance Health Care Directive and POLST toolkits also include wallet identification cards and answer frequently asked questions from patients. Physicians are also encouraged ...

CDPH will award $60 million in grants to reduce mental health disparities in California; accepting proposals now

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is accepting proposals for projects that will help reduce mental health disparities across the state. Through its California Reducing Disparities Project, the department will award $60 million in contracts and grants over the next four years. “This opportunity allows Public Health to partner with organizations that are going to make a difference and help bring mental health equity to California,” said CDPH Director and State Health Officer Karen Smith, M.D. CDPH’s Office of Health Equity will award the money as part of an effort ...

California Asthma Summit coming to Los Angeles in October

The California Asthma Summit 2015, presenting the latest research from asthma experts, will take place October 14-15 at The California Endowment Center for Healthy Communities in Los Angeles. Register by September 1 and save $50 off your ticket, which includes registration, breakfast, lunch, conference materials and resources, and continuing education credits. This two-day summit, presented by the California Department of Public Health and the Sequoia Foundation, will bring together renowned asthma researchers and stakeholders to connect and share works, theories and direction to plan and develop strategies to address the ...

Study: e-cigarette use among youth could lead to smoking other tobacco products

Youth who use e-cigarettes as their first method of smoking could transition to smoking regular cigarettes and other tobacco products, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Researchers surveyed 2,530 ninth-graders from 10 Los Angeles public schools for the study. None of the students had ever used combustible cigarettes before the survey, but those who had previously used e-cigarettes (222 students) were found to be more likely to smoke combustible tobacco during the subsequent year. “This study indicates that e-cigarettes are introducing many ...

Medi-Cal providers: Are you ready for ICD-10?

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is asking Medi-Cal providers to take a brief survey about their readiness for the October 1, 2015, transition to ICD-10. The purpose of the survey is to determine provider and submitter health care transaction preparedness. DHCS is encouraging Medi-Cal providers and submitters, including Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment (Family PACT) providers, to take the survey. While participation is not required, provider responses to the survey will help Medi-Cal assess any issues or concerns that may hinder ICD-10 compliance. All answered surveys ...

Stand with Dr. Pan

Dr. Richard Pan needs our help! With our support, Dr. Pan won his election to the State Senate promising to work to keep Californians safe and healthy, and he did just that authoring SB277 to abolish non-medical exemptions to school vaccinations. Now, anti-vaccination opponents are gathering signatures to recall the only physician in the California legislature. Dr. Pan faced bullying and personal threats because he is a champion for medicine and public health. Join us in standing with Dr. Pan and showing we oppose this misguided recall effort! Please go to ...

Let's Get Healthy California now accepting applications for new 'Innovation Challenge'

The California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS), with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), last week announced a new Let’s Get Healthy California “Innovation Challenge” to engage and empower people to work together toward improving the health of their communities and the state. The contest is accepting submissions through September 30, 2015, in the six Let’s Get Healthy California goal areas: Healthy beginnings Living well End of life Redesigning the health system Creating ...

CMS to hold webinars for providers on Physician Compare website

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will host a series of one-hour webinars about public quality reporting and the Physician Compare website. The Affordable Care Act required CMS to create a website that would allow consumers to search for and compare physicians and other health care professionals who provide Medicare services. That site—the "Physician Compare" website, initially launched in 2010—provides contact information, specialties and clinical training, hospital affiliations and group practice information. In 2014, the website also began phasing in physician quality data from the Physician Quality Reporting System ...