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Audit says state lab oversight is duplicative, should be eliminated

On September 10, the California Bureau of State Audits issued a report that said the California Department of Public Health's (CDPH) Laboratory Field Services should be eliminated because it duplicates a service provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS regulates all human laboratory testing in the U.S. through the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments system. In California, labs must also be licensed through the state's Laboratory Field Services. This dual regulatory system is a huge burden on physician-operated labs in our state, and the California Medical Association ...

AMA town hall to discuss meaningful use concerns

On  Tuesday, September 29, the American Medical Association (AMA) will hold a virtual town hall meeting to give physicians a chance to discuss concerns with poorly designed electronic health record (EHR) systems and the impact they have on patient care and government mandates. The U.S. government has spent some $25 billion on the program to promote a digital health infrastructure based on the power of EHRs to enhance patient care, improve productivity, and reduce costs. While 80 percent of physicians have adopted EHR technology, many physicians believe that the current ...

AMA offers resources to help physicians evaluate new payment model contracts

The American Medical Association (AMA) has developed new resources that explain the key issues physicians should understand when evaluating payor contracts based on new payment models, such as pay-for-performance and bundled or episode-based payment. Each of these documents outlines important considerations, including a summary of the payment model; contractual issues, including model language; and guidelines for evaluating risk and success. To access the documents, click here.

CDC says flu vaccine better match for 2015

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the flu shot available to the public this year is a much better match for the flu virus that is expected to circulate during this year's flu season. Last season’s vaccine did not protect against a particular strain of H3N2 flu virus – known as the "Switzerland variant” – causing the vaccine's effectiveness rate against the H3N2 strain to be only about 13 percent. In an effort to get it right in 2015, scientists scrutinized 199 flu specimens collected in ...

Gov. Brown appoints CMA physician to California Department of Veterans Affairs

Vito Imbasciani, M.D., a member of the California Medical Association (CMA) Board of Trustees, has been appointed secretary at the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday. Dr. Imbasciani, a Los Angeles democrat, previously served as surgeon in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1986 to 2014 and as state surgeon for the California National Guard from 2006 to 2014. He is currently the director of government relations at the Southern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, where he has also worked as a urologic surgeon for ...

California has the most exchange enrollees in the U.S.

California has enrolled more people through its Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance exchange of any state, with about 1.4 million enrollees as of June 30, according to new federal data. California surpassed Florida – with 1.3 million exchange enrollees as of the end of June – to have the highest exchange enrollment. Nationwide, 9.9 million U.S. residents signed up for the ACA. About 7.2 million consumers purchased coverage through the federal exchange and 2.7 million purchased coverage through state-based exchanges. Of those who purchased coverage in California, 9,302 people who ...

ICD-10 less than two weeks away; are you ready?

With less than two weeks until the implementation of ICD-10, practices should be in the final stages of preparation and training for conversion to the new code set on October 1, 2015. The California Medical Association (CMA) has a number of resources to help members prepare. ICD-10 Transition Guide: This guide will help practices of all sizes successfully make the switch to the new ICD-10 coding system. It answers frequently asked questions and includes CMA’s ICD-10 Transition Preparation Checklist to help ensure the transition is a smooth one. The guide ...

Gala tickets still available!

Join the California Medical Association (CMA) and the CMA Foundation at the 19th Annual President’s Reception and Awards Gala, Saturday, October 17, 2015, at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa in Anaheim, immediately following CMA’s annual House of Delegates session that day. Honored at the event will be Steven Larson, M.D., incoming CMA president; David Folsom, M.D., recipient of the Robert D. Sparks, M.D., Leadership Achievement Award; and Michael Lenoir, M.D., recipient of the Adarsh S. Mahal, M.D., Access to Health Care and Disparities Award. Individual tickets and tables of ...

L.A. close to banning smokeless tobacco use at all sports venues in city limits

Following the footsteps of its Bay Area neighbors to the north, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously (14-0) to ban smokeless tobacco use from all sports venues within city limits. The rule will apply to players and fans alike. The city attorney was given 30 days to draft the new law, which could take effect as soon as January, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Our parks and stadiums are places for creating healthy choices for the next generation, not for cancer-causing addictions,” L.A. Councilmember David Ryu said in a ...

Last chance for IMQ grants for providers of opioid training

To help address serious issues related to the misuse of prescription opioids, the California Medical Association’s Institute for Medical Quality (IMQ) is offering mini-grants to organizations that wish to offer U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved opioid training for physicians, pharmacists and other health care providers. There are a few grants available, ranging between $1,400 and $3,300, based on the number of participants. The opioid crisis continues and drug overdose deaths remain the leading cause of injury death in the United States – even more than car crashes. In ...