Monday, April 21, 2014
Emergency Services
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Health Care in the News

As part of its monthly agenda, the Academy Council routinely reviews health care related news articles. Click the articles button below to view the items from April. This month's articles include:
"Christ and Beacon launch sports partnership" Cincinnati Enquirer
"Narrow Networks: Obamacare's broken promise…" Medical Economics
"If You Like Your Scam, You Can Keep It…" G. Kevin Smith, MD
"Nemours, insurer make progress" Delaware Online

Upcoming Academy Events
Welcome to the Academy of Medicine

The Academy of Medicine (Hamilton County Medical Society), founded in 1857, is a not-for-profit, professional association for the physicians of Hamilton County, Ohio. Mission Statement: The Academy of Medicine is the professional association that exists to organize, represent, advocate for, and serve physicians of Greater Cincinnati.

Beer Tasting and Brewery Tour

A good time was had by the nearly 80 guests who attended the Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati's Beer Tasting and Brewery Tour held Friday, April 11, at the Christian Moerlein Tap Room.

The evening event featured a tasting of four beers paired with appetizers and a tour of the facility. 

Thanks to our friends at UBS for sponsoring the event and allowing us to keep the cost for guests to a minimum. 

Network terminations concern physicians

Physicians in the Cincinnati area, and their colleagues throughout Ohio and the United States, continue to be concerned with United Healthcare’s (UHC) decision to terminate physicians from its Medicare Advantage plans. Physician concerns range from significant network adequacy issues for primary care and subspecialty services; access and quality of care; UHC’s communications to both physicians and patients regarding the terminations; and the appeal process to be re-instated.

A Philadelphia medical student, Miranda Roberts, wrote an op-ed piece regarding the UHC terminations, initially published in The Hartford Courant and reprinted in the LA Times and the the Chicago Tribune, that suggested a possible motive for the terminations. To view the article, click here. Ms. Roberts is planning to do a follow-up article that shows what impact UHC's decision has had on patients and is conducting a brief survey of physicians who were affected. Here is the link to the survey

The federation of medicine has voiced these concerns at the national level in a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from the American Medical Association and 81 state and specialty societies urging a thorough investigation of the network adequacy of the plans. The Ohio State Medical Association has sent a letter to the Ohio Congressional delegation asking that they monitor the situation to ensure that CMS conducts a thorough and timely review. Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati President James Sosnowski, MD, sent a letter to the Cincinnati Enquirer expressing the Academy's concerns, which was published on November 30. Click here to see the letter. The Enquirer also printed a national story on the issue on December 3.

For additional information, click here.

Review your Medicare participation status

Each year physicians may opt to modify their status with Medicare during Medicare's open enrollment period. The decision period for physicians to change their Participation status has begun. Because the release of the 2014 Medicare physician fee schedule was delayed this year, the deadline for physicians to change from Participating to Non-participating, or vice versa, has been extended to January 31, 2014.

Unless Congress passes physician payment reform legislation this year, effective Jan. 1, 2014, Medicare physician payment rates will be cut across the board by about 24 %. With such steep cuts possible, physicians may want to review their options before the deadline.

• Participating (often referred to as "PAR")

• Non-participating (referred to as "non-PAR")

• Private contracting

It is important to understand your options, even if you are not thinking about changing your status. Physicians can use the AMA's Medicare Participation Kit to help them evaluate their participation options and choose the direction that is best for their practice. The kit contains a detailed explanation of physician options, a calculator, and various sample materials for communicating with patients.

Connect with DocBookMD
DocBookMD is a mobile, secure, HIPAA-compliant smartphone platform for your iPad, iPhone, or Android device. Provided free to Active and Resident members of the Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati, DocBookMD offers HIPAA-compliant messaging; sending and receiving of images (X-rays, EKGs, wounds, etc.); a directory of your Academy of Medicine colleagues; a local pharmacies list; and much more.

Register today directly from your iPad, iPhone, or Android device. To register, you will need your Academy of Medicine Member ID Number. If you do not have it, contact the Academy at 513-421-7010. Your free app is available at the iTunes Store or the Android Market.
Congress passes another SGR patch

Both the House and Senate have passed HR 4302, the "Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014," which postpones the imminent 24 percent cut to physician Medicare payments for another 12 months until April 1, 2015. The federation of medicine was strongly opposed to another patch and had supported bipartisan, bicameral legislation introduced this past year that provided a permanent fix to the SGR formula. 

The patch bill also includes a provision that would delay the implementation of the ICD-10 code set from October 1, 2014, to October 1, 2015. To view a summary of the bill, click here.

Physicians can use the links below to contact their Representative and Senators. 

Contacting your Ohio legislators is easy: 

• Senator Sherrod Brown
• Senator Rob Portman

• Representative Steve Chabot (District 1)
• Representative Brad Wenstrup (District 2)
• Representative John Boehner (District 8)

For additional information go to:

Prescription Drug Abuse: An Epidemic

On October 22, the Academy hosted  "Prescription Drug Abuse: An Epidemic." This timely program, presented by The Doctors Company, addressed a wide variety of issues, including prescription fraud, drug diversion, and management of patient's chronic pain. 

Tools recommended to aid physicians in treating patients with chronic pain included using the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS); following Ohio's Opioid Prescribing Guidelines, and using pain treatment agreements.

Additionally, the National Institute on Drug Abuse offers numerous resources for both medical/health professionals and patients. Physicians will find tools and resources to screen patients for drug abuse along with patient materials that you can distribute in your office. Patients will find information on prevention and treatments for drug abuse and addiction. 

Surge in pertussis cases

TDaP vaccinations recommended for pregnant women and those in close contact with infants.

The United States, including Greater Cincinnati, has been experiencing an epidemic of Pertussis (Whooping  Cough). In order to reduce the risk of Pertussis infection in infants, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have recommended that all women receive a Tetanus-Diptheria-acellular Pertussis (TDaP) vaccine with each pregnancy. ACIP and ACOG recommend that women receive the TDaP vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks gestation, which allows for maximal maternal antibody response and optimal passive transfer of maternal antibodies to the infant. 

ACIP also recommends that adolescents and adults who are in close contact with an infant under 12 months of age also receive one dose of TDaP vaccine if they have not done so previously. The Cincinnati Health Department (CHD) is offering TDaP at its primary care health centers at no charge to fathers, grandparents, family members and others who are in close contact to an infant under 12 months of age.   

Please call the health centers for more information and vaccination times: Cann (Madisonville), 263-8750; Elm Street, 352-3092; Millvale at Hopple, 352-3192; Northside, 357-7600; or Price Hill, 357-2700. 

Physicians needed as preceptors/mentors

The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (UCCM) is seeking physicians to serve as preceptors/mentors for its newly developed Longitudinal Primary Care Clerkship (LPCC) course for first- and second-year medical students. The course allows students to observe, learn, and apply clinical skills in preparation for their third year of medical school. It also exposes students to primary care role models and shows the integration of basic science material into practice.

Time for physician volunteers is manageable. Each student must spend half a day every other week with a physician preceptor. For example, if you take two students, you would have a student half a day per week every week. Placements are scheduled for afternoons only, Monday-Friday.  The next class begins its LPCC experience in January 2015 (first years) and runs through March 2016 (second years), with the summer off in between.

For more details about the program, click here, or contact Course Director Phil Diller, MD, or at 513-558-4021.