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SSV Medical Society News

SSVMS Medical Society News is a monthly e-bulletin from the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society (SSVMS) containing up-to-date information and breaking news on issues impacting physicians practicing in El Dorado, Sacramento and Yolo counties. To receive your free subscription, contact SSVMS at (916) 452-2671 or


SSV Medical Society News - 2013 - Volume 2 - Issue 10


Click here to read the September/October 2013 issue of SSV Medicine.

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Time to Renew SSVMS/CMA Membership for 2014.  Help continue the fight to preserve the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) by renewing your 2014 membership online today.  Not a member? Click here to learn more about the benefits of membership, or call SSVMS at (916) 452-2671.


Covered California:  Resources for Patients.  Beginning October 1, 2013, legal residents of California are able buy health coverage through California’s health care benefit exchange, Covered California.  Physicians are encouraged to refer patients that do not have health care coverage to, where they can learn more about the four basic levels of coverage: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.  Patients will also be able to determine, with one application, if they qualify for free or low cost programs such as Medi-Cal, or subsidized private insurance programs.  Keep an eye on future issues of SSV Medical Society News for SSVMS-sponsored workshops and educational materials to assist physicians and office staff with the patient enrollment process.


Covered California: Resources for Physicians. Covered California opened for enrollment on October 1, 2013.  SSVMS/CMA has everything you and your staff need to prepare, including the following:

  • CMA Reform Essentials.  Includes timely information related to California’s implementation of federal health care reform, discussions on network adequacy, model contract development, and reporting requirements.
  • Essential Health Benefits Fact SheetThis fact sheet was developed to help physicians understand the basic facts around the "essential health benefits" component of federal health care reform and how California's health benefits exchange may be affected.
  • CMA On Call Document #7450, “Health Benefits Exchange.This medical-legal document includes a discussion on network adequacy, administrative burden associated with exchange plans, the grace period issue, concerns that physicians may be contracted with exchange plans without knowing it, what to look for in the mail on exchange plan contracting, and examples of termination provisions in current exchange contracts.
For more information and additional resources, click here to visit CMA’s Exchange Resource page.


MICRA Watch.  The trial attorneys are moving forward with their ballot initiative to require mandatory drug and alcohol testing of all physicians and to overturn California’s landmark tort reform law, the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA).  Because of MICRA, physicians practicing in El Dorado, Sacramento and/or Yolo County save an average of $93,000 in annual medical malpractice premiums.  Click here to learn more and to contribute to the fight to preserve MICRA.



MICRA Victory in the Courts   On September 23, the Second Appellate District Court, Division Four, issued its opinion, upholding the constitutionality of MICRA's non-economic damages cap.  The court rejected plaintiff's arguments that the cap violates the constitutional rights to jury trial and equal protection.  Click here to download a copy of the decision.


Don't Miss Out on Increased Medi-Cal Payments.  The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) will soon be implementing rate increases for primary care physicians who treat Medi-Cal patients, as authorized under the Affordable Care Act.  In order to see the bump in pay, providers must first attest to their eligibility.  According to DHCS, less than half of eligible providers have completed the brief self-attestation process as of September 24.  Physicians are encouraged to complete the attestation form, which is available on the Medi-Cal website.  The attestation form must be completed online (paper copies will not be accepted).  The rate increase applies to evaluation and management codes 99201 through 99499 and vaccine administration codes 90460, 90461 and 90471 – 90474.  For more information on the increase, including which specialties qualify, see CMA’s Medi-Cal Primary Care Physician Rate Increase FAQs.

CMA Petitions Supreme Court to Block the 10 percent Medi-Cal Physician Reimbursement Cut.  On September 20, 2013, CMA filed a petition asking the United States Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that cleared the way for the State of California to implement a 10 percent cut to Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates.  Earlier this year, the California DHCS announced that it would begin implementation of the 10 percent Medi-Cal physician payment rate reduction on January 9, 2014.  If these cuts are allowed to stand, access to care will be devastated, not only for the existing Medi-Cal patients, but also the millions of patients that will be newly eligible for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act in 2014.  Click here for more information.

Mandatory Influenza Vaccination or Masking of Health Care Workers During Influenza Season.  The Public Health Officer is requiring that each health care facility in Sacramento County implement a program requiring its health care workers to receive an annual influenza vaccination, or, if they decline, to wear a mask for the duration of the influenza season while working in patient-care areas.  Click here to view the order.

Tubersol Shortage – Updated Health Alert.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an updated alert to inform the medical community that there is an ongoing shortage of Tubersol until at least the middle of October 2013.  Click here for more information.

Sacramento Physicians’ Initiative to Reach out, Innovate, and Teach (SPIRIT) Program to be Awarded the 2013 Robert D. Sparks, MD Leadership Award.  A collaborative between SSVMS, Mercy Healthcare of Sacramento, Sutter Community Hospitals of Sacramento, UC Davis Health System, and Kaiser, SPIRIT recruits and places physician volunteers to provide medical services to the uninsured.  The Robert D. Sparks, MD Leadership Award is given annually at the California Medical Association President’s Reception and Awards Gala at the CMA’s annual House of Delegates meeting.  This award recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated extraordinary interest and efforts consistent with the mission of the CMA Foundation to champion improved individual and community health through a partnership of leaders in medicine and the community.  Click here to learn more about the SPIRIT program or to volunteer.

Request for Annual SSVMS Award Nominations.  Nominations are now being accepted for the following Annual Awards:

  • The Golden Stethoscope – Candidate must be a member for at least 15 years and have demonstrated a career that is clearly oriented to their practice and the care of their individual patients in an environment of unselfishness, compassion and empathy.
  • The Medical Honor – Candidate must be a member for five years, currently in practice, or retired, and whose high achievement has allowed a contribution of great significance to El Dorado-Sacramento-Yolo County medicine or community health.
  • The Medical Community Service Award – This award is presented in appreciation to a non-physician community member or leader of a community organization in the El Dorado-Sacramento-Yolo Counties area who has made a significant contribution to a medical or public health problem.
Send letters of nomination to SSVMS, c/o Margaret Parsons, MD, Chair, Scholarship & Awards Committee, 5380 Elvas Avenue #101, Sacramento, CA 95819.  For more information, contact Chris Stincelli at (916) 456-2018,  Deadline for receipt of nominations is November 1, 2013.



The following webinars are offered at no cost to SSVMS members and staff, with a non-member cost of $99.  For more information, or to register, click on the links, or contact CMA’s member-help center, (800) 786-4262 or

OCTOBER 2:  Successful Medi-Cal Provider Enrollment for Physician Providers, (Webinar), 12:15pm – 1:45pm.  Physicians must re-enroll in Medi-Cal as one of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  This training will cover basic instructions and guidelines on the proper way to complete a Provider Enrollment Application Package; discuss the importance of reviewing and understanding program requirements; how to avoid common mistakes when completing enrollment forms; specialized physician enrollments; important changes to the program due to ACA implementation; and where to find additional program information and PED contact information.  1 CEU CREDIT.

OCTOBER 9:  Benefits of Financing your Electronic Medical Records Project, (Webinar), 12:15pm – 1:15pm.  Learn about financing your practice’s EMR project.  This webinar will cover the benefits of financing, key considerations in financing decisions, maximizing the return on your investment, understanding the financing process, tax advantages, and special offers to CMA members.  1.00 CEU CREDIT.

OCTOBER 16:  Utilizing Technology to Increase Patient Engagement and Meet the Requirements for Meaningful Use, (Webinar), 12:15pm – 1:15pm.  Technology is changing the way patients manage their own health along with how clinicians interact with their patients.  This webinar will define patient engagement, highlight technologies and applications that support engagement efforts and offer some practical advice for incorporating these tools into your practice.  Discussion points will include patient portals, personal health records, the blue button initiative and meeting the patient engagement requirements of meaningful use.


OCTOBER 30:  CMS Quality Reporting Programs:  What Physicians Need to Know and Do Now to Improve Care and Avoid Penalties, (Webinar), 12:15pm – 1:45pm.  Presented by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), webinar attendees will understand the background and rationale for CMS incentives and payment adjustments that affect physicians, including the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the ePrescribing (eRx) Incentive Program, the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program, and the new Value Modifier (VM) program; be able to define what actions they need to take to receive each incentive and avoid payment adjustments; and know where to go to obtain further information about CMS quality programs and stay abreast of future developments.  1.00 CEU CREDIT.

NOVEMBER 6:  External Auditors and You:  Medi-Cal Recovery Audit Contract Process, (Webinar), 12:15pm – 1:15pm.  Presented by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), this webinar will help you gain information on the current status of the Medi-Cal external audit contract process, understand rules and timelines for implementation, and understand how to work with external auditors.  1.00 CEU CREDIT.

NOVEMBER 7 – 9:  Stepping Up to Leadership Program, (Seminar).  The Institute for Medical Quality and the PACE Program at UC San Diego are proud to announce an unparalleled opportunity for medical staff leaders.  The Stepping Up to Leadership program trains medical staff leaders in issues of communication, problem-solving, and improving outcomes for patients and staff.  This program will be offered in San Antonio, Texas (November 7 - 9, 2013); San Diego, California (March 6 – 8, 2014); and Washington DC (May 8 – 10, 2014).  Click here for more information and to register.

NOVEMBER 13:  Managing Difficult Employees and Reducing Conflict, (Webinar), 12:15pm – 1:45pm.  Very few medical or business schools teach hands-on human resources management skills and techniques.  This information-packed workshop will teach you the secrets of how to lead, coach and manage difficult employees; set practice values; and reduce conflict in the practice.  1.00 CEU CREDIT.


SSVMS’ free walking program is open to anyone interested in taking steps for health.  Anyone can attend... tell your patients!  Walks are held on Saturday mornings at local parks and are led by SSVMS member physicians.  Click here for more information, including meeting times and locations.  Interested in leading a Walk?  Contact Kris Wallach at or (916) 453-0254.

El Dorado, Sacramento & Yolo County Healthcare Events

OCTOBER 5:  California Colorectal Cancer Coalition 4th Annual Putt For Your Butt Golf Tournament, Turkey Creek Golf Club, 1525 Highway 193, Lincoln CA.  Please join C4 in a great day of golf while helping to raise money for colorectal cancer awareness, increase access to screening, and projects to help uninsured and underinsured Californians get screening.  Click here to register.

OCTOBER 6:  Physicians for Social Responsibility Sacramento Chapter, 10th Annual Dinner, at the California State University, Sacramento Alumni Center.  Keynote speaker:  Ms. Julie Leftwich, Executive Director of Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, an organization formed after a 1993 assault weapon rampage at a law firm in San Francisco which killed eight people.  Ms. Leftwich will speak on “Gun Violence and Gun Laws in the USA – Standing our ground for sensible firearm regulations.”  Tickets for the dinner are $50 ($25/student); talk is only $15 ($10/student). RSVP by Oct. 2  For more information, click the link above or email, or call (916) 955-6333.


OCTOBER 13:  A Gift Gathering Party for SSVMS Alliance’s Art of Medicine, 5:00pm – 8:00pm, at Caverna 57, 836 57th Street, Sacramento.  Come join the SSVMS Alliance for good food and good company, and help them fill their wine vault for auction at the Art of Medicine on April 26th.  Click here for details and to RSVP.

OCTOBER 19:  Healthy Kids Day, Valley High School, 6300 Erhardt Avenue, Sacramento.  Health coverage information and free resources, flu shots and dental screenings for the whole family.  Click here for more information regarding the event.

To submit a community healthcare event for possible publication, email  Events should be physician-focused and should take place in or near El Dorado, Sacramento, or Yolo counties.

SSVMS/CMA has partnered with Mayaco to offer members discounted website development services for their practices.  Now is the time to advance to the next level of technology and put your practice on the web!  Choose from a Basic or Premier package depending on the needs and size of your practice.  Members receive up to $1,000 off a website package that also includes staff training, ongoing website maintenance, and providing a mobile-friendly web design.  For more information, contact SSVMS or (916) 452-2671, or visit