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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 - 2012 - Volume 1 - Issue 1



January is Cervical Health Awareness Month
The California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation, as part of national Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, has developed resources for physicians and their patients focusing on cervical cancer prevention, including the HPV vaccination. For more information visit the CMA Foundation website at

CMA accepting nominations of physicians to serve on Clinical Lab Technology Advisory Committee
CMA is accepting nominations of physicians to serve on the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Clinical Laboratory Technology Advisory Committee (CLTAC). Interested candidates, especially those who are engaged in office-based laboratory testing, are invited to submit a statement of interest and a current CV demonstrating their qualifications and background to Kimberly Henning at or fax (916) 444-5689 no later than February 17, 2012.


Last Chance to Urge Congress to Stop the 27.4% Medicare Cut
In December, the House agreed to extend the budget bill for two months and prevent the 27.4 percent Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) cut to physician reimbursement from going into effect on January 1, 2012.  A House-Senate conference committee will begin work in late January on a longer-term agreement, including a permanent solution to SGR.  Now is the time for physicians to speak with one voice and to let Congress know that physicians should not be forced to finance the Medicare program.


  • Let SSVMS send a fax to Congress on your behalf.  All you have to do is print and sign a letter by clicking here and fax it to SSVMS at (916) 452-2690 or scan/email to  The Medical Society will fax your letter to the Congressional Leadership, to your U.S. Representative and to Senators Boxer and Feinstein. 
  • Call AMA’s grassroots hotline at (800) 833-6354.  You will be asked to enter your zip code and select your representative.
  • Email your U.S. Representative and Senators Boxer and Feinstein via, and

Tell your Representatives and Senators Boxer and Feinstein that:

  1. The Medicare SGR cut must be stopped once and for all.
  2. The cuts will harm access to care for 5 million California seniors.
  3. The cuts will wreak havoc on physician practices.
  4. Physicians should not be forced to finance the Medicare program because of Congress’s irresponsibility.

For more information, contact Aileen Wetzel, SSVMS Executive Director at 916/452-2671 or

New 2012 Medicare fee-for-service payment rates to take effect in January
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has confirmed that changes that were included in the Medicare physician payment final rule for 2012 will take effect January 1, 2012.  Numerous changes were made to the relative value units, geographic practice cost indexes, and multiple procedure payment rules for 2012.  Changes to electronic prescribing reporting and quality reporting programs will also be implemented.  For more information, download the CMA resource “Medicare Part B 2012 Important Changes: What They Mean to Your Practice.”  

2012 Medicare Quality Reporting Program
Several important changes in the Medicare quality-reporting program for physicians take effect in 2012.  Physicians who participate between 2011 and 2014 are eligible for incentive payments.  Those who do not participate in 2013 and beyond will face a penalty beginning in 2015.  Click here for more information.

CMS eases 5010 claim submission deadline
In December, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated instructions for the 5010 transition.  Thus, Palmetto GBA will not reject compliant version 4010 transactions before April 1, 2012.  CMS has not yet published the exact date they will begin rejecting 4010 transactions.  For more information on the 5010 transition and to download a copy of CMA’s 5010 Resource Guide, click here.


DHCS Announces Plan to Recoup Provider Payments for Medi-Cal
In November, CMA filed a lawsuit alleging that DHCS violated a federal law that requires that Medi-Cal patients have the same access to physicians and other health care providers as the general insured public.  The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) recently announced that it intends to recoup a 10% reduction in Medi-Cal provider payments retroactive to June 1, 2011, and that it is currently evaluating how and from whom they will require payment corrections.  Click here for more information.

Take Action

  • Contact Aileen Wetzel, SSVMS Executive Director at (916) 452-2671 or, if you, your clinic, or your medical group can no longer afford to treat Medi-Cal patients, cannot find specialists who take Medi-Cal patients, or would otherwise be negatively impacted by the recent cuts that California made to the Medi-Cal program.

Governor’s Proposed 2012-13 Budget
Governor Brown’s recently released budget includes, among other things, a proposal to eliminate the Healthy Families program, mandatory enrollment of Medi-Cal/Medicare dual eligible into Medi-Cal managed care, and the expansion of Medi-Cal managed care into rural counties.  For more information and to read CMA’s response to the Governor’s budget proposal, click here.

Medi-Cal EHR Incentive Program open for enrollment
Enrollment in the California Department of Health Care Services’ electronic health record (EHR) incentive program is now open to individual providers.  Individual physicians that enroll in the program are eligible for $63,750 in incentives.  Click here for more information on how to qualify for the incentives and to download a copy of CMA’s Physician Guidebook for Meaningful Use.

Blue Cross Announces Changes to Prudent Buyer Contract
Anthem Blue Cross has notified its contracting physicians of impending changes to its Prudent Buyer Participating Physician Agreement, which will become effective April 1, 2012.  The amendment, which was sent out in December, includes an expanded confidentiality provision and several modifications to Exhibit F, which pertains to the Blue Cross Medicare Advantage PPO product.  The amendment also modifies the reimbursement rates at which physicians will be paid for providing workers’ compensation services.  Click here for further details.

The following CMA webinars are offered at no cost to Medical Society/CMA members.  Non-member cost is $99.  For more information, to register, or to view the full CMA event calendar online, visit

JAN 25:  “Medicare E&M Audits,”12:15-2:00 p.m.  Learn about Evaluation and Management documentation and recommendations as well the results of recent Palmetto GBA Medicare audits.

FEB 1:  “Key Financial Ratios to Increase Profitability,” 12:15-1:15 p.m.  Learn to analyze practice profit/loss statements, accounts receivable and staffing radios and how to benchmark your practice compared to “best practices” in your specialty.

FEB 15:  “HIPAA Risk Analysis for Meaningful Use,” 12:15-1:15 p.m.  Learn key steps needed to complete a HIPAA Security Risk Analysis to qualify for EHR Meaningful Use.

MAR 7:  “Managing Difficult Employees and Reducing Conflict in the Practice,” 12:15-1:15 p.m.  Learn how to lead, coach and manage difficult employees, set practice values and reduce conflict in the workplace.

MAR 21:  “HIPAA Update 2012,” 12:15-1:15 p.m.  Learn how to achieve compliance with new HIPAA and HITECH Act rules.


El Dorado, Sacramento and Yolo County Healthcare Events
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.

JAN 28:  32nd Annual Wine Tasting and Auction benefiting student-run medical clinics, UC Davis Medical School, Sacramento.  Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

JAN 31:  Ashley Lectureship, Shriners Hospital for Children, Sacramento.  Visiting professor Matthew Dobbs, M.D., a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon specializing in clubfeet and genetics of the lower extremities, will give three lectures at Shriners Hospital for Children.  For more information, click here or contact Patti Barnes at (916) 453-2049 or by email at

FEB 7:  Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP) 16th Annual Conference, “California’s March to 2014:  Paving the Road to Health Care Reform.” at the Sacramento Convention Center.  Click here for more information and to register.

APR 29:  The Art of Medicine Auction and Concert, sponsored by SSVMS Alliance benefiting Community Health Grants and Scholarships for those entering the medical professions.  The Alliance is looking to showcase artists from our own medical community as well as artists and galleries throughout Sacramento.  To donate wine, art, or jewelry for the auction, or for information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Gabriella Neubuerger at or (916) 736-1613.  All donations are tax deductible.


Featured Medical Society Member Benefits

SSVMS Members with an iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, and Now Any Android-based Phones and Tablets Receive a Free Subscription to DocBookMD!
DocBookMD gives you the entire El Dorado, Sacramento, and Yolo county physician (members and nonmembers) database on your mobile devices.  Bonus: You can HIPAA-compliantly, bi-directionally communicate confidential patient information, including photos, with other members who have signed up for the system.  For details, click here or contact Melissa Darling at (916) 452-2671.

Exercise your benefits!
Start the new year off right by using one of your SSVMS member benefits.  Members have an opportunity to reduce their practice expenses by saving on their workers' compensation premium.  Non-members: see what you can save if you were a member to help pay your membership dues.  Visit to complete and return a brief premium indication form, or call Marsh, our sponsored insurance program administrator, at 800-842-3761 for immediate answers to your questions.