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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 2



SSVMS Member Olivia Kasirye, MD, Named Public Health Officer for Sacramento County.  Dr. Kasirye has been with El Dorado County as Public Health Officer since August 2009 and has more than 20 years of experience including her work as the Medical Director of the Sacramento County Child Health and Disability Prevention Program and the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program as well as the Communicable Disease Controller.  She assumed her new position with Sacramento County on February 8, 2012.

Influenza Health Advisory, Situation Update, February 16, 2012, County of Sacramento.
Statewide influenza activity is now at an alert level.  Actions Requested of All Clinicians:  1.  Report via fax to Sacramento County Division of Public Health (916) 875-4069 laboratory-confirmed cases of seasonal influenza that have been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit; 2.  Treat early with oseltamivir or zanamivir patients with suspected or confirmed influenza who are hospitalized for severe illness or who are at high risk for influenza associated complications; 3.  Encourage influenza vaccination for anyone 6 months of age and older and pneumococcal vaccination for those at increased risk of pneumococcal disease.  As Healthcare providers, be an example and get vaccinated; 4.  Implement infection control precautions:  a. All persons with FEVER or COUGH should wear a face mask, if tolerated in all health care settings; b. All persons with Influenza Like Illness should stay home until 24 hours after fever resolves, except patients that require medical evaluation and care.  5. Masking policy for Health Care Workers with direct patient contact should be implemented.  For information about immunization services contact the Sacramento County Immunization Assistance Program at (916) 875-7468.  Click here to read the Influenza Alert that was recently sent to hospitals and paramedics in Sacramento County.



Member Dues Dollars Block State’s Attempt to Cut Medi-Cal Reimbursement Rates
On February 1, because of the efforts of a coalition (which spent over $1 million in legal fees) led by CMA, a federal judge’s ruling blocked a 10% Medi-Cal reimbursement rate reduction.  To read more about the CMA et al. vs. Douglas victory, click here.

California’s Request to Impose Mandatory Medi-Cal Co-Pays Rejected
On February 6, CMS rejected California’s request to impose mandatory co-payments for Medi-Cal patients.  The co-pays — which would have included physician office and clinic visits ($5), emergency room visits ($50), and inpatient hospital stays ($100 per day up to a $200 maximum) — was another attempt by the State to balance the budget by slashing Medi-Cal.  Click here to read more.

SSVMS members – your membership made it possible for us to stop the 10% Medi-Cal cuts and to stop the mandatory Medi-Cal co-payments.  This advocacy benefits all physicians. Please encourage your colleagues to join SSVMS and support our advocacy efforts.


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.



Congress Stops Medicare SGR Cut But Fails to Adopt Long Term Medicare Fix.  On February 16, a Congressional Conference Committee reached an agreement to extend the Social Security payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance benefits and to stop the 27.4% Medicare fee-for-service SGR payment cut.  While the agreement stops the 27.4% Medicare payment cut, Congress failed to adopt a permanent solution to repeal the flawed SGR payment formula that imposes annual payment cuts on physicians.  Congress missed a unique opportunity to repeal the Medicare SGR by using the unspent war funds resulting from the early military withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, a solution proposed by CMA.  Instead, Congress opted to kick the can down the road for 10 months.  The 10-month Medicare SGR patch costs nearly $20 billion and is paid for by:

  • Reducing the public health fund in the Affordable Care Act by $5 billion (with the President’s approval)
  • Reducing payments to disproportionate share hospitals
  • Lowering compensation for hospital bad debts 
  • Cutting Medicaid funds targeted to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. 
  • It does not include the House-passed Medicare beneficiary premium increases which originally helped to pay for the SGR block.

Congress’ failure to adopt a long-term solution will continue to drive physicians out of the Medicare program and further erode patient access to care.  Physicians are now faced with an even larger 35% Medicare payment cut in 2013.

AMA Advocacy Persuades CMS Not to Extend EMTALA to Inpatients
On December 23, 2010, CMS published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on EMTALA, indicating that CMS was reconsidering its current policy, which provides that: 1) a hospital’s EMTALA obligation ends upon the admission of a patient as an inpatient; and 2) EMTALA does not apply to the transfer of an inpatient to a hospital with specialized capabilities.  AMA submitted comments in response, strongly objecting to the extension of EMTALA to the inpatient setting or to the transfer of an inpatient to a hospital with specialized capabilities.  On February 2, 2012, CMS published a Request for Comment in which it states that it is maintaining its current policy that EMTALA does not extend to inpatients or to the transfer of inpatients to hospitals with specialized capabilities.  CMS says that it will continue to monitor whether it may be appropriate in the future to reconsider the inapplicability of EMTALA to the transfer of inpatients to hospitals with specialized capabilities, and invites comment on that issue.  AMA plans to comment in support of CMS’ decision not to extend EMTALA.

CMS Requires New ABN Form for 2012
Effective January 1, 2012, CMS has implemented a revised Advanced Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage (ABN), Form CMS-R-131.  This form is used by physicians when they expect Medicare will deny payment and to notify patients of their financial responsibility for those noncovered services.  All ABNs with the release date of 3/2008 that are issued on or after January 1, 2012, will be considered invalid.  The latest version of the ABN (with the release date of 3/2011 printed in the lower left-hand corner) and further information on the change is available on the CMS website.  Click here to read more.



MAR 7:  Managing Difficult Employees and Reducing Conflict in the Practice (CMA Webinar) 12:15 – 1:15 pm.  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.  This webinar is offered at no cost to SSVMS/CMA members. Nonmember cost is $99.  For more information or to register, click here or contact CMA’s member-help center, (800) 786-4262 or

MAR 8-10:  Stepping Up To Leadership:  IMQ/PACE Platinum Training Program for Physician Leaders – San Diego.  Medical staff leaders learn to build consensus among departments, to navigate legal challenges and to hold critical conversations concerning an impaired colleague, as well as how to run a productive committee meeting, link PI data with privileging decisions, or manage a physician who exhibits disruptive behavior.  Click here for more details or to register.

MAR 21:  HIPAA Update 2012 (CMA Webinar) 12:15 – 1:15 pm Are you compliant with HIPAA?  Many new rules have been put in place including a major update on HIPAA and the HITECH Act.  This webinar provides instruction on how to achieve compliance with these new rules as well as compliance with the existing HIPAA Privacy and Security rules and relevant California privacy laws. This webinar is offered at no cost to SSVMS/CMA members. Nonmember cost is $99. For more information or to register, click here or contact CMA’s member-help center, (800) 786-4262 or

APR 16-20:  For the first time, CMA and SSVMS has obtained permission to display medical artifacts from Sierra Sacramento Valley’s Medical History Museum in the Capitol Rotunda from April 16-20.  Great opportunity to visit the display while attending the CMA Legislative Leadership Conference (see next item).

APR 17:  CMA Legislative Leadership Conference, Sacramento Convention Center, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm.
Members have the unique opportunity to join more than 400 physicians, medical students and CMA Alliance members who come to Sacramento to lobby their legislative leaders as champions for medicine and their patients.  The morning includes speeches from a number of key legislative leaders including California Attorney General Kamala Harris who will be the keynote speaker at the conference.  In the afternoon, attendees will meet with legislators on health care issues.  Please contact SSVMS at (916) 452-2671 or if you are interested in attending.

APR 27-29:  California Healthcare Leadership Conference, Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim.
The West Coast’s premiere opportunity for physicians, practice managers, and other health care leaders to learn about the leading-edge trends and developments in the rapidly changing health care marketplace, to access information and tools to help ensure the viability of medical practice, and to acquire the leadership skills needed to successfully manage change.  For more information and to register, call (800) 795-2262 or visit or

APR 29The Art of Medicine Auction and Concert, Del Paso County Club, Sacramento. Sponsored by the SSVMS Alliance and benefiting Community Health Grants and Scholarships for those entering the medical professions.  For more information and to register, click here or contact Gabriella Neubuerger at



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.

UC Davis Medical Students to Open Clinic in Yolo CountyStudents at UC Davis' School of Medicine will operate a new primary health care clinic in rural Yolo County's Knights Landing for low-income and uninsured residents every third Sunday of the month.  The clinic, which will also be staffed by volunteer physicians, nurses and graduate students in public health, is one of seven no-cost clinics operated by the medical school's students.  Read more...

FEB 24:  Moving Towards an Integrated Model of Care:  A Workshop for ER Nurses, Psychiatric Nurses and Students.  Courtyard by Marriott Ballroom, 4422 Y Street, Sacramento, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Sponsored by UC Davis Health System.  RSVP to the UCD Center for Reducing Health Disparities at (916) 703-9211 or

FEB 28:  An Evening with Dr. David Ansell, Author of County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago’s Public HospitalUC Davis Cancer Center Auditorium, 4501 X Street, 5:00 pm. Sponsored by UC Davis Health System.  RSVP:

MAR 30-APR 2: Remote Area Medical (RAM) Clinic, Cal Expo, Sacramento.  Physician volunteers are needed to provide free vision, dental, and medical services.  For more information and to register as a volunteer, please go to

APR 24:  Palmetto/Medicare Spring Fling, 7:30 am – 4:30 pm Sacramento Convention Center.  Physicians and billing staff will receive updates on Medicare Part B, website navigation, top claims submission errors, best practices for Medicare compliance, surviving Medicare audits, ICD-10 and more.  Access the event registration portal at



CMA Reimbursement Help Line – (888) 401-5911
The California Medical Association’s Center for Economic Services (CES) provides direct reimbursement assistance to CMA physician members and their office staff.  CES has successfully recouped over $6.4 million from insurance companies on behalf of member physicians in the past two years.  CES is staffed by practice management experts with a combined experience of over 125 years in medical practice operations.  Access to CES services is a member-only benefit.  Contact CMA’s reimbursement experts at (888) 401-5911 or