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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 7



Click here to read the July/August 2013 issue of SSV Medicine.

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MICRA Under Attack by Trial Attorneys.  The trial lawyers and their front group "Consumer Watchdog" have launched an attack on California’s historic tort reform law, Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA).  California's critical MICRA protections are a national success story, safeguarding patients and their access to care for almost 40 years.  This year, physicians practicing in El Dorado, Sacramento, and Yolo Counties are saving an average of $93,748 in malpractice premiums because of MICRA.  Click here to view the 2013 MICRA Savings Chart.  SSVMS/CMA membership has never been so valuable.

Your help is critical to our continued success in protecting MICRA.  SSVMS/CMA membership is crucial – ask those who are not members to join.  Please also consider donating to CALPAC to your fullest ability and asking your colleagues to donate.

Scope-of-Practice Bills To Be Heard Soon:  Urge your legislator to OPPOSE bills to expand scope of non-physician practitioners.  SSVMS and CMA are urging physicians to call their legislators and ask for NO votes on SB 491, SB 492 and SB 493.  These three bills will expand scope of practice and remove necessary supervision by a physician.  All three of these bills will be heard in the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee in several weeks:
SB 491 (Hernandez) – This bill would allow nurse practitioners to open practices without any oversight from a trained medical doctor and prescribe dangerous, addictive drugs without supervision.


SB 492 (Hernandez) – This bill would allow optometrists to provide primary care services including diagnosing diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension.

SB 493 (Hernandez) – This bill would allow advanced practice pharmacists to evaluate and manage diseases and health conditions without physician consultation.

Legislators need to know the true impact these bills would have in their districts.  We ask that you and your colleagues call, fax or email your legislators TODAY and urge them to vote NO on SB 491, SB 492 and SB 493.  Take action now by calling (877) 362-8455 to be connected directly to your legislator and ask them for NO votes on these scope-of-practice bills.  Click here for talking points, background information, and sample letters.

Despite Surplus, State Budget Slashes Medi-Cal Rates.  On June 14, the California Legislature passed a $234 billion budget that will cut Medi-Cal payments to physicians and other providers by 10%.  Click here for more information.

SSVMS Members and Patients Rally Against Cuts to Medi-Cal.  SSVMS/CMA is part of an unprecedented coalition of physicians, dentists, health care workers and hospitals working to stop the 10 percent Medi-Cal reimbursement rate cut.  In a first-of-its-kind rally, the coalition, called “We Care for California," gathered over 8,000 providers and patients from across the state at the Capitol on June 4 to urge the legislature to not cut Medi-Cal.  See links below for local coverage of the event.


Doctors, Hospitals, Unions Push to Stop Medi-Cal Cuts
Sacramento Bee – June 5, 2013
Audio: Thousands Gather at State Capitol to Protest Medi-Cal Cuts
Capitol Public Radio (NPR) – June 4, 2013
Video: Providers Rally at Capitol Over Medi-Cal Cuts
KOVR (CBS) – June 4, 2013
Video: Thousands Attend Rally to Fight Gov. Brown’s Proposed Medi-Cal Cuts
KOVR (CBS) – June 4, 2013
Video: Thousands Gather at Capitol to Protest Medi-Cal Cuts
KCRA (NBC) – June 4, 2013
Video: Protesters Gather at Capitol to Oppose Medi-Cal Cuts
KTXL (FOX) – June 4, 2013
Video: Protesters Seek More Money for Medi-Cal
KXTV (ABC) – June 4, 2013
Video: Massive Healthcare Rally in Sacramento
KUVS (Univision) – June 4, 2013
Video: People Gather to Stop Medi-Cal Cuts
KQCA (MyNetworkTV) – June 4, 2013
Audio: People Gather to Protest Medi-Cal Cuts
KFBK-AM – June 4, 2013
Lawmakers Join Rally Against 10% Cut to Medi-Cal Reimbursements
California Healthline – June 5, 2013
Healthcare Workers Say Stop Medi-Cal Cuts of $1 Billion
Sacramento Press – June 4, 2013
Massive Sacramento Rally Challenges Medi-Cal Cuts
Sacramento Bee – June 4, 2013
Thousands Chant ‘Stop the Cuts’ at Healthcare Rally
Sacramento Business Journal – June 4, 2013


“Early Boarding” for Medicare Transition Now Available.  California’s Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) will transition from Palmetto GBA to Noridian Administrative Services on September 16, 2013.  “Early boarding” has begun for Medicare providers in California.  Early boarding allows vendors and clearinghouses to connect to Noridian’s Electronic Data Interchange Support Services (EDISS) gateway system prior to the actual transition date.  Submitting electronic claims and getting the connections to Noridian established and tested early, affords ample time to address any difficulties that may be encountered.  Information about how to set-up “early boarding” is available through this link to the Noridian website:  Early Boarding.

CMA Offers Guidance for Smooth Medicare Transition.  Is the upcoming Medicare transition making you nervous?  CMA is here for you every step of the way.  From FAQs, to transition guides, to assistance with early boarding, contact CMA’s Member Help Center at (800) 786-4262 or

Exchange Plans Selected for El Dorado, Sacramento and Yolo Counties.  California Covered, the state’s health benefit exchange, has selected the following plans to participate in the exchange:  Kaiser (HMO), Anthem Blue Cross (PPO, EPO, HMO), Blue Shield of California (PPO, EPO), Western Health Advantage (HMO) and Molina Healthcare (PPO).  Click here for more information.  Click here to download CMA’s Physician’s Guide to the Exchange.

Meaningful Use Payment Adjustments Are Coming Soon.  Beginning January 1, 2015, Medicare physicians who have not successfully attested to meaningful use of an EHR system may incur payment penalties, as mandated by the HITECH Act.  These payment adjustments are 1-2% of total Medicare charges in 2015, to 2% in 2016, and 3-5% in 2017 and beyond.  Medicaid rates will not be adjusted for failure to achieve meaningful use.  Click here for more information.


CMA Releases White Paper on Opioid Prescribing.  CMA has released a white paper titled: Opioid Analgesics in California: Relieving Pain, Preventing Misuse, Finding Balance, A Report on the Use of Opioid Medications.  The paper outlines a set of key recommendations, including: education for prescribers, policymakers and the public; increased use and funding of tools to improve patient safety; and obtaining additional California specific data on opioid use and misuse.  The executive summary can be found here and the full white paper can be found here.

Updated Hepatitis A Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Guidance.  The California Department of Public Health has issued an update of the Hepatitis A Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Guidance.  The Sacramento County Public Health Department is currently investigating cases of Hepatitis A linked to a multi-state outbreak due to consumption of Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Bland Frozen Berries purchased at Costco.  Click here for more information.

June 2013 Issue of CMA Practice Resources is Now AvailableIn this issue:

  • New TRICARE Contract Might Create Gap in Medical Malpractice Coverage:  Click Here
  • Federal Medi-Cal Audits to Begin in June:  Click Here
  • Medi-Cal to Delay Payments for up to Three Weeks in June:  Click Here
  • Covered California Unveils Plans for New Online Health Insurance Marketplace:  Click Here
  • CMA Member Survey Confirms Significant Problems With TRICARE Transition:  Click Here
  • Noridian Transition Update:  Click Here
  • Three Weeks Left to Avoid the 2% E-prescribing Penalty in 2014:  Click Here
  • Anthem Blue Cross Annual Medicare Advantage Chart Review Underway:  Click Here
  • United Healthcare to Require Prior Authorization for Outpatient Radiology and Cardiology Services:  Click Here
  • Did You Know?  Blue Cross Offers Interpreter Services, Including Sign Language Interpreters:  Click Here
  • Begin Reporting PQRS to Avoid Future Payment Adjustments:  Click Here
  • The Coding Corner: Avoid Common Place-of-service Coding Errors:  Click Here


All webinars are free for SSVMS/CMA members and their staff.  The nonmember price is $99 per webinar.  For more information, or to register, click on the links or contact CMA’s member-help center, (800) 786-4262 or visit

JULY 18:  Preparing for Phases 3 & 4 of the Healthy Families Program Transition to Medi-Cal, (Webinar), 12:15pm – 1:15pm.  Presented by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), this webinar will increase understanding and awareness of the transition planned for Phase 3 and Phase 4, scheduled to occur August 1 and September 1, respectively, and discuss adequacy of the provider network and ways to prepare for their patients’ questions on transition, continuity of care, and coverage.  1.00 CEU CREDIT.

JULY 24:  Protect and Preserve Your Patient Relationships, (Webinar), 12:15pm – 1:15pm.  Presented by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), this webinar will help you increase understanding and awareness of the impact of fraud, waste and abuse on patient care, and discuss methods to prevent abuse and ways to preserve the integrity of the physician/patient relationship.  1.00 CEU CREDIT.

AUGUST 7:  Medical History Lecture Series, Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical History Museum, 5380 Elvas Ave, Sacramento, 7:00pm.  Bill Hollingshead and Dr. Margaret Portwood jointly present on Polio, Post Eradication, and the Post-Polio Syndrome.  Mr. Bill Hollingshead will share his experiences as a teenager, when he developed polio, and his involvement with Rotary International in worldwide polio eradication.  He will also share his current problems with post-polio syndrome and Dr. Portwood will also discuss various aspects of the post-polio syndrome.  Please RSVP to SSVMS at (916) 452-2671.  Seating is limited.


SEPTEMBER 14 – 15:  Leader’s Toolkit:  A Two-Day Course for Physicians Seeking Leadership Roles in Organized Medicine, at the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society, 5380 Elvas Avenue, Sacramento.  This is an interactive seminar designed for physicians interested in leadership roles.  Topics include: strategic planning and execution; building your team (hiring and firing); leading your team; setting priorities and managing your time; managing meetings; managing your organization’s money; communication, etc.  Class size is limited to 16 attendees and reservations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis.  To register, contact Jennifer Moller of CMA at or (916) 551-2541.  Click here for more information.

SEPTEMBER 14 – 15:  13th Annual Ethnic Physician Leadership Summit, Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa, Henderson NV.  The Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO) has recently announced its 13th Annual Leadership Summit.  For more information, or to register for NEPO’s annual event, please click here.

This free walking program is sponsored by SSVMS and 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

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.

JULY 10:  Reception in Honor of Assemblymember Ken Cooley, 5:30pm – 6:30pm, at the Sacramento District Dental Society, 2035 Hurley Way, Suite 200, Sacramento.  Join Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP) for an evening reception with Assemblymember Ken Cooley.  RSVP to Marissa Allen at or by calling (916) 448-7992.

Highlighted Membership Benefit:Maximize Your Member Benefits with Assistance from CMA’s Center for Economic Services.  As a member benefit, CMA’s Center for Economic Services is available to help you with questions on a myriad of practice management, reimbursement and contracting issues.  We work with member physicians and their staff on a daily basis to provide information on topics such as Medicare quality reporting programs, including meaningful use and PQRS, compliance and Medicare audits, privacy and security rules, Medicare payment and many more key issues impacting medical practices.

Contact CMA at or call the CMA Member Help Center at (800) 786-4262 with your questions.