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April 2015
In this Issue
  • Top ISMS Headlines April 17, 2015


    For Social Security Disability Benefits
    Bill Would Limit, then Prohibit Physicians from Charging for Medical Record Copying  

    A bill introduced into the General Assembly (H.B. 3845) would replace current regulations on fees for copying medical records for Social Security disability benefits.  

    The legislation proposes a $20 fee per medical record request for five years.  After five years, physicians would be prohibited from charging any fee for copying medical records.  

    In other words, this bill would force physician practices to unfairly absorb the costs of copying medical records in these instances.  

    Fees for copying medical record are already limited by both state and federal law.  

    ISMS believes the current limits on fees are fair for both the patient and health care professionals and is strongly opposed to H.B. 3845.  

    Read ISMS' position paper.  

    chill"Chill the Champagne" - SGR Repeal Bill Headed to the White House!  legis

    Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which would repeal Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The Senate voted 92 to 8; last month the House passed the identical bill 392 to 37.  

    At press time, President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.  

    One of the key provisions of the bill is that it provides a 0.5 percent annual increase through 2019 and creates a new payment system with incentives. The legislation also ensures that federal health care guidelines and regulations are not misused in court to prove, or disprove, allegations of medical negligence.

    Thanks to all who contacted lawmakers to help ensure this historic development in health care, which affects more than 50 million senior citizens.  


    Attention ALL ISMS Members: 
    Comment on Resolutions by Midnight Tonight!

    Want a stake in shaping the future of medicine? Impact medical policy by commenting on ISMS resolutions via the online Virtual Reference Committee Forum, for Reference Committees B and C.  

    Any ISMS member can review and comment online before the forum closes at the stroke of midnight, Friday April 17.  

    The ISMS Annual Meeting and House of Delegates starts today and runs through Sunday.

    Questions? Call the HOD hotline at 312-853-4745 or send an email


    Study Crowns Illinois as "Lawsuit Abuse Capital of the Midwest"  lawsuit

    Earlier this week, the Illinois Civil Justice League (ICJL) announced the release of its comprehensive study, Litigation Imbalance III , which pulls back the curtain on Illinois' flawed legal environment. 

    The study highlights the disparity of case filings and verdict totals in Cook, Madison, St. Clair and three other downstate counties compared to the state's other 96 counties. While there was improvement in a significant portion of the state, lawsuit abuse had a boost in Cook, Madison and St. Clair counties. And Jackson, Jefferson and Williamson counties became newcomers to the lawsuit abuse list. 

    Litigation Imbalance III also reveals how Madison County likely handles one-third to one-half of all asbestos-related cases filed in the entire United States each year.  

    Lawsuit reform must be enacted to curb personal injury lawyers from "venue shopping" in the business litigation arena.  


    Review Your "Gift Data" By May 20 - Before it Goes Public 

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now reports data to the public about items of value given to physicians and teaching hospitals - known as the "Open Payments Program." 

    ISMS strongly encourages physicians to review this data. 

    The 45-day period to review and dispute open payments data is now in full swing, running through May 20; access the AMA's website for step-by-step instructions

    Disputes initiated by May 20 will be flagged in the public release scheduled for June 30.


    Pardon the Dust: Health Care Delivery Options "Under Construction" 

    In the United States, health care delivery is undergoing a dramatic transformation as it pertains to where people get their health care, how they get it, and who provides it. 

    Learn about the new delivery models when the Southern Illinois Healthcare/Southern Illinois University Health Policy Institute presents Alternative Delivery Methods in Health Care: The Search for Quality and Efficiency

    The all-day event takes place May 22 in Carbondale from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., with an option to attend via teleconference in Springfield or Chicago. Register today. 

    ISMS is a co-sponsor. 

    get Get Specialty-Specific Instruction for ICD-10 

    The October 1 implementation deadline for ICD-10 is less than six months away! 

    So jumpstart your ICD-10 implementation with the AMA's ICD-10 Specialty Coding Summit, June 1-2, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Choose from the specialty coding, documentation and compliance tracks to match your patient mix.  

    CME available. 

    Register online or call 855-225-5341; download the brochure.


    Are Hidden Fees Sneaking into Your Electronic Claims Payments?  advocacy

    You may have noticed extra fees riding "piggyback" on your electronic claims payments.  

    That's because some health plans are charging excessive  fees or issuing virtual credit cards (VCCs) instead of using standard ACH EFT transactions for electronic claims payments - sometimes without even notifying you or offering you a choice!  

    Share your concerns and help advance advocacy efforts on payment issues by taking this brief AMA survey, which remains open until May 8.  

    The survey will take approximately five minutes and is confidential. 

    Questions? Contact ISMS Advocacy at 800-782-4767 ext. 1470 or send an email.

    Physicians Would Welcome Payment Codes for End-of-Life Planning Discussions 

    Word is that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services may initiate coverage for CPT codes to account for a physician's time spent discussing end-of-life planning with patients.  

    This type of discussion is a necessary part of medical care, whether the patient is facing a terminal illness or is currently healthy but wants to set up an end-of-life plan.  

    Due to ISMS' advocacy, new CPT codes were created in 2014 for end-of-life care discussions. However, Medicare determined that these services will not be paid for in 2015.  

    So let's hope progress continues on the billing codes so that physician payment may be realized for time spent on future planning with patients. 

    ISMS will keep you updated regarding any new developments. 


    It Can Happen to Anyone 

    ISMS urges members who are going through an adverse financial situation to apply for assistance via the Raymond E. Hoffmann, MD, Medical Benevolence Fund.  

    This money is not a loan - it is a gift that provides temporary financial support to member physicians during times of exceptional hardship. Surviving spouses or minor children are also eligible to apply for assistance.  

    To request an application or for more information, please contact Cheryl Koos at 800-782-4767 ext. 2493 or send her an email.   

    Applicants may be assured that their personal information is guarded by the highest confidentiality standards.  

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