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April 2015
In this Issue
  • Top ISMS Headlines April 3, 2015

    Mid-Session Legislative Update: What's New, What's In and What's Out

    Stop legislation to mandate physicians to offer Hep C screenings

    Independent APNS are pushing to eliminate collaborative agreements

    Coordinated effort needed to curb opioid abuse

    Trial Lawyer Backed Bill Attacks Medical Peer Review

    Naturopaths are NOT physicians

    Limit pharmacists authority to administer children's vaccines

    "Retired" status should be option for online physician profiles  

    Define "hospital affiliate" in medical practice acts

    Allow docs outside IL to provide medical care to their sports teams

    Fund Sweep Hits Medical Disciplinary Fund; Big Cuts to Medicaid Reimbursement Rates through June 30  

    "Close but No Cigar" for Permanent SGR Fix
    Attention ALL ISMS Members: Virtual Reference Committees Now Accepting Comments on Resolutions

    Elect IMPAC Council Members at this Month's Annual Meeting    


    Mid-Session Legislative Update: What's New, What's In and What's Out 

    With Illinois lawmakers now on recess, here's a mid-session "snapshot" of Springfield activity from the 99th General Assembly Spring Session. See what topics ISMS is championing, what legislation ISMS has defeated and what ISMS-backed legislation is successfully moving through the legislative pipeline.

    Stop legislation to mandate physicians to offer Hep C screenings 1
    As anticipated, legislation surfaced ( S.B. 661) that would mandate primary care physicians and other primary care professionals to offer Hepatitis C screenings to persons born between 1945 and 1965.

    ISMS agrees with the Hepatitis C screening guidelines of the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPTF) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but remains vehemently opposed to a mandate. Instead, ISMS continues to encourage its members to screen their Baby Boomers patients for Hepatitis C.  

    Also troubling, S.B. 661 does not offer immunity for health care professionals from criminal and civil liability and from professional discipline for failing to offer HCV screening, and does not put in place any guarantee of access to treatment for patients who test positive for Hepatitis C.

    Call to action: State senators are in their district offices until April 14. Contact your state senator NOW and urge him or her to vote NO on S.B. 661.

    APNS are pushing to eliminate collaborative agreements
    Advanced practice nurses (APNs) want to practice independently and are supporting legislation ( H.B. 421 and S.B. 1315) to eliminate the requirement to maintain a collaborative agreement with a physician when they practice outside of a hospital setting.

    H.B. 421 has been amended to remove objectionable language, but remains alive and ready for further amendment that will, hopefully, be the result of successful negotiations between ISMS and the Illinois Society for Advance Practice Nursing. The committee deadline for S.B.1315 has been extended to April 24. Watch for ISMS legislative alerts related to this issue.

    Coordinated effort needed to curb opioid abuse pills
    ISMS submitted a 30-page proposal to the Illinois House Task Force on the Heroin Crisis and the Illinois General Assembly to provide a framework for Illinois legislation on how to address the misuse of opioids, while still ensuring the quality of patient care. The proposal also includes recommendations as to how Illinois' Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) can be improved as a clinical tool.  

    Legislation introduced as House Amendment 1 to H.B.1 takes a much different approach from ISMS' proposal and contains provisions with which ISMS has major objections. Therefore, ISMS is strongly opposed to H.B.1 as currently amended. Also voicing opposition to the bill are other prescribers, pharmacies, pharmacists and hospitals. 

    Read ISMS' analysis of House Amendment 1 to H.B. 1.

    ISMS is continuing negotiations with the sponsors of the bill as it awaits further amendment in the House. 

    Trial lawyer-backed bill attacks medical peer review scales
    The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association is behind a proposed bill ( S.B. 1700) that would remove long-afforded confidentiality protections for physicians and hospitals engaging in peer review, research, and medical studies. This legislation repeals the Medical Studies Act, which was established by the Illinois General Assembly and then validated through our court system to ensure frank discussions for hospital peer review and quality control committees.  

    Illinois courts have consistently decided that confidentiality of documents and information that are a key part of the peer review committee process should be maintained and not made available to plaintiff attorneys. Passing S.B. 1700 would result in decreased patient safety and increased difficulty for Illinoisans to access quality health care. The Committee deadline was extended until April 24, so this bill is still very much alive.     

    View ISMS' S.B. 1700 position paper

    Naturopaths are NOT physicians 
    ISMS successfully defeated legislation ( S.B. 1601) that would have amended Illinois' Medical Practice Act to license "naturopathic physicians" to practice medicine. Naturopaths do not apply evidence-based principles and scientific study to their treatment modalities. Compared to medical school and residency training, a naturopathic education is minimal and insufficient for someone to be considered a physician. 

    Limit pharmacists authority to administer children's vaccines shot
    ISMS and the American Academy of Pediatrics successfully defeated legislation, H.B. 3627, an initiative of the Illinois Pharmacists Association, that would have allowed pharmacists to administer any vaccine to children 10 years and older.

    Currently, pharmacists are limited to administering the influenza and Tdap vaccines to children ages 10 to 13. Removing restrictions on the type of vaccination pharmacists can administer does not adequately protect a child's health, because they still need annual physician examinations; pharmacists are not qualified to provide this type of service.

    "Retired" status should be option for online physician profiles 
    ISMS initiative S.B. 1205 would amend the Patients' Right to Know Act so that a physician who is retired from active practice may use the title "Retired" on his or her physician profile. If a physician's status is retired, the bill would also remove the requirement to provide office addresses or other practice-specific information on the profile. The Illinois Senate passed this bill and the legislation is now before the House.

    Define "hospital affiliate" in medical practice acts 
    The Illinois Hospital Licensing Act allows advance practice nurses and physician assistants to practice at hospitals and hospital affiliates. But the Nurse Practice Act and Physician Assistant Practice Act do not include a definition of "hospital affiliate." Therefore, ISMS initiated S.B. 837 to address the missing term. The Illinois Senate passed S.B. 837 and the measure is now before the House.

    Allow docs outside IL to provide medical care to their sports teams
    ISMS initiative S.B. 785 would grant temporary licensure waivers for physicians who travel with their respective teams to Illinois for athletic events. Under current Illinois statute, a team's physician could provide medical service in Illinois only if he or she held a full and active Illinois medical license. This bill passed out of committee last week.   

    Your legislative team has been hard at work in Springfield, and we appreciate your efforts in responding to ISMS alerts by contacting lawmakers. 

    The General Assembly will reconvene on April 14. Stay tuned to the Legislative Action Hub and watch future editions of Physician Advocate

    Fund Sweep Hits Medical Disciplinary Fund; Big Cuts to Medicaid Reimbursement Rates through June 30fund

    They just can't keep their sticky fingers out of the Medical Disciplinary Fund.

    Lawmakers passed a budget last week ( H.B. 318) that will plug a $1.6 billion hole for the current budget ending June 30, sweeping 106 dedicated funds totaling $1.3 billion. Unfortunately, the Medical Disciplinary Fund was among them - taking a hit of $10 million.  

    The purpose of the Medical Disciplinary Fund, which is solely funded by physician licensure fees, is to pay for licensing and disciplining of physicians.

    The remaining budget deficient was met by a 2.25 percent across-the-board cut to most government programs, which includes a reduction in Medicaid reimbursement rates to physicians. But this reduction, which applies to the entire fiscal year, must be realized by June 30, so the cut is actually significantly larger than 2.25 percent. In other words, these budget reductions will cut even deeper into the already abysmally low Medicaid rates, which will hurt access for Medicaid patients.  

    ISMS is currently analyzing the full extent of this cut, and how it will  impact our members and their patients' access to care.

    Stay tuned!  

    "Close but No Cigar" for Permanent SGR Fix

    Congress adjourned for recess without reaching an agreement on H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act which would finally obliterate Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula once and for all. Last week, the legislation passed the House with a large bipartisan majority, but the Senate did not vote. 

    Therefore, April 1 has kicked in without a permanent solution or even a "temporary doc fix." In other words, physician services provided on and after April 1 may be subject to a devastating slash of 21 percent, unless the cut is reversed when Congress reconvenes in mid-April.

    CMS: Hold claims through April 14
    In the meantime, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is instructing its carriers to hold any claims for services provided on April 1 and beyond for a period of 10 business days.

    Physicians are encouraged to either continue charging the current 2015 rates for April dates of service or defer submitting claims until after final action on the legislation.

    Call to action: Urge Illinois Senators Durbin and Kirk to immediately address this issue upon their return from recess; send a message by phone at 800-833-6354 or by email.

    H.R. 2 would not only knock out the SGR, but it would increase payments to physicians by one-half of 1 percent every year through 2019 and ensure access to care for children and low-income individuals and families.

    ISMS joined 50 other national and state medical organizations in a communiqué to Congress urging immediate passage of H.R. 2 to stabilize the Medicare program for our nation's seniors.    


    Attention ALL ISMS Members:
    Virtual Reference Committees Now Accepting Comments on Resolutions

    The ISMS Annual Meeting and House of Delegates will be held April 17-19, but you can weigh in on the issues now via our online Virtual Reference Committee Forum.

    Members may view and submit comments on resolutions assigned to Reference Committees B and C. Here's a sampling of topics:

    • Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) mental health reporting
    • Use of virtual credit cards by third-party payers
    • Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care physicians
    • Proper immunization against measles
    • Medicare's requirement of a hospital inpatient admission as a condition of eligibility for receiving Medicare rehab nursing benefits in a skilled care facility
    • Illinois' medical cannabis pilot program

    Summaries are provided for each resolution. Your comments will ensure lively discussion among physicians from throughout the state, and will be provided to the reference committees to help them develop their recommendations. Don't forget to spread the word to colleagues who aren't attending the meeting: Any ISMS member can review and comment online.

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


    Elect IMPAC Council Members at this Month's Annual Meeting

    The annual meeting of the Illinois State Medical Political Action Committee (IMPAC) will take place Saturday, April 18, at the Oak Brook Hills Resort.

    Open to all IMPAC members, the meeting will begin upon the morning recess of the ISMS House of Delegates. Business will include the election of IMPAC Council members.

    Nominees for re-election to the IMPAC Council

    Jere E. Freidheim, MD, Chicago 
    Paul H. DeHaan, MD, McHenry
    obert J. Oliver, MD, Frankfort
    Sandra F. Olson, MD, Chicago
    Wayne V. Polek, MD, St. Charles
    John F. Schneider, MD, Flossmoor
    M. LeRoy Sprang, MD, Skokie
    Shastri Swaminathan, MD, Oak Brook

    New nominees for election to the IMPAC Council

    Hythem Shadid, MD, St. Charles
    Eldon A. Trame, MD, Belleville
    Edward A. Pont, MD, Oak Park

    For more information, please contact Erin O'Brien at 800-782-4767 ext. 6488 or by email.

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