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January 2015
In this Issue
  • Top ISMS Headlines January 9, 2015


    good2015: Good Bills Law of the Land; Bad Bills Corralled  spring-capitol

    Last year's Illinois General Assembly marked key wins for Illinois physicians and patients. Here's a recap of new laws in Illinois. 

    >> Read more

    Lawmakers Usurp 200-Year History by Slashing Jury Size 

    Effective June 1, a new law (S.B. 3075) will reduce the number of jurors serving on civil trials from 12 to six.

    ISMS had urged Governor Quinn to veto the bill, which deprives both parties of the fairest possible outcome. Furthermore, a jury of six may tend to deliver a larger award, which means more cash for plaintiff lawyers - who initiated the legislation.  



    Prepare to Navigate a Medical Emergency - at Cruising Altitude

    Are you aware of airline emergency protocols, the contents of the airplane's standard emergency medical kit and related professional liability protections? 

    If not, when faced with an in-flight medical emergency (IFME) precious time would be spent "getting up to speed" that could be better spent caring for the patient.

    So check out these resources and be prepared when a flight attendant asks, "Is there a medical doctor on board this aircraft?"

    ISMS House of Delegates adopted Resolution C312 (A-14) Improving the Handling of In-Flight Medical Emergencies (IFME) at its 2014 Annual Meeting.

    inIn the Fight Against Flu, Arm Yourself With These Resourcesflu

    Although this year's flu bug is a formidable foe, it helps to be aware of resources that you can access to stay a step ahead of the growing epidemic. In addition to offering influenza vaccinations to patients throughout the flu season, check out the following:

    • The 2015 Influenza Formulation and Coding Guide is an exclusive ISMS member resource that features information on ordering, tracking, billing and administering the flu vaccine. For instance, the vaccine for commercially insured patients is coded and billed differently
      than the one for Medicare patients. 

    • The Illinois Department of Public Health's Seasonal Influenza webpage has info on where to get flu vaccine and a preparation guide for businesses and employers.

    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases detailed surveillance reports of flu activity each week, along with updated postings and statements on the current severity of the virus nationwide.

    As for patients, you may wish to provide them with the CDC's action steps to flu prevention flyer, containing practical prevention tips.

    Before flu knocks your patients out, tap these resources and help them fight back. 


    CMS Announces 14-Day Hold on Physician Medicare Claims

    Due to technical errors found in the latest Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, CMS announced it will hold Medicare claims containing 2015 services for the first 14 calendar days of January 2015.

    The delay allows time for CMS to correct the errors, and should not be disruptive to your practice as under current law, electronic claims are not paid earlier than 14 days after the date of receipt anyway.

    The hold does not apply to claims submitted on or before Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014.

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


    Counseling Patients on End-of-Life Care is an Essential Professional Service

    ISMS sent a communiqué to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to convey disappointment that CPT codes 99497 and 99498 on advance care planning, which ISMS initiated, were not approved for physician reimbursement in 2015.

    Discussing patients' wishes and desires for end-of-life care is a valuable service and physicians should be reimbursed for their time and expertise.

    We will continue to advocate for physicians and patients to have opportunities for these delicate discussions and for Medicare to recognize the value of advance care planning.

    PQRS: Report Now ... Or Pay Later

    Avoid a financial penalty from the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016 by satisfying your 2014 requirements before the applicable 2015 deadline.

    For physicians submitting data directly from their EHR through a vendor or via qualified clinical-data registry, the deadline is February 28. For group practices, it's March 20. If you're reporting through a specialty board-related maintenance of certification organization, it's March 31.

    Here's the full list of 2015 PQRS deadlines and here are step-by-step instructions on how to report to PQRS.

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

    MoreMore ACOs Opening in the Land of Lincoln

    The Affordable Care Act encourages physicians, hospitals and other health care professionals to form networks or Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to coordinate patient care and become eligible for bonuses when they deliver that care more efficiently.

    Joining the current roster of Illinois' ACOs, nine new ones will begin operating in Illinois to serve Medicare patients in 2015: 

    1. Cadence Health
    2. Centegra
    3. Franciscan Alliance
    4. IL Critical Access Hospital Network
    5. Loyola Physician Partners
    6. National Rural ACO Consortium (multiple states including IL)
    7. Rockford Health System - Regional Health Network
    8. US Surgical Partners/St. Louis Physician Alliance
    9. Springfield Clinic

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


    Free CME Activities:  Address
    Address Opioid Dependence with New Treatments and Tools

    The Providers' Clinical Support System for Medication Assisted Treatment (PCSS-MAT) 
    is focused on addressing the prescription opioid misuse epidemic with the use of medication-assisted treatment.

    Check out PCSS-MAT's clinical online modules and webinars and earn CME credit. The project also  provides support for health care professionals treating patients with opioid dependence through its mentor program.

    ISMS is leading the charge toward safer opioid prescribing in Illinois. Visit our comprehensive opioids webpage with resources to assist prescribers, patients and policymakers, including a free on-demand webinar covering opioid risk evaluation mitigation strategy.

    Questions? Contact the ISMS Division of Health Policy Research and Advocacy via email or call 800-782-4767 ext. 1470.

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