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May 2015
In this Issue
  • Top ISMS Headlines May 1, 2015


    No Mandates! Bill Would Force Docs to Offer Hep C Screenings to Baby Boomers  

    S.B. 661, now before the Illinois House, would mandate primary care physicians and related health care professionals to offer Hepatitis C screening to persons born between 1945 and 1965 (based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force).

    The measure cleared the Senate last week. 

    ISMS agrees with the Hepatitis C screening guidelines, but remains strongly opposed to a mandate. Instead, ISMS continues to encourage its members to screen their Baby Boomer patients for Hepatitis C.   

    Also troubling, S.B. 661 does not  

    • Offer immunity for health care professionals from civil liability and from professional discipline for failing to offer Hepatitis C screening.

    • Put in place any guarantee of access to treatment for patients who test positive for this liver disease.

    Be on the lookout for an ISMS legislative alert early next week. 

    Read ISMS' position paper.

    Collaborative Agreements Remain for Advanced Practice Nurses

    ISMS participated in successful negotiations with the Illinois Society for Advance Practice Nursing to remove objectionable aspects of H.B. 421. This bill would have allowed advanced practice nurses (APNs) to practice independently and would have eliminated the requirement for APNs to maintain a collaborative agreement with a physician when they practice outside of a hospital setting. 

    Amendment 2 to H.B. 421 preserves key provisions that:

    • Maintain the requirement that APNs must have a collaborative agreement with a physician if they are practicing outside of a hospital, hospital affiliate or ambulatory surgical treatment centers where they would be required to be credentialed by the medical staff.

    • Makes no changes to the Nurse Practice Act with respect to the provision of anesthesia services by Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs).

    • Makes no changes to the law requiring delegation of prescriptive authority by a physician, but allow APNs, other than CRNAs, to prescribe at a hospital affiliate such as an urgent care center if credentialed by the medical staff to do so. 

    ISMS now supports H.B. 421 as amended.

    Stop Raiding the Medical Disciplinary Fund!  safe

    When lawmakers passed a budget last month to plug a $1.6 billion hole for the current budget ending June 30, they swept 106 dedicated funds totaling $1.3 billion. Unfortunately, the Medical Disciplinary Fund was among them again - taking a hit of $10 million.   

    Earlier this week, it seemed that another sweep was in the works when legislation ( S.B. 274) cleared the Illinois Senate.

    That's why ISMS urged Governor Rauner to "lock the vault" and maintain what's left in the Medical Disciplinary Fund.

    Bottom line: The Medical Disciplinary Fund, solely funded by physician licensure fees, must be financially solvent to cover its intended purpose of licensing and disciplining physicians.


    SGR: Deflated.  Should Physicians be Elated?       

    The sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, perennial clunker of all physician payment systems, is finally out of gas. That's good news: Annual payment updates are now cemented at 0.5 percent through 2019. 

    However, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which repealed the SGR, includes provisions that will significantly affect the way physicians practice and get paid for caring for Medicare patients.

    Learn about key payment specifications, info about merit-based incentive payment systems and alternative payment models as outlined in The SGR is History: What Physicians Need to Know, a new ISMS Issue Brief available now for members only. 

    Your ISMS Advocacy Team is standing by to help physician members navigate the new law as it applies to their practices. Contact us at 800-782-4767 ext. 1470 or send an email.  

    Ouch! A 16.75% Cut to Medicaid Reimbursement Rates Starts Today 

    Physicians who bill Medicaid directly and/or are paid according to the current Medicaid fee schedule will experience a 16.75 percent cut in reimbursement rates, effective May 1 through June 30, 2015

    Last month lawmakers passed a budget ( H.B. 318) to plug a $1.6 billion hole for the current budget ending June 30. A portion of this budget deficit will be met by a 2.25 percent across-the-board cut to most government programs, including Medicaid's reimbursement rates to physicians. 

    So to cover the shortfall for Medicaid's budget, Illinois is implementing $106 million in cuts to reimbursement rates. But these cuts must account for the entire fiscal year in just two months. That's why the cuts are significantly larger than 2.25 percent, to the tune of 16.75 percent. 

    In other words, the reimbursement rates will be annualized for services rendered between May 1 and June 30, 2015. 

    Important to note: Due to a previous court decision protecting specific primary care services, certain CPT codes are exempt from these cuts. 

    Specific codes are here

    What's Five Months from Today? October 1 ICD-10-CM Deadline

    While ISMS and many physicians across the country remain opposed to the implementation of ICD-10-CM - including the ISMS House of Delegates, which passed a resolution to this effect at its meeting two weeks ago - chances appear slim that Congress will take action to delay implementation.      

    But here's what is certain: The transition to the new code set by the October 1 deadline will be a massive undertaking. To help you prepare, visit ISMS' ICD-10-CM resource page

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


     Medicine or Madness? Addiction Symposium to Focus on Marijuanamj 

    With Illinois' recent legislation approving the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, you won't want to miss the First Annual Symposium on Addiction: Marijuana - Medicine or Madness?, Friday, May 29, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Lombard

    The symposium will cover topics that include the use of marijuana in palliative care and pain management, the latest research on marijuana and cannabinoids, a perspective on the Colorado experience with medical marijuana, and more! 

    Register online or call 800-323-8622. 

    There is a cost for this symposium; CME available. 

    Sponsored by the Illinois Professionals Health Program, and the Advocate Addiction Treatment Program.


    Adjourned! Work of the ISMS House Over - Until Next Year  hod

    Your 2015 House of Delegates accomplished much work on behalf of you and your patients. Resolution topics discussed and debated included medical marijuana dispensaries, virtual credit card payments, health issues due to climate change and many other regulatory and public health concerns.   

    Visit the ISMS website to check out the  Summary of Actions, detailing the House's decisions on more than 50 resolutions, presentation slides from the dynamic speakers who discussed frontline details of the Ebola crisis and preparedness tactics for Illinois and galleries of photos from the weekend-long events, many in celebration of ISMS' 175th anniversary.  

    In the coming months, follow-up work to implement adopted resolutions will take place, and study will commence on issues referred to the Board.  Planning will soon begin for next year's meeting, so save the date - it will be held in Springfield, April 15-17, 2016.       


    Attention Physicians: Advisory Board Openings for Part-Time, Paid Positions 

    The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State seeks physicians to fill part-time vacancies on its Medical Advisory Board, specifically, a neurologist, an endocrinologist and an ophthalmologist.  

    The Medical Advisory Board is responsible for determining the degree to which a person's medical condition constitutes a limitation to his or her ability to safely operator a motor vehicle.   

    Physicians are compensated for their time in reviewing cases, and for travel to and from Springfield should the Board meet. Those who serve on the Medical Advisory Board must have a medical license in good standing from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.   

    If interested, please contact Michelle Lorton RN, Medical Review Specialist, with the Office of the Secretary of State by email or at 217-524-2186.     


    Kudos to Dr. Tynus! 

    Congratulations to ISMS member Katherine M. Tynus, MD, on her appointment to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's Transitional Year Review Committee, effective July 2015.    

    Dr. Tynus practices internal medicine in Chicago and serves on the ISMS Board of Trustees and on the Finance and Medical Benevolence Committee. She is also a Board Consultant to the Medical Legal Council and a member of the Illinois State Medical Society Political Action Committee (IMPAC). 

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