Protecting Our Members from Cybersecurity Threats

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Oct 12, 2018 6:00:00 AM

At Emerald Coast Medical Association our members are our top priority. Data breaches have become very common, putting patients at risk for their information to be accessed by hackers. We offer Cyber Liability Insurance to our members to help save them from the issues that can arise from data breaches.

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Topics: Cyber Liability Insurnance

Easing Restriction on Medication-Assisted Addiction Treatment

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Oct 5, 2018 8:00:00 AM

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Drug Enforcement Administration have recently been working together to increase access to medication-assisted addiction treatment (MAT). The HHS and DEA are aware that doctors able to prescribe these medications are in short supply, which is one of the reasons they are looking to ease restrictions on MAT.

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Topics: Medical Law, Opioids, News

Senate Passes Bill in Response to Opioid Crisis

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Sep 28, 2018 9:43:53 AM

Emerald Coast Medical Association is dedicated to keeping our members up to date on any legal changes going on in the medical community. The most recent one being a massive package of measures in response to the ongoing opioid crisis. This package includes over 70 bills, each of which makes a significant impact on how the opioid crisis is handled. 

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Topics: Medical Law, Opioids

CMS Overpayment Rule Overturned

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Sep 21, 2018 8:00:00 AM

The medical community has its own laws that can be changed. Often, these laws have a significant impact on the medical community and the way patients or physicians are handled. At Emerald Coast Medical Association, we strive to keep our members up to date on even the smallest of legal changes. 

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Topics: Medical Law

Federal CSR Case is a Win for ACA Insurers

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Sep 14, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Tuesday, September 4th marked a big moment for providers in the Affordable Care Act, when Montana Health Co-op was awarded a win in the ongoing battle between insurers and the government over cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs). The health cooperative, which serves about 50,000 members throughout Idaho and Montana, filed suit against the federal government in January, claiming it was owed approximately $5 million in CSRs for 2017. 

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Topics: Medical Law, News

Arming Ourselves Against Physician Burnout

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Sep 7, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Physicians, nurses, and healthcare professionals everywhere are experiencing burnout due to stress related factors. The suicide rate among physicians is more than double that of the general population. Burnout and depression can lead to medical error, something no patient wants to experience.

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Topics: Prevention, Doctor-Patient Relationships, Mental Health, Medical Malpractice

Prescription Limits Are Not The Answer

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Aug 31, 2018 8:00:00 AM

What do we do about the opiate crisis? Everywhere you look, you see a lot of hand-wringing and concern regarding this question. And with good reason! Opiate overdose and death rates continue to soar, and while the rate of prescribing has come down, the rate of consumption has not appeared to change.

As doctors, we are on the front lines of this epidemic and often feel helpless to make a change. Meanwhile, legislators are patting themselves on the back for implementing guidelines like prescription limits that tie our hands, do little to help those in chronic pain and may even harm patients already caught in addiction’s grip.

For example, in 2014, Hydrocodone was rescheduled in an effort to curb the prescriptions being written for this addictive pain medication. The DEA’s policy was revised to limit prescriptions to a 90 day supply and only allowed physically written prescriptions, handed to the patient, rather than allowing them to be phoned or faxed into the pharmacy.

Researchers at the University of Michigan were able to study almost 22,000 patients in Michigan who had undergone one of 19 elective surgeries, such as a hip replacement, both before and after the policy was updated. Surprisingly, their data showed that there was an immediate rise in the number of opioid prescriptions filled after the schedule change.

Analysis of the data suggests that doctors may be motivated to prescribe the maximum possible amount, given the restrictions, so that the patient will not have to visit a walk-in clinic or emergency room or make another trip back to the office. What’s more, the characterization of the opioid crisis as being caused by doctor-prescribed medications has been repeatedly shown to be false.

According to a 2016 national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 87.1 million U.S. adults used some form of prescription opioid, prescribed or obtained illicitly, at some point in the previous year. But only 2% developed any kind of “pain reliever use disorder,” a blanket term that ranges from occasional overuse to outright, daily addiction.

Another study, published in Pain Medicine magazine, excluded all chronic pain patients with a history of drug abuse and found that the remaining patients who were prescribed opiate painkillers developed addiction at a rate as low as .19%. Patients who do become addicted to their prescribed medication often have other problems, depression, anxiety, existing or past substance abuse issues or alcoholism. It has also been shown that far more people misuse prescription medication that they obtain from a friend or relative or purchase from a drug dealer than medication they themselves were prescribed.

Limiting the number of pills prescribed or manufactured in the country only serves to hurt patients who need them, and limit what their doctors can do to help. As we see from the news stories, addicts will find a way to feed their addiction, legal or not. Prescription limits do more to punish those who want to follow their doctor’s advice and treat their pain legally, than those who would abuse opiate pain medication.

Emerald Coast Medical Association is committed to supporting doctors in efforts to make our voices heard in Tallahassee and Washington D.C. As a group, we can work together to influence decisions in government that impact us and our patients. If you are not yet a member, we encourage you to come to a monthly meeting and learn about the advocacy and encouragement we can provide.

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Topics: Opioids

Preventing Human Errors in Radiology

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Aug 24, 2018 8:00:00 AM

As they say, “to err is human.” Everyone makes mistakes. As medical practitioners, there is more at stake when we err than for the average person. A diagnostic error can delay needed treatment and harm patient outcome. Autopsy studies have found that there may be major diagnostic discrepancies in as many as 1 in 5 patients overall. For this reason, we must learn from our mistakes as fully as possible to avoid making them again.

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Topics: Prevention

Stress About Care Adds to Patients’ Health Concerns

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Aug 17, 2018 8:00:00 AM

As medical practitioners, we feel the stress of the nation’s health care issues every day. Continual paperwork, denial of claims, and ever-changing regulations put non-stop pressure on our offices. But the stress of a fractured health care system is impacting our patients’ lives even more significantly.

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Topics: Affordable Healthcare

What’s Your Number? New Blood Pressure Guidelines Impact Millions

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Aug 10, 2018 8:30:00 AM

On August 1st, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released updates to their guidelines for the prevention, detection, and management of high blood pressure. This is the first change to this guidance in 14 years and means that nearly half of all Americans, 46%, now classify as having high blood pressure.

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Topics: News

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