Recently the Food and Drug Administration has been planning to make changes to its medical device clearance process. These changes they are planning on implementing would mean they would rely far less on older predicate devices so that they could offer a modernized pathway for high-tech medical innovations.
A recent uproar in the media was the National Rifle Association telling doctors in a tweet to “stay in their lane” when addressing the issue of gun violence. As you know, doctors see the aftermath of gun violence; you have to tell the family whether their loved one is alive or dead from this senseless act of violence. An immediate tweet back to the NRA from the Annals of Internal Medicine simply said: “Doctors are in our lane.” In addition to this, the AIM also decided to collaborate with the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine (AFFIRM) to fund new research supporting new practice recommendations.
Emerald Coast Medical Association aims to keep our members up to date on the newest legal changes. CMS listened to doctors and decided to delay any changes to codes for Medicare patient visits until 2021. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, doctors were worried that the plan would cut revenue for physicians who care for Medicare patients. Although CMS made changed to its plan, it did decide to continue with its plan to consolidate codes for Medicare patient visits.
Seema Verma, a CMS Administrator, said that they would consolidate codes for “evaluation and management” (E/M) visits to three, maintaining the level 5 code that is used for physicians who see the sickest patients who require more services. The agency will work with doctors to iron out the details, which will delay implementation to 2021. The E/M changes are part of a final rule that outlines the physician fee schedule for 2019. Along with that also come changes to the third year of the physician payment system implemented under MACRA.
The American Medical Association is on board with the revisions of the original proposed E/M policies. They are grateful that the administration is not moving forward with the payment collapse of E/M codes in 2019. The two-year window allows time for an AMA-convened workgroup to look over and make recommendations on this controversial topic.
Effective January 1, 2019, CMS will finalize several burden-reduction proposals that were supported by doctors. The final rule, though, will include revisions that preserve access to care for complex patients, equalize certain payments for primary and specialty care, and allow the delay in implementation of E/M coding reforms until 2021.
The original implementation would have been much sooner, but CMS received over 15,000 comments on a proposed rule that was released in July. Most of the 15,000 comments were in opposition to the change. This change would have collapsed payment rates for eight office visit services for new and established patients down to two each, a massive cut in the overall scheme of things. In addition to that, it also was said it could underpay doctors who treat the sickest patients, which more than 150 medical groups opposed and sent letters disputing the plan to consolidate E/M codes. CMS has released fact sheets with more details about the physician fee schedule, and one outlining changes to the quality payment program under MACRA.
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CPC Office Technologies is offering loaner copiers at no charge for 90 days to any companies affected by the hurricane. If your business or a business that you know of was affected, please let us know.
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Managing Traumatic Stress After the Hurricane
Time will tell whether Houston, the Caribbean, and Florida manage to recover from the trauma of recent hurricanes mentally but while the physical injuries will fade and the houses will be rebuilt, the psychological impact is likely to worsen. Implementing targeted psychosocial care is both a humanitarian need and an economic necessity—saving lives, jobs, and families.
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and Surrounding Areas
Last Updated: 12/13/2018
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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.
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.
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.
In 2016, Americans spent an average of about $9,000 per person on healthcare. This figure is almost double what patients in comparable high-income countries such as Canada, Germany, Denmark and Japan spent on healthcare in the same period. According to the biennial study published by the the International Federation of Health Plans (IFHP), the average cost for an MRI in the United States was $1,119 in 2015. This compares quite unfavorably with prices in other nations. The same MRI could be performed for $503 that year in Switzerland and only $215 in Australia. Having appendix removal surgery in America carried a price tag of almost $16,000, while in Switzerland one could have the same operation for only $6,040, and in Spain it was a mere $2,003.