Athens Regional to host free EMS/disaster prep event on January 16-17

The Athens Regional Health System (ARHS) will host a free EMS and disaster preparedness conference on Friday, January 16 and Saturday, January 17.

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DCH to sign new Medicaid CMO contracts

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) has announced that the “contracts for the Care Management Organizations (CMOs) serving nearly 1.4 million Georgia Medicaid/Georgia Families and Georgia Families 360˚ members will expire on June 30, 2016.

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Dr. Shah’s interview on IMGs on ‘TopDocs’ show now online

A recording of the interview that Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) President Manoj H. Shah, M.D., and MAG Membership Director Kate Boyenga recently conducted on the ‘TopDocs Radio’ program on the Business Radio-X Network to discuss the important role that international medical graduates (IMGs) play in today’s health care system is now available online.

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DCH: Medicaid providers should verify their mail-to address

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) is stressing that, “It is critical [for Medicaid] providers [to] ensure that their mail-to-address is correct in the Georgia Medicaid Management Information System (GAMMIS).”

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AMA: Congress to pass bill to fund “most” of government through September

The American Medical Association (AMA) is reporting that Congress is expected to pass the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015” this week to fund “most of the federal government” through September 2015. In terms of key health care provisions, AMA says…

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AMA: Congress owes Medicare physicians, patients peace of mind

The following is a summary of a message that the American Medical Association (AMA) distributed on December 9 to address the efforts that are underway to reform how the Medicare program pays physicians.

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Mark your calendar for January 28 “white coat” event

MAG is encouraging physicians to block their calendars for the 2015 “Physicians’ Day at the Capitol” – which will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, January 28.

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MAG, PAI address Medicare appeals backlog in letters to HHS

Medical Association of Georgia President Manoj H. Shah, M.D., recently submitted two letters to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services departments – including one to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that addresses the two-year backlog in the Medicare claims appeals process that is attributed to the Recovery Audit Program and one that provides the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) with suggestions for addressing that backlog.

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CMS says proposed rule will “strengthen” Medicare ACOs

On December 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule that is believes will “strengthen” the Medicare Shared Savings Program for participating accountable care organizations (ACOs) by placing a “greater emphasis on primary care services and promoting transitions to performance-based risk arrangements.”

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Ebola Virus Disease News & Resources

CDC says that it is “working with other U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other domestic and international partners in an international response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa.”

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Nominations for eighth GPLA class are due on January 16

The Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy’s (GPLA) Selection Committee will be accepting nominations for candidates for the 2015-2016 GPLA class (VIII) through Friday, January 16.

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MAG Foundation supports Rx drug abuse awareness video contest

The Georgia Department of Law distributed the following press release – which quotes MAG Foundation Chair Jack M. Chapman Jr., M.D. – on December 4.

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MAG calling on physicians to urge Speaker Boehner to support two-year ICD-10 delay

As part of a nationwide grassroots advocacy effort, the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging physicians in the state to mail a letter on their practice letterhead to U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner to urge him to support a two-year delay in the implementation of the ICD-10 billing codes...

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MAG recruiting ‘Doctor of the Day’ volunteers for 2015 legislative session

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is recruiting physicians who would like to serve as a MAG ‘Doctor of the Day’ volunteer during the 2015 legislative session, which will run from January 12 to the middle of April.

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Avalere says exchange plan specialty drug costs will increase in 2015

Avalere Health has released a report that says that the out-of-pocket costs associated with specialty drugs – “which are often used to treat life threatening illnesses such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis” – for the average patient who is covered by the federal health insurance exchange will increase in 2015.

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Recording of MAG town hall on “patient collections” now online

A recording of a “Patients are Payers, Too – What You Need to Know about Collections” town hall conference call that the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) hosted on December 2 is now available online.

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MAG Physicians' Day at the Capitol 2015

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Save the Date

01.28.15

MAG to host call on patient collections on December 2

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging MAG members and their practice staff to register for a “Patients are Payers, Too – What You Need to Know about Collections” town hall conference call that it will host at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 2.

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UHC hosting webinars to address exchange products

UnitedHealthcare (UHC) says that it will host one-hour webinars that address the products that it’s offering though the state health exchange on a biweekly basis through December 18, including every Wednesday at 10 a.m. and every Thursday at 1 p.m.

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‘James Magazine’ honors MAG & its GR director as leaders

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) has been honored as one of James Magazine’s “Top Trade or Business Associations” in Georgia for the third consecutive year, rising from third in 2013 to second in 2014. In a related development, MAG Government Relations Director Marcus Downs has been lauded as one of James Magazine’s “Rising Stars” in 2014.

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Grady out of BCBSGa network, calls for grassroots action

The Grady Health System has announced that effective November 24 “[its] facilities are considered out of network for all Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGA) members, including Medicare Advantage and the Georgia State Health Benefit plan.

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Baxter updates IV shortage in letter to Georgia EMS

Baxter Healthcare Corporation recently sent a letter to the Georgia Office of Emergency Medical Services that contained a “detailed update [that addresses the availability of] high demand IV solutions by product code.”

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DCH to host free Medicaid fair in Macon on December 4

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) will host a free Georgia Medicaid Fair at the Marriott City Center in Macon from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 4.

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MAG calling on physicians in Georgia to support H.R. 4015/S. 2000 to repeal Medicare SGR

MAG is encouraging physicians in the state to call 800.833.6354 to contact their congressional leaders as soon as possible to urge them to support the "SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014" (H.R. 4015/S. 2000) before the end of this year.

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MAG urging NAIC to adopt meaningful standards

The Medical Association of Georgia was one of more than 110 medical and patient groups that signed a letter that was sent to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to urge it to adopt meaningful standards as it revises its ‘Managed Care Plan Network Adequacy Model Act.’

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MAA to host event to address Ebola, other key issues on November 20

John T. Brooks, M.D., with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will give a talk on “…the Ebola crisis, clinical and epidemiological data, and PPE combinations” during a dinner meeting that the Medical Association of Atlanta (MAA) will host at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North at 7 Concourse Parkway on Thursday, November 20.

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MAG Foundation ‘Think About It’ campaign radio interview now online

Two of the leading voices for the Medical Association of Georgia Foundation's 'Think About It' campaign to reduce prescription drug abuse in the state appeared on the TopDocs Radio program on the Business Radio-X Network on November 11.

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MAG promoting new PAI/ACEP medical audits toolkit

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is promoting a new resource that was developed by the Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) to help physicians who might be audited by a federal, state or private health care payer.

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Alliant GMCF/GAFP to host heart health workshop in Atlanta this Saturday

Alliant GMCF and the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians (GAFP) will host a free “Saving Hearts in Georgia though Reduction of Healthcare Disparities” workshop for physicians and other health care providers at The Westin Buckhead in Atlanta from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. this Saturday, November 15.

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Recording of third MAG town hall on Ebola now online

A recording of a town hall conference call that the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) hosted on November 11 to address the Ebola virus disease is now available online.

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Recording of MAG call on Medicare quality improvement program now online

A recording of the town hall conference call that the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) hosted for its members and their practice staff on November 10 to address Medicare’s quality improvement program is now available online.

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CMS says supplemental 2012 eRx incentives payments now available

CMS has announced that the “2012 Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program Supplemental Incentive Payments are now available for eligible professionals who submitted data for the reporting period of January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012 and met criteria for satisfactory reporting.”

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SCOTUS will reportedly hear case that could end PPACA subsidies

A number of media outlets have reported that the Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear a case that challenges the legality of the federal health insurance subsidies that were created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

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GASCO San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium Review

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Save the Date

01.10

UHC releases 2015 ‘Premium Designation’ summary

UnitedHealthcare (UHC) has released a summary that addresses its new “Premium Designation” assessments for January 1, 2015.

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Recording of second MAG town hall on Ebola now online

A recording of a town hall conference call that the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) hosted on November 3 to address the Ebola virus disease is now available online.

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AMA addresses “overlapping” Medicare incentives, EHR in letters to CMS

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently sent two letters to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), including one that addresses the “multiple overlapping reporting programs [for Medicare incentive programs] which carry several penalties for non-compliance.”

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Grady says it could be “forced out” of BCBSGa network on November 25

The Grady Health System has distributed a letter that says that if it does not reach a new contractual agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) by November 24 its “hospitals and facilities [but not its physicians] will be forced out of (the BCBSGa) network starting on November 25…”

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Commissioner Hudgens "scraps" BCBSGa contract amendments

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has advised the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) that he has told Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. (BCBSGa) that he will "immediately rescind recent amendments to its existing physician contracts."

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GAMPAC promoting exclusive “vote tracker” for members

GAMPAC – which is the Medical Association of Georgia’s non-partisan political action committee that helps to elect pro-physician candidates at the state level – has created a vote tracking summary for legislators in the state during 2013-2014 as an election resource for GAMPAC members.

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AMA unveils tool to help physicians know where to practice

The American Medical Association (AMA) has unveiled a free “mapping tool” that will help physicians to make “fact-based decisions about their state’s health care workforce and where (they) should practice.”

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MAG supports bill to address Sunshine Act

The Medical Association of Georgia was one of about 100 state and national physician’s advocacy organizations to sign a letter that was sent to U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D., to support a bill (H.R. 5539) that he has introduced that would “clarify that certain applicable manufacturer transfers of value to support independent medical educational programs and materials are exempt from reporting under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act).”

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Recording of MAG town hall on Ebola now online

A recording of a town hall conference call that the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) hosted on October 27 to address the Ebola virus disease is now available online.

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MAG announces legislative priorities for 2015

The following is the list of the Medical Association of Georgia’s state legislative priorities for 2015...

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MAG event raises M.D. awareness on Ebola, other infectious diseases

On October 18, nearly 100 physicians from across the state attended a “What's New and What's Hot in Infectious Diseases” educational session that took place in conjunction with the Medical Association of Georgia’s (MAG) annual House of Delegates meeting in Pine Mountain.

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Warner Robins OB-GYN sworn into office as MAG's president

Manoj H. Shah, M.D., was sworn into office as the president of the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) during a ceremony that took place at The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain on October 18 in concert with the organization's 160th House of Delegates meeting.

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PAI taking steps to influence model managed care act

The Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI) has developed a one-page summary to address the steps that it is taking as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) revises its “Managed Care Plan Network Adequacy Model Act.”

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AMA: President expected to sign VA bill

The American Medical Association (AMA) has reported that President Obama is expected to sign the “Veteran’s Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014.”

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Georgia fails to get grant, future of PDMP in doubt

The Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency (GDNA) has advised the Medical Association of Georgia that that the U.S. Justice Department has denied GDNA’s application for a “Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)” enhancement grant.

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Recording of MAG town hall on methodology to improve practice's bottom line now online

A recording of a town hall conference call that the Medical Association of Ge

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Recording of MAG forum on HIPAA-compliant risk assessments now online

A recording of an exclusive Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) conference call that addresses the steps that practices should take to conduct a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant risk assessment is now available online.

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Georgia “Preceptor Tax Incentive Program” registration site up and running

The Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University (MCG/GRU) has announced that physicians can now register for the state’s Preceptor Tax Incentive Program (PTIP).

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CMS delays deadline for EHR hardships application until November 30

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it will “reopen the submission period for hardship exception applications for eligible professionals and eligible hospitals to avoid the 2015 Medicare payment adjustments for not demonstrating meaningful use of Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT).”

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MAG encouraging Composite Board to evaluate new online patient communications & diagnosis program

Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) Executive Director Donald J. Palmisano Jr. recently sent an October 1 letter to the Georgia Composite Medical Board to request that it evaluate “LiveHealth Online” – a new communications and diagnosis “tool” that is being promoted by BlueCross BlueShield in more than 40 states, including Georgia.

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AMA addresses hydrocodone reclassification

"A new rule from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) taking effect October 6 reclassifies hydrocodone combination products as Schedule II controlled substances, establishing restrictions that will require considerable changes to prescribing practices."

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AMA group promoting new CoPs resource

The American Medical Association’s (AMA) Organized Medical Staff Section (OMSS) has developed a resource that addresses the revised “Conditions of Participation” (CoPs) for hospitals in federal government health benefit programs.

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Physicians reminding Georgians to get annual flu vaccination

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging every resident of the state who is six months or older to get their annual flu vaccination.

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MAG CEO addresses AJC article on meetings for members and legislators

On September 20, The Atlanta Constitution-Journal posted an article that is entitled “Georgia legislators hit the beach” that addresses meetings that the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) hosted for legislators and member physicians in 2013 and 2014. The article notes that MAG did not report the meeting to the state in 2013.

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New regulation to allow authorized “collectors” to serve as drop-off sites for unused Rx drugs

The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a press release that says that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has announced “a new Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulation that (will) allow pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and other authorized collectors to serve as authorized drop-off sites for unused prescription drugs.”

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MAG signs letter to oppose expansion of audiologists’ scope bill

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is one more than 100 state and national medical organizations that signed a September 16 letter that was sent to Congressional leaders to urge them to oppose H.R. 5302, which would provide audiologists with unlimited access to Medicare patients without a physician referral and which would amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to include audiologists in the definition of “physician.”

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AMA releases summary of priorities for improving EHR

The American Medical Association (AMA) has released an “Eight Priorities to Improve Electronic Health Record Usability” summary to “address increasing physician dissatisfaction with the currents state of EHR usability.”

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GMCF: Groups with 10+ EPs must satisfy PQRS to avoid 2% cut in CY 2016

Alliant GMCF, which is the Medicare Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Georgia, says that, “In calendar year (CY) 2016, Medicare will apply the Value-Based Payment Modifier (Value Modifier) under section 1848(p) of the Social Security Act (the Act) to physician payments under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for physicians in groups with 10 or more eligible professionals (EPs).

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Access to care emerges as key concern in survey of 20,000+ physicians

The Physicians Foundation has released “one of the largest and most comprehensive physician surveys (ever) conducted in the U.S.”

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MAG president-elect calling on GAPI members to support GPLA

Medical Association of Georgia President-elect Manoj Shah, M.D., is calling on his fellow members of the Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (GAPI) to support the Medical Association of Georgia Foundation’s Georgia Physician’s Leadership Academy (GPLA) with a financial contribution.

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DCH says that BCBSGa will discontinue its Medicare Advantage/SHBP plan in 2015

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) has advised the Medical Association of Georgia that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) will “discontinue its Medicare Advantage (MA) plan offering under the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) contract for the 2015 Plan Year.”

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MAG urging physicians in Georgia to review new BCBSGa agreement ASAP

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is alerting physicians in the state that a new Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. (BCBSGa) provider agreement will automatically go into effect on November 15.

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AMA promoting new telemedicine resources

The AMA is promoting several new telemedicine resources, including an AMA committee report on “Coverage of and Payment for Telemedicine,” a two-page AMA “Coverage of and payment for telemedicine summary,” and AMA’s “Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.”

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CMS rule would address narrow networks beginning in 2015

"The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (has) proposed rules for 2015 that would require insurers to submit a list of (health care) providers, which CMS would evaluate to make sure consumers are offered ‘reasonable access.'"

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MAG Foundation resource to reduce Rx drug abuse reaching 350,000 patients in Georgia

The Medical Association of Georgia Foundation (MAG Foundation) has announced that some of the most trusted and recognized health care system entities are supporting its ‘Think About It’ campaign to reduce prescription drug abuse by distributing more than 350,000 informational leaflets in the state.

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MAG CEO discusses key M.D. issues on “Top Docs RADIO” program

Medical Association of Georgia Executive Director and CEO Donald J. Palmisano Jr. went to bat for physicians in the state on the "Top Docs RADIO" program on the Business RadioX Network on September 2.

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AMA weighs in on Medicare, other key issues in letter to CMS

The American Medical Association recently submitted a 93-page letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

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GMS calling for nominations for annual awards program

The Georgia Medical Society – which includes Chatham, Effingham, Bryan, McIntosh, and Long counties – is calling for nominations for its annual “Health Care Heroes Awards” program.

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MAG Foundation promoting 2015 Rx drug abuse summit

The Medical Association of Georgia Foundation is encouraging physicians in the state to make plans to attend the 2015 “National Rx Drug Abuse Summit,” which will take place at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta on April 6-9.

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Georgia DCH Board approves SHBP options for 2015

“The (Georgia) Board of Community Health today voted to approve the 2015 member contribution rates and plan designs for the Georgia Department of Community Health’s State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP), providing more choice in plan options for members next year."

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HHS issues memo on NDPB early resolution of claims payment reporting requirements

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a memo that addresses National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) reporting requirements for early resolution of medical claims payments.

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DEA promoting new Naloxone summary for community pharmacies

The Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency is promoting the availability of a new “Naloxone Information for Community Pharmacies in Georgia: What You Need to Know” summary.

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MAG, 100+ more express concerns over implementation of “Sunshine Act”

The Medical Association of Georgia was one of more than 100 state and national medical associations that signed a letter that was submitted to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner on August 5.

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AMA alert: Time to “Turn up the heat” on Congress

In Washington, D.C., August means one thing: summer recess for lawmakers. A five-week period when members of Congress are back in their districts hosting constituent events, such as town halls, coffee-on-the corner and in-office meetings.

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Physicians Foundation/UNC unveil forecasting tool for M.D.s, others

The Physicians Foundation and the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have unveiled a “tool to help policy makers, physicians and health systems better plan where to practice and what type of practitioners will be needed in order to meet the growing utilization of health care in the United States.”

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Georgia insurance commissioner issues directive on QHP, grace period claims

Georgia Commissioner of Insurance Ralph Hudgens recently issued a directive to “Qualified Health Plans (QHP) Issuers” in the state to clarify the “interplay” between the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (45 CFR § 156.270(d)(3)) and Georgia law – including the requirements that cover the “grace period” that is related to payments for health insurance claims.

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Insurer gets award for test to improve outcomes for young adults in foster care in Georgia

Health insurer Amerigroup will receive a U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) award of as much as $5.8 million to conduct a test that is designed to “improve outcomes for transitional young adults ages 17 to 20 who are transitioning out of foster care and who will receive health care coverage until the age of 26 for the first time under the (Patient Protection and) Affordable Care Act (PPACA).”

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PAI weighs in on NAIC’s managed care model

The Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI) recently sent a letter to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) that outlines the key issues that it believes NAIC should address as it revamps its ‘Managed Care Plan Network Adequacy Model Act.’

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New White House report addresses Medicaid expansion

The U.S. Council of Economic Advisers – which is an agency within the Executive Office of the President – has released a ‘Missed Opportunities: The Consequences of State Decisions Not to Expand Medicaid’ report that “details the effects of state decisions regarding Medicaid expansion on access to care, financial security, overall health and well-being of residents, and state economies.”

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MAG Foundation and Walgreens announce effort to reduce Rx drug abuse in Georgia

The Medical Association of Georgia Foundation (MAG Foundation) has announced that Walgreens stores in Georgia will support its ‘Think About It’ campaign to reduce prescription drug abuse in the state by distributing informational leaflets to patients who have their prescriptions filled at Walgreens pharmacies beginning today.

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MAG one of 80+ M.D. groups to call for delay in CoPs rule changes

MAG was one of more than 80 physicians’ advocacy organizations that signed a letter that calls for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to take immediate action to delay the implementation of the final rule regarding Conditions of Participation (CoPs) that will dramatically alter the make-up and efficacy of hospital medical staffs nationwide.

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DCH names insurers for SHBP for 2015

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) has announced that it has named the insurers for the State Health Benefits Plan (SHBP) for the 2015 plan year, which will begin on January 1, 2015.

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MAG encouraging medical staffs to update bylaws to account for Medicare CoPs changes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently changed 42 CFR 482.12 and 482.22, which are related to the Medicare Conditions of Participation for Hospitals (CoPs).

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AMA: Insurers now required to offer e payments using ACH

The American Medical Association (AMA) is stressing that health plans are now “required to offer electronic funds transfer (EFT) payments using the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network to physician practices that request this method of claims payment.”

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GDNA stressing practitioners in Georgia can issue Naloxone prescriptions

The Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency (GDNA) is stressing that, “As of April 24, 2014, Georgia practitioners were authorized to begin issuing prescriptions for opioid antagonists…these Naloxone prescriptions can now be filled and dispensed (in the state).”

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BCBSGa webinar to address cancer care quality program

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. (BCBSGa) will host a webinar from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 26 that will address the new WellPoint Cancer Care Quality Program.

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AMA urging president to act to help vets, creating M.D. registry

The American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates recently passed Substitute Resolution 231, which calls for AMA to urge President Obama to “take immediate action to provide timely access to health care for eligible veterans using the health care sector outside the Veterans Administration (VA) until the VA can provide care in a timely fashion.”

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MAG honored for website for sixth time

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) recently won a Web Health Awards’ bronze award for its www.mag.org website.

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Report: UHC may offer plans in state exchange in 2015

Georgia Health News is reporting that, “UnitedHealthcare says it’s considering offering health plans in Georgia’s insurance exchange for 2015.”

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CMS says ‘Open Systems’ portal up and running

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that its Enterprise Portal is now available for physicians who want to begin the registration process for the Open Payments system.

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DCH says it won't pay practices for costs associated with SHBP recoupment

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) has advised the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) that DCH will “not provide financial enhancements to the provider community as a result of the retroactive (State Health Benefits Plan or SHBP) design changes.”

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Organization seeks M.D.s to participate in APRNs study phone survey

The Health Access Program at Georgia Watch is recruiting physicians and other health care providers in the state to participate in a telephone survey that is part of a study that the Georgia Health Foundation is conducting in order to write a comprehensive policy report on the status of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) in Georgia.

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UHC to reduce Medicare Advantage network in Georgia by about 10 percent

UnitedHealthcare (UHC) has advised the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) that it will reduce the size of its Medicare Advantage network in Georgia by about 10 percent.

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CMS/ONC proposal would allow CEHRT flexibility, extend Stage 2

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would allow providers who are participating in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs to use the 2011 edition of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) for the 2014 calendar and fiscal year.

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CMS promoting EHR Stage 2 attestation guide

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is promoting the availability of a new (Medicare EHR Incentives Program) “Stage 2 Attestation User Guide for Eligible Professionals.”

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BCBSGA responds to MAG letter, physician concerns

BlueCross and BlueShield of Georgia (BCBSGA) has responded to a letter that the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) sent to BCBSGA President C. Morgan Kendrick on April 23 to address growing concerns within the physician community in the state over BCBSGA’s “policies and practices and behaviors.”

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HHS announces final rule for exchange and insurance market standards for 2015 and beyond

"Today, [the] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare, issued the final rule for Exchange and Insurance Market Standards for 2015 and beyond."

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CMS: Medicare rule will save $660 million per year

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services (CMS) has announced that it has issued a new rule that “will save nearly $660 million annually, and $3.2 billion over five years” by reforming “Medicare regulations identified as unnecessary, obsolete, or excessively burdensome on hospitals and other health care providers.”

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Composite Board adopts new Georgia telemedicine rule

The Georgia Composite Medical Board has adopted a new rule that governs the practice of telemedicine in Georgia. Rule 360-3-.07, “Practice Through Electronic or Other Such Means,” sets the “minimum standards of practice while providing treatment and/or consultation through the use of telemedicine.”

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AMA addresses physician-specific Medicare claims data release

The American Medical Association (AMA) is reporting that “the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) [has] posted searchable, physician-specific Medicare claims data on its web site. The spreadsheet files show for each physician their NPI, name and address, average charge and Medicare payment amounts, unique beneficiary counts, and other information for the various Medicare services they provide.”

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CMS outlines plans for Medicare claims

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is reporting that (in the event a scheduled Medicare pay cut goes into effect) it has “instructed the Medicare Administrative Contractors to hold claims containing services paid under the MPFS (Medicare Physician Fee Schedule) for the first 10 business days of April…hold would only affect MPFS claims with dates of service of April 1, 2014, and later."

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U.S. House passes bill to repeal Medicare SGR

In a vote of 237 to 182, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amended version of the “SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014” (H.R. 4105).

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AMA provides update on efforts to repeal Medicare SGR

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently provided the Medical Association of Georgia with an update on the efforts to pass legislation that would repeal the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula.

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AMA issues update on Medicare SGR legislation

The American Medical Association is reporting that “(House) Ways and Means Chairman David Camp (R-MI) introduced the anticipated amendment to offset the costs of H.R. 4015, the ‘SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014,’ with a five-year delay in implementation of the ACA’s tax penalties for individuals who do not purchase health insurance.”

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AMA calling for grassroots support for Medicare SGR bill

The American Medical Association (AMA) is encouraging physicians to contact their U.S. Representative and their U.S. Senators as soon as possible to urge them to pass H.R. 4015 to repeal the Medicare SGR.

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MAG expressing conditional support for bill to repeal/replace Medicare SGR

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is supporting the “SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act” (H.R. 4015/S. 2000) – which would repeal the formula that is used to pay Medicare physicians and replace it with a new system – “as long as one medical specialty does not benefit to the detriment of another” and pending its review of the “offsets” (i.e., funding mechanisms) that are included in any final legislation.

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MAG EC votes to support SGR bill on conditional basis

During its meeting on March 2, the Medical Association of Georgia’s (MAG) Executive Committee voted to support the “SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act” (H.R. 4015/S. 2000) – which would repeal al the Medicare SGR and create a new Medicare payment system – “as long as one specialty does not benefit to the detriment of another specialty” and pending a review of “pay for/offsets” (i.e., funding mechanisms) in any final legislation.

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House GOP M.D. group supporting SGR measure pending review of final bill with offsets

The U.S. House of Representatives GOP Doctors Caucus has sent a letter to the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate stating that it “agreed to the policies contained in the (H.R. 4015/S. 2000), the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act…it is our hope that leaders in the House and Senate will move as expeditiously as possible to negotiate acceptable offsets that we can support.”

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New AMA summary addresses SGR legislation

The American Medical Association has created a “SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 – H.R. 4015/S. 2000” summary.

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Court upholds injunction blocking Georgia’s prompt pay law

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has issued a ruling that upholds a U.S. District Court injunction that blocked Georgia from enforcing its prompt pay law that was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013.

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AMA says debt ceiling bill includes $2.3 billion SGR “transitional” fund

The American Medical Association (AMA) is reporting that, “The debt ceiling extension legislation posted online by the House Rules Committee (on February 10) calls for extending the sequester for an additional year, through 2014, in order to offset the cost of restoring retired military pay benefits that were reduced in the budget bill passed last December.”

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Update on legislative negotiations to repeal the Medicare SGR

The American Medical Association (AMA) reports that, “Staff for the chairmen and ranking minority members of the three Congressional committees of jurisdiction briefed physician groups this afternoon (February 6) on the results of their bicameral, bipartisan negotiations on repealing the (Medicare) SGR.

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CMS: Medicare EHR EPs may be subject to adjustments in 2015

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is says that “Eligible professionals (EPs) participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program may be subject to payment adjustments beginning on January 1, 2015. CMS will determine the payment adjustment based on meaningful use data submitted prior to the 2015 calendar year.

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MAG supports bill to expand Georgia's medical marijuana law

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) has announced that it supports the legislation (H.B. 885) that Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) introduced at the State Capitol today that would expand the state’s law permitting the use of marijuana in strictly controlled research programs to patients who suffer from seizures. Georgia’s existing law only covers patients who have cancer or glaucoma.

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AMA matrix highlights key provisions of bills to repeal SGR

The American Medical Association has created a matrix that shows how the three bills that Congressional leaders are considering to repeal the Medicare SGR differ from the existing law.

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AMA reports that Congress has okayed three-month Medicare update

The American Medical Association (AMA) is reporting that, “Congress has adopted a 0.5 percent update to Medicare payments for three months, following a bipartisan vote of 64 to 36 in the U.S. Senate Wednesday afternoon.

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AMA promoting model bill to address ACA ‘grace period’

The American Medical Association (AMA) is promoting a model state-level bill

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Surgical societies oppose Medicare SGR/pay bill, call for delay

Sixteen surgical societies – including the American College of Surgeons – have sent letters to Congressional leaders to oppose the “SGR Repeal and Medicare Beneficiary Access Improvement Act of 2013” in its current form, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

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MAG president dismisses survey with ties to Patients' Compensation Act (S.B. 141), explains why bill is losing proposition

The president of the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) dismisses the results of a survey that was conducted by the Virginia-based firm of McLaughlin and Associates that was hired by advocates for the Patients’ Compensation Act (S.B. 141) that suggests that MAG doesn’t reflect the views of physicians in the state.

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AMA releases resources addressing SGR, physician pay proposal

According to the American Medical Association (AMA) “(on December 5) the (U.S.) House Committee on Ways and Means and the (U.S.) Senate Committee on Finance released revisions to their bipartisan, bicameral proposal to repeal Medicare’s SGR formula and reform the physician payment system.”

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Modifications to SGR Discussion Draft of SGR Repeal & Medicare Physician Payment Reform

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MAG/AMA file brief addressing lawsuit challenging Georgia’s prompt pay law

Last week, the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that addresses a U.S. District Court injunction that blocked Georgia from enforcing its prompt pay law that was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013.

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