MAG Alliance applauding Georgia lawmakers for passing Lactation Consultant Practice Act

The Medical Association of Georgia Alliance (MAG Alliance) – which is a network of physicians' spouses who volunteer to improve the health of all Georgians – is applauding state lawmakers and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal for passing and enacting the Georgia Lactation Consultant Practice Act.

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Cobb & Douglas Public Health infectious disease symposium

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05.17

Cobb & Douglas Public Health promoting infectious disease symposium

Cobb & Douglas Public Health is encouraging is encouraging physicians and other health care providers to register for its symposium on "emerging infectious disease," which will take place at Trinity Chapel in Powder Springs from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17.

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MAG’s Summer Legislative Education Seminar

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07.29 - 07.30

‘Top Docs’ show on Medicare value-based pay now online

A recording of a recent Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) ‘Top Docs Radio’ show that featured Kimberly J. Rask, M.D., PhD – the chief data officer at Alliant Health Solutions – discussing the new Medicare Value-based Payment Modifier (VM) is now available online.

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CMS releases draft MACRA rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

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DEA's 11th nationwide Rx drug take-back event set for April 30

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency will conduct its 11th ‘National Prescription Drug Take Back Day’ from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 30. It will “take [unused and expired prescription medications] no questions asked.” There will be more than 5,000 collection sites across the U.S. Call 800.882.9539 with questions.

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DPH execs to address Zika on ‘Top Docs’ show

State Epidemiologist Cherie Drenzek, DVM, MS, and Georgia Director of Health Protection Patrick O’Neal, M.D. – who are both with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) – will discuss the Zika disease on the ‘Top Docs Radio’ program on the Business Radio-X Network at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10.

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Don’t miss the ‘Top Docs’ show on practice transformation networks

Doug Patten, M.D. – the chief medical officer of the Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) – will discuss practice transformation networks (PTN) on a special edition the ‘Top Docs Radio’ program on the Business Radio-X Network at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, May 9.

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AMA responds to Medicare payment proposals

American Medical Association (AMA) President Steve J. Stack, M.D., released the following statement on April 27 to respond to a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) draft rule that addresses the Medicare Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Model (APM) Incentive for physicians…

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CMS: “Review your data before it becomes available to the public”

Review and dispute for the June 30, 2016 Open Payments data publication opened on Friday, April 1, 2016, and will last for 45 days. CMS will publish the 2015 payment data and updates to the 2013 and 2014 data on June 30, 2016. In order for any disputes to be addressed before the June 30 publication, physicians and teaching hospitals must initiate their disputes during the 45-day review period, and industry must resolve the dispute before the publication deadline. Review and dispute is voluntary, but strongly encouraged. The opportunity for physicians and teaching hospitals to review and dispute the data submitted about them expires at the end of the year that the record is first published.

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Gov. Deal signs MAG’s legislative priorities into law

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed three of the Medical Association of Georgia’s (MAG) legislative priorities for 2016 into law on April 26. This included…

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Winder PD thanks MAG Foundation for “life-saving tool”

The Winder Police Department recently issued a press release to thank the MAG Foundation for equipping its officers with naloxone, which reverses the effects of drug overdoses, and training them on its use – as well as funding two prescription drug disposal boxes in the area.

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DCH to host Medicaid Fair in Duluth on May 4

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) is encouraging physicians and applicable practice staff to attend a free Medicaid Fair that it will host at the Infinite Energy Forum in Duluth from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4.

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Classified: SE Alabama Medical Center hiring IM residency position

Exciting opportunity for the right leader to shape SAMC’s educational environment, developing a new Internal Medicine Residency Program at this values-focused not-for-profit community health system.

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MAG president GHN op-ed: Mergers would be “disastrous” for patients and physicians

Medical Association of Georgia President John S. Harvey, M.D., addressed why be believes the pending Aetna/Humana and Anthem/Cigna mergers would have “disastrous results for patients and physicians in this state” in an op-ed that was posted on the Georgia Health News web site on April 18.

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‘Top Docs’ show on osteopathic medicine now online

A recording of a recent Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) ‘Top Docs Radio’ show that featured H. William Craver III, D.O. – the dean of the Georgia Campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM) in Suwanee – is now available online.

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MAG encouraging physicians to register for PDMP

The Medical Association of Georgia is encouraging physicians and other applicable health care providers in the state to register for the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).

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AMA calls for halt to Medicare Part B drug pay proposal

American Medical Association (AMA) Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, M.D., has sent a letter to the members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee to “share [AMA’s] concerns with the Administration’s recent proposal to restructure the way Medicare reimburses physicians for Part B drugs.”

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MAG Foundation's GPLA celebrates 100th graduate

A diverse group of physicians from across the state were among the eighth class of the Medical Association of Georgia Foundation's (MAG Foundation) Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (GPLA) that graduated during a ceremony that took place in Atlanta today, according to GPLA Steering Committee Chair S. William Clark III, M.D.

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State Bar newsletter features article by MAG legal counsel

The latest edition of the State Bar of Georgia’s Health Law Developments newsletter features an article – ‘Can an early discussion lead to fewer malpractice lawsuits?’ – that was written by Medical Association of Georgia Legal Counsel Trish Yeatts.

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‘Fly a Kite’ event to kick off Asthma Awareness Month

The American Lung Association of the Southeast, Inc. is encouraging Georgians to attend in its ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ event, which will take place at the Park Tavern at 500 10th St. NE in Piedmont Park in Atlanta from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 30.

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AMA flags important MACRA developments

The American Medical Association (AMA) has flagged two key developments that are related to the Medicare Reform Law and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), including a draft provision that would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop the new patient relationship codes that physicians will have to include on their claims beginning in 2018 and a technical assistance funding program that is designed to help small and rural practices make a successful transition to the new payments systems that were established under MACRA.

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Amerigroup releases formulary change notice

Amerigroup is encouraging applicable physicians to review its ‘Quarterly pharmacy formulary change notice.’

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FSMB’s HOD to address key compounding issue

The American Medical Association (AMA) reports that the Federation of State Medical Boards’ (FSMB) House of Delegates will vote on a number of key resolutions at its meeting on April 30, including one that is related to compounding in physicians’ offices.

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Media Report: ‘State document hints at downside to insurance mergers in Georgia’

"Two pending mega-mergers, if approved, would tighten an already compressed health insurance market in Georgia, a state insurance department document suggests."

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GOS Annual Meeting

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09.22

DPH offering $10K grants to control hypertension/diabetes

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has launched an initiative that is designed to control hypertension and diabetes in the state – which includes competitive $10,000 grants for health systems that are “actively working toward improving their performance on NQF 18 and 59.”

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CMS promoting new EHR program resources

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is promoting the availability of some new resources that are designed to help eligible professionals “successfully participate in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs in 2016.”

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Georgia AG calls for opioid treatment programs to submit data to PDMP

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens filed a letter [on April 11] urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to require opioid treatment programs to submit data regarding the prescriptions they dispense to the State’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).

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CMS launches “largest-ever multi-payer initiative to improve primary care”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced “its’ largest-ever initiative to transform and improve how primary care is delivered and paid for in America.”

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CMS promoting ICD-10 resources

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is encouraging medical

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Dougherty CMS holiday social

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12.01

Dougherty CMS meeting

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05.17

MAG calls for Commissioner Hudgens to address drug tiers

On April 7, Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) President John S. Harvey, M.D., sent a letter to Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens to enlist his help to address the specialty prescription drug tier system that insurance companies in the state are using to control costs.

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DCH to host Medicaid EHR 'boot camp' & Medicaid Fair

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) will host a free Medicaid EHR Incentive Program “boot camp” at the Georgia State Office of Rural Health office in Cordele in April. DCH says participants can choose to attend one of three sessions, including either 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12 or 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13 or 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13.

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Coalition urging Gov. Deal to sign ‘Jimmy Carter’ bill into law

The Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition Fund (GBCCF), a nonprofit organization serving as Georgia’s voice to end breast cancer, today called on Gov. Nathan Deal to sign The Honorable Jimmy Carter Act (H.B. 965).

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MAG president promoting mobile hospital training event

Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) President John S. Harvey, M.D., is encouraging physicians in the state to register for a free MAG Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) ‘Mobile Surge Hospital Set-Up Training’ event that will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Grady EMS Training & Education Center in Atlanta on Saturday, April 30.

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HHS promoting new Zika virus resources

The U.S. Department of Human Services (HHS) is promoting the availability of some new ‘What You Need to Know about Zika Virus’ resources for health care providers.

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CMS announces start of 45-day Open Payments period

The American Medical Association (AMA) is reporting that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the beginning of the “45-day Open Payments review and dispute period.”

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MAG gets great results during 2016 legislative session

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) enjoyed another stellar legislative session in 2016, according to MAG Council on Legislation (COL) Chair Michael E. Greene, M.D.

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MAG president thanks 2016 ‘Doctor of Day volunteers

Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) President John S. Harvey, M.D., is expressing his thanks to the MAG ‘Doctor of the Day’ program volunteers for 2016.

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IMS Health says opioid prescribing was down in every state in 2015, including 5.1 percent in Georgia

The American Medical Association (AMA) reports that every state saw a decrease in the number of opioid analgesics prescriptions that were filled in 2015, according to data from IMS Health.

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Carter Center to host mental health forum

The Carter Center Mental Health Program is encouraging physicians to attend the annual ‘Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum,’ which will take place at The Carter Center in Atlanta on May 20.

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Rotary Club of Johns Creek thanks MAG Government Relations director

The Rotary Club of Johns Creek thanked Medical Association of Georgia Government Relations Director Marcus Downs for addressing the group at its meeting on March 28 with a post on its Facebook Page.

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ABC seeking nominations for ‘Health Care Heroes Awards’

The Atlanta Business Chronicle is seeking nominations for its 19th annual Health Care Heroes Awards. The winners will be featured in a special section of the paper on May 13.

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AMA details vision for ending opioid epidemic

Patrice Harris, M.D., the chair-elect of the American Medical Association (AMA) and the chair of its Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse, today laid out the AMA’s vision for ending the opioid epidemic.

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Media Report: “Quality reporting costs doctors more than $15.4 billion a year”

"Medical practices spend an average of 785 hours per physician and $15.4 billion annually reporting quality measures to Medicare, Medicaid and private payers, according to a new report in Health Affairs."

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CDC releases 2016 opioids prescribing guideline

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its ‘Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain — United States, 2016.’

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CDC releases 2016 opioids prescribing guidelines

CDC releases 2016 opioids prescribing guideline

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Georgia House passes provider directories bill 174-0

In a unanimous 174-to-0 vote, the Georgia House of Representatives has passed S.B. 302 – a bill that would require health insurance companies to maintain more accurate provider directories.

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Efforts underway to revive Floyd-Polk-Chattooga CMS

Efforts are underway to revive the Floyd-Polk-Chattooga County Medical Society (FPC-CMS).

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CMS releases 2016 CMS QRDA Implementation Guide

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published the 2016 CMS Quality Reporting Document Architecture (QRDA) Implementation Guide (IG) for Eligible Professional Programs and Hospital Quality Reporting Appendix (Version 1.0, February 26, 2016).

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CMS resource helps practices check ICD-10 progress

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a new infographic that is based on its ‘Next Steps Toolkit’ that is designed to help medical practices analyze their ICD-10 progress. CMS says that, “By tracking and comparing key performance indicators, you can assess your progress, address your findings, and maintain your progress.”

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Media Report: "Bill [in Georgia] aims to erase errors in insurers’ medical directories"

"Open enrollment can bring a big decision for consumers: Which health coverage plan do I choose?"

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‘Top Docs’ show on naloxone, 9-1-1 law now online

A recording of a recent Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) ‘Top Docs Radio’ show that addressed naloxone and the state’s ‘9-1-1 Medical Amnesty Law’ is now available online.

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How the Physicians Foundation supported physicians in 2015

In 2015, the Physicians Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, correctly understood that to effectively support practicing physicians with the regulatory and marketplace dynamics altering the face of medicine, it had to modify its strategic focus and orientation to reflect these new realities.

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New program helps clinicians move to quality-based pay

Alliant Quality is promoting the ‘Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative’ (TCPI), which is a “four-year program [that] seeks to aide more than 150,000 clinicians to shift from a volume-based to quality-based payment system.”

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Morehouse names new director of National Center for Primary Care

Morehouse School of Medicine has named Dominic Mack, M.D., as the new director of the school’s National Center for Primary Care (NCPC), the nation’s first congressionally sanctioned center to develop programs that strengthen the primary care system for health equity and sustainability.

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New Grant Park (Atlanta) clinic seeks physician volunteers

The Georgia Volunteer Health Care Program (GVHCP) is seeking physicians to volunteer to care for needy patients at a new clinic that will opened in Atlanta’s Grant Park area.

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CMS flags PQRS data submission deadlines

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is reminding health care providers that the 2015 PQRS data submission deadlines are as follows…

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GSA Summer Meeting

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07.22

MAA Annual Meeting

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Save the Date

06.16

MAG CEO urges state commissioner to block Aetna/Humana & Anthem/Cigna mergers

Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) Executive Director Donald J. Palmisano Jr. has called for Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens to block the pending Aetna/Humana and Anthem/Cigna mergers.

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CMS extends EHR hardship application deadline to July 1

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the application deadline for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program hardship exception process for eligible professionals until July 1, 2016.

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An update on the EHR ‘Meaningful Use’ hardship process

The hardship exception application for eligible professionals (EP) in the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program is due on March 15, 2016. In my last post, I urged you to avoid submitting the application if you could successfully attest for meaningful use (MU).

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Media Report: “Meaningful-use hardship exemption deadline extended”

"The CMS has extended the deadline for hospitals, physicians and other eligible professionals to file applications for so-called “hardship” exemptions from the meaningful use requirements of the EHR incentive payment program."

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AMA offers resources for physician retirees and volunteers

The American Medical Association maintains a web page that features information for retired physicians and physician volunteers, which includes details on the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), a career center, and volunteer opportunities.

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DPH issues ‘Zika Guidance’ summary

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has issued a ‘Zika Guidance for Physicians/Healthcare Providers’ fact sheet.

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Media Report: "Urgent warning issued about [fentanyl]"

"A Channel 2 Action News investigation revealed a powerful drug is triggering a spike in overdose deaths in metro Atlanta and across Georgia. The drug is fentanyl, a narcotic that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine."

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CMS clarifies EHR hardship exemption

The American Medical Association (AMA) is reporting that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has clarified that “applying for a hardship exemption from the 2017 meaningful use payment penalty will not preclude physicians from receiving the incentive if they successfully attest to meaningful use in 2015.”

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MAG sponsor: “Workers’ comp consulting can increase revenue”

If your practice automatically turns down workers’ compensation (WC) patients, you may want to give it a fresh look.

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DCH issues updates on health visits, Medicaid Fair & 340B drugs

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) is reminding health care providers that, “On January 1, 2016, adults age 21 and older [who are] enrolled in Georgia Medicaid became eligible for coverage of one preventive health visit per calendar year…[this] includes a medical history, physical exam, health counseling, health screenings (such as Pap tests and mammograms) and Medicaid-covered adult immunizations (such as flu shots).

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MAG member to donate book on manners to first-year students

Barry Silverman, M.D., has co-authored a book – Your Doctors' Manners Matter: Better Health Through Civility in the Doctor's Office and in the Hospital – to help patients identify “those physicians and other medical professionals who practice medicine in a way that exhibits compassion, empathy, and respect for the dignity of their patients.”

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MAG member among first in world to use cancer care technology

Art McCain, M.D., who is an interventional and diagnostic radiologist with Radiology Associates of Macon, recently became just the 10th physician in the world to “simultaneously remove a patient’s spine tumors while stabilizing the spine.”

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CMS issues final rule on Medicare overpayments

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a final rule that would require providers and suppliers who receive funds under the Medicare program to report and return overpayments no later than 60 days after the date the overpayment was identified or the date any corresponding cost report is due, if applicable, whichever is later.

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MagMutual declares largest dividend in company history

MagMutual Insurance Company, the Southeast’s largest medical professional liability insurer, today announced a 2016 dividend of $25 million. This is not only the largest return in MagMutual history, but also the biggest year-over-year dividend increase in the company’s 34-year history. MagMutual will credit the dividend starting June 1 to policyholders of record as of April 1.

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CMS extends EHR attestation deadline

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says that it has extended the attestation deadline for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs from February 29 to the end of the day on Friday, March 11.

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Agreement means $70 million for Morehouse, Mercer med schools

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced [that Georgia] will invest an additional $70 million in two medical schools as a result of a settlement agreement offer from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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SAMSHA releases revised ‘Opioid Overdose Toolkit’

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a revised version of its ‘Opioid Overdose Toolkit,” which is designed to “educate first responders, physicians, patients, family members, and community members on ways to prevent opioid overdose.”

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MAG calling for insurers to take steps to improve patient billing

The leader of the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is calling for health insurers in the state to take some important steps to improve the patient billing system.

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AMA encouraging all EP to apply for EHR hardship

The American Medical Association (AMA) is encouraging every physician who is subject to the 2015 Medicare EHR ‘Meaningful Use’ program to apply for a hardship. AMA reports that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says that “it will broadly accept hardship exemptions because of the delayed publication of the program regulations.”

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CMS: Alternate EHR attestation option available for certain Medicaid EP

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it has finalized a proposal to allow certain Medicaid eligible professionals (EP) to use an alternate option of attesting through the EHR Incentive Program Registration and Attestation System for the purpose of avoiding the Medicare payment adjustment (80 FR 62900 through 62901).

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AMA promoting new ‘Zika Virus Resource Center’

The American Medical Association (AMA) is promoting its new ‘Zika Virus Resource Center.’

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Media Report: “CMS proposes changes to ACO benchmarks”

"The CMS is proposing changes to the way it evaluates whether accountable care organizations in the Medicare Shared Savings Program actually save money."

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CMS updates Open Payments data

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it has updated the ‘Open Payments’ dataset to reflect the values it published on June 30, 2015.

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CMS rule creates PA for certain equipment, supplies

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a final rule that establishes a prior authorization process for certain durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) items that are “frequently subject to unnecessary utilization.”

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DCMS Riverfront Run

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Save the Date

10.01

AMA unveils ‘Block the Mergers’ campaign

The American Medical Association’s (AMA) Advocacy Resource Center is promoting a new ‘Block the Mergers’ (i.e., Antitrust Reform) campaign, which addresses the proposed Aetna-Humana and Anthem-CIGNA mergers. The Medical Association of Georgia and AMA have both urged the U.S. Department of Justice to block the mergers.

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PAI calls for DOJ to block insurer mergers

The Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI) is urging the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to use its authority to block the pending Aetna/Humana and Anthem/Cigna health insurer mergers.

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MAG encouraging Georgians to oppose health insurer mergers

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging Georgians to contact Courtney Faust at cfaust@oci.ga.gov or 404.463.2825 or Scott Sanders at ssanders@oci.ga.gov or 404.657.7742 to urge Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens to oppose the pending Aetna/Humana and Anthem/Cigna mergers.

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