Monday, December 18, 2017

OCMA Blog

"Risk Tip" from The Doctors Company - Be Aware of Risks for BRCA-Based Breast Cancer

Avoid Missed or Delayed Diagnosis by Being Aware of Risks for BRCA-Based Breast Cancer

Recent news coverage has brought BRCA gene-based breast cancer into the spotlight. Actress Angelina Jolie's decision to get a preventive double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA gene may cause patients to ask physicians if they are at risk. Physicians should be aware of the risk factors for BRCA gene-based cancer in order to identify those who need testing and to avoid delayed or missed diagnosis.
 
A recent malpractice case highlights the failure of missing an early diagnosis. A 33-year-old woman had two female relatives, including her mother, who had breast cancer in their forties. At 31, she began getting annual screening mammograms, which showed dense breasts. She complained of a small palpable mass. However, no mass was seen on a mammogram, and the diagnosis was fibrocystic changes. No additional tests were ordered. Within six months, the mass was enlarging, and she was diagnosed with infiltrating ductal cancer that had advanced from a Stage I to a Stage III. Based on her history, she should have been tested for the BRCA mutation and given various treatment options. Additionally, no ultrasounds or MRIs were done, which possibly could have detected the cancer at an earlier treatable stage.
 
A woman's risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer greatly increases if she inherits a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. Widespread screening is not required because together these mutations account for only 5-10 percent of breast cancers. Those with the BRCA1 mutation have a 55-65 percent chance of developing breast cancer by age 70, and those with the BRCA2 mutation have a 45 percent chance. Women have about a 2 percent chance of getting ovarian cancer, but if they have a BRCA2 mutation, that risk increases to 40-60 percent.
 
Physicians should watch for the following BRCA mutation risk factors and discuss genetic testing with patients at risk:

  • Maternal or paternal blood relatives with breast cancer diagnosed before the age of 50.
  • Certain cancers in a patient's family, such as pancreatic, colon, or thyroid.
  • Both breast and ovarian cancer in a patient's family, especially in one individual.
  • Women in a patient's family with cancer in both breasts.
  • Patient with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.
  • A male in the patient's family with breast cancer.     
  • Relative with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

If the patient does test positive for the BRCA mutation, it is essential to remind her that this does not indicate she will get cancer. Patients can reduce risks of cancer with prophylactic surgery, hormonal treatment, and lifestyle changes.
 
Contributed by The Doctors Company. For more patient safety articles and practice tips, visit  www.thedoctors.com/patientsafety.


ALERT: You May have Automatically been Contracted into an Exchange Plan

Open enrollment began October 1st for Covered California (California's Health Benefits Exchange). The OCMA has received many calls from members confused as to whether they are contracted to see these patients. 
  

Many doctors were automatically put into contracts, and are unaware that they are on the plan directory for exchange plans with payers. These physicians have to opt out of that part of their contract if they do not wish to participate in the Exchange. The easiest way to confirm your participation is by calling the provider relationship department of the three plans in Orange County who are contracted to see Exchange patients.  

  • Anthem Blue Cross:  (855) 238-0095
  • Blue Shield Of California:  (800) 258-3091
  • HealthNet:  (800) 641-7761

For additional questions about Covered California or any practice management issue, OCMA / CMA members may call OCMA Physician Advocate Mitzi Young directly at (888) 236-0267 or myoung@cmanet.org.


OCMA Internist and Addiction Specialist Receives Gary Nye, MD Award

Max A. Schneider, M.D., an Orange County internist and addiction specialist, was given the Dr. Gary Nye Award at the 2013 at the California Medical Association (CMA) House of Delegates held this weekend in Anaheim. The award is given annually to a CMA member physician who has made significant contributions toward improving physician health and wellness.

Dr. Schneider for over 40 years has helped educate medical students, residents and physicians on addiction as a disease and the specific risks it poses for physicians. 

He was instrumental in establishing addiction medicine as part of the medical school curriculum at University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.

Dr. Schneider helped establish the concept of physician well-being committees and has served on the well-being committees for the Orange County Medical Association, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Orange County and Chapman Hospital.

A fellow and past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, he also is past chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and has served as a consultant to the Drug and Alcohol Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Schneider graduated from the University of Buffalo, School of Medicine in 1949. He practiced internal medicine in his native Buffalo for 11 years until 1964 and since 1964 has practiced in Orange County.

Orange County Public Healthcare Update: OC In+Care

OC In+Care: Newsletter for providers serving people living with HIV/AIDS in Orange County


Orange County In+Care Goals:

  • Increase the proportion of newly diagnosed individuals linked to clinical care within three months of diagnosis.
  • Increase the proportion of PLWH who are in continuous care.
  • Increase the proportion of PLWH with suppressed viral loads (less than 200 copies per mL).


Barriers to Treatment Adherence

 

Although a patient's ability to commit to a treatment plan should be assessed prior to initiating treatment, unexpected changes in the patient's life can disrupt treatment adherence. There may be many barriers that prevent a patient from adhering to their treatment regimen. Some barriers that may arise are:
 
* Active substance abuse (drugs and/or alcohol)
* Patient feels healthy
* Food requirement
* Forgot or busy
* Away from home
* Traveling
* Change in daily routine
* Side effects
* Depression or illness
* Lack of interest
* Desire to have a drug "holiday"
* Treatment fatigue 


Strategies to Treatment Adherence

 

It is important for the medical provider to understand and be aware of the patient's overall situation. During the appointment, ask the patient if there are any changes in their lifestyle or daily routine that may affect their medication intake. Education should include potential consequences of not adhering strictly to the treatment plan. Let them know that changes in lifestyle may disrupt their treatment plan and remind them of their treatment regimen. Emphasize the importance of committing to the plan even with these changes.
 
A common reason for why many patients discontinue their treatment regimen is because they do not feel sick. Encourage patients to continue their medication even when they are physically feeling well.
 
Communication between the doctor, case manager, and pharmacist (with appropriate release of information) is key to helping them continue to commit to their treatment plan.
 
Some patients may find using a diary or medication log useful in remembering what medications to take and when to take them.
 

The patient can include individuals to support them in their treatment plan. This can be a family member, peer, or friend whom they feel comfortable with and have disclosed their HIV/AIDS status.


The Pharmacist's Role
 
The pharmacist's role in HIV care is essential. A patient may see multiple providers with prescribing privileges, but typically goes to one pharmacy. Because of this, their pharmacy becomes the "hub" for the patient's care. As noted before, it is important for doctors, pharmacists, and case managers (if applicable) to have a good relationship. Doctors should contact the pharmacy to follow up on a patient's treatment plan and more importantly, learn of any other drugs the patient is taking that may lead to drug-drug interactions.
 
Pharmacists should contact the doctor if a patient's treatment plan may lead to adverse effects. Contacting the doctor or case manager may also be necessary if patients are not picking up their medications (non-adherence). 


Orange County Resources
 
Check out HIV THRIVE (hivthrive.com), for information on living with HIV/AIDS and improving overall wellness.
 
Peer Support Services (PSS) offers support to individuals who are living with HIV/AIDS. For more information on PSS, contact Bobby Avalos at (714) 868-1829 or e-mail bobbyonstage@hotmail.com 

Click here to the view the full OC In+Care newsletter.

OC In+Care is a project of the Orange County HIV Quality Management Committee. The HIV Quality Management Committee works to increase the quality of Ryan White services. For more information about the committee, please call (714) 834-8711.
 
Click here to subscribe to the OC In+Care newsletter.
 
If you have feedback or topic suggestions for future newsletters, please contact Melissa Corral at MCorral@ochca.com.

 


Award Created for OCMA Past President

The first Standiford Helm, M.D., award bestowed upon Dr. Helm last Saturday

Orange County – The California Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (CASIPP) presented Standiford Helm, M.D., M.B.A., with an award that was also named in his honor on Saturday, September 21, 2013. 

The Standiford Helm, M.D., award will be presented to individuals who demonstrate outstanding service in promoting and protecting the specialty of Interventional Pain Management. Recipients of the award will be chosen by the board of directors based on an exceptional record of commitment to advancing the field of Interventional Pain Management through scholarly activity and advocacy on behalf of the specialty. 

“I am both humbled and honored to have such an award named after me,” Dr. Helm said. “I have dedicated my career to ensuring that patients suffering from chronic pain conditions have access to safe, quality care that allows them to live as fully as possible. CASIPP’s creation of an award recognizing that work will hopefully encourage other physicians in the specialty to keep working toward better solutions for patients.” 

Dr. Helm is a past president of CASIPP, the Immediate Past President of the Orange County Medical Association (OCMA), and a member of the Board of Trustees of the California Medical Association (CMA), representing over 37,000 physicians statewide. He was named one of the “Top Docs” by US News & World Report in 2012.

“We are lucky to have physicians like Dr. Helm as part of CMA and in the workforce treating patients,” said Paul R. Phinney, M.D., CMA president. "The management of chronic pain is complex but vitally important for affected patients and their families, all of whom stand to benefit greatly by Dr. Helm's tireless commitment."   

Dr. Helm has been practicing interventional pain management since 1982 and both works and lives in Orange County. He is the Medical Director at The Helm Center for Pain Management. The presentation of this first Standiford Helm, M.D., Award took place during the Annual Meeting of CASIPP at the Terranea Resort in Ranchos Palos Verdes. 

Notice: Due October 1: Employee Notices - Health Insurance Exchange

One of the provisions of the ACA requires employers to provide their employees notice of the new state health insurance exchange (Covered California). Regardless of whether or not your practice offers employees health insurance, employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are required to provide notification of purchasing options and subsidies available through the Covered California health exchange by October 1, 2013 (model notices are available at www.marshhealthoptions.com).  Generally employers with one or more employees who generate sales of $500,000 or more annually are required to provide the notice. There is one notice for employers who provide their employees with health insurance and one notice for employers who do not provide health insurance to their employees. Since the FLSA applies broadly, most employers are subject to the requirement. 

A Department of Labor online compliance tool: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/scope/screen24.asp can help employers determine whether they are covered by the law. 

Your Participation is Requested - 2013 Employee Salary Survey

The California Medical Group Management Association (CAMGMA) is coordinating their 2013 salary survey. They are using a dynamic new instrument which provides real-time results back to the participants, along with customized reports.
 
Data entry and support is being coordinated for OCMA members by Jay Wikum, CPA (Business Partner - HMWC CPAs and Business Advisors).
 
The link to the online instrument can be found at: http://www.camgma.com/.  The data entry period is scheduled to run through September 30, 2013
 
If you have any questions on the survey or the instrument, feel free to contact Jay Wikum at (714) 505-9000.
 
Click here to access the form directly.

Lyme Disease: Delayed Diagnosis Is Greatest Risk for Healthcare Providers

Risk Tip by The Doctors Company

Lyme disease, a bacterial tickborne disease, is one of the fastest-growing infectious diseases in the U.S. Summer is peak season, and most people are bitten by blacklegged ticks, which are small and difficult to see. Lyme disease progresses in phases: early localized disease with skin rash and flu-like symptoms, followed by disseminated disease with heart and nervous system involvement (palsy and meningitis), then late disease with severe fatigue, neurocognitive symptoms, and severe joint and muscle pain leading to physical disability. The challenge is diagnosing this disease in the early phases, when treatment is typically curative.

A claims review found that the main liability risk for Lyme disease is system issues that result in delayed diagnosis. The chief system issue is communication failure in reporting test results to the healthcare provider. In one case, the patient had ongoing headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Although the patient did not recall a recent tick bite, the patient lived in an area with a high incidence of Lyme disease. The provider ordered a Lyme screen, which was positive. A confirmatory test was also positive. The lab faxed the report to the provider and contacted the health department. However, the provider claimed he had not received test results.

The flu-like symptoms of early Lyme disease mimic a viral syndrome, so providers need to consider Lyme disease in their differential diagnosis whenever they see patients with this presentation. 

Tips to help make an early diagnosis include:

  • Because most people do not recall a tick bite, ask about recent travel or outdoor activities.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2011 96 percent of cases came from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  • In the early phases, 70 to 80 percent of patients will get a red, spreading rash that can appear anywhere on the body.
  • The classic rash has a bulls-eye appearance with a red outer ring surrounding a clear area, but the rash may not have this appearance.
  • Fatigue, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache, muscle, and joint aches are common early symptoms.
  • Early phase blood tests are typically negative because antibodies have not yet developed. Therefore, a negative test does not rule out Lyme disease.
  • Those patients who develop a rash should be treated with antibiotics.
  • Remain current on CDC guidelines regarding diagnosis and treatment.
  • Oral antibiotics commonly used with adults include doxycycline, amoxicillin, and cefuroxime axetil. For children younger than 8 years old, amoxicillin is recommended.
  • Have a system in place for following up on lab test results.
  • Advise patients to avoid tick-infested areas, use insecticides containing DEET, and conduct daily exams for ticks on themselves, their children, and their pets.
  • If they find a tick, advise patients to gently remove it with tweezers and save it for identification.
Contributed by The Doctors Company. For more patient safety articles and practice tips, visit www.thedoctors.com/patientsafety

Upcoming CalOptima Provider Forum on Duals Demonstration

On July 10, the OCMA, CalOptima and the Health Networks in the CalOptima health care delivery system co-hosted a forum for physicians to learn about the contracting options for the upcoming "duals demonstration."  The demonstration will entail enrolling the dual-eligible (Medicare/Medi-Cal) beneficiaries in Orange County into CalOptima. OCMA has been advocating that physicians and their dual-eligible patients have multiple options for participating in the demonstration, including an option that allows physicians to contract directly with CalOptima. 

 

On Wednesday, August 14, CalOptima will host another forum which will include the Health Networks to once again reach out to physicians and educate them on the various contracting options the CalOptima board of directors will consider at their next board meeting.  If you missed the July 10th forum, OCMA strongly encourages you to attend the forum on August 14.  It is imperative that CalOptima and the Health Networks hear from the physicians that are caring for the dual-eligible patients in Orange County. The invitation to the August 14 forum is attached.

 

Note: this forum will be held at CalOptima. See invitation for full details.

 

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Resources to Assist Physicians with the Medicare Contractor Transition

Goal:   Provide members with information and resources to prepare their practices for the transition of Medicare contractors from Palmetto to Noridian on September 16 (Part B).

 

Current CMA Resources

 

1. CMA’s Medicare Transition webpage – CMA has created a dedicated Medicare transition webpage, www.cmanet.org/medicare-transition, offering practices the ability to access updates and important information regarding the transition in one easy-to-access to location. All resources related to the Medicare transition will be accessible through this site.

2. CMA’s Medicare Transition Guide: What physicians need to knowThis guide, which members can download free from the CMA website, includes an FAQ that includes information on the transition dates, what will remain the same with the transition and what will change, Noridian’s online provider portal, what practices can do to prepare for the transition, and links to additional resources and way to stay apprised of new information on the transition.

3. CMA Practice Resources (CPR)CMA Practice Resources is a free monthly newsletter from CMA’s practice management experts that focuses on critical payor and health care industry issues, including the Medicare transition, and how these issues directly impact the business of a physician practice. To sign up, visit the CMA website or contact CMA Member Services at (800) 786-4262.

4. CMA webinarAt the request of CMA, Noridian has agreed to conduct a webinar for CMA members on August 7 from 12:15-1:30pm.  The other webinars Noridian is offering is open to all provider types in California, Nevada, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. However, the August 7 webinar will be limited to CMA members and will give attendees an opportunity to ask their specific questions. This webinar will be held at the OCMA Conference Center during a "Lunch & Learn." 
During the gathering, we will participate in the "live" CMA Medicare Transition webinar and then discuss any questions. To register for the Lunch & Learn, click here.


For those who miss the live webinar, it will be available on-demand via the CMA website.

 

5. Content alert updates - The CMA website allows registered users to create custom content alerts on the top­ics that are of interest to you. Once signed up, you will be notified any time there is new content posted in one of your interested areas, including Medicare issues. To sign up, users should visit their account dashboard on the CMA website and click on “my alerts,” then select “Insurance Reimbursement -> Medicare.”

 

CMA Resource in Development

 

  • Practice preparation checklist indicating all of the steps practices should take to prepare for the transition to Noridian. This document will be added to the Medicare Transition Guide.

 

MEC Engagement

 

The Priority Assistance Committee recommends that MEC proactively educate members about the resource available from CMA to help navigate contracting with the exchange.


  • Promote CMA Medicare transition website
  • Promote CMA’s Medicare transition guide
  • Promote Aug 7 Medicare transition webinar (promo from CMSS coming)
  • Include articles and announcements in CMS publications and communications
  • Alert CMA’s Michele Kelly 213/226-0338 mkelly@cmanet.org of any issues related to the transition. 

Additional Resources


  • Noridian’s transition website: The Noridian transition website includes information on what’s new/changing and what will remain the same during and after the transition.
  • Paul O’Donnell, Noridian (701) 277-2401.  NOTE: MEC are welcome to contact Mr. O’Donnell directly; however, it is important to keep CMA/Michele Kelly in the loop so that she is aware of issues as they arise.

 

Additional Medicare-related Resources

 

1.      Medicare Enrollment Guide for Physicians - This document guides  physicians through the enrollment process and assists enrolled physicians who are making changes or who must revalidate their enrollment.

2.      Getting Started with the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) – this guide assists physicians with understanding and complying with PQRS.

3.      Medicare Electronic Prescribing Overview: Payment Incentives and Payment Reductions – Overview of electronic prescribing (eRX) program, including incentive payments for physicians who e-prescribe and payment penalties for physicians who do not.

4.      Medicare Part B Important Changes: What they mean to your practice

5.     Medicare Audit Guide for Physicians – Guide for preparing and responding to a Medicare audit.

6.      Various Medicare webinars available on demand at www.cmanet.org/events

7.      Numerous Medicare-related CMA On-Call documents can be downloaded at www.cmanet.org


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