Friday, December 15, 2017

OCMA Blog

MICRA lawsuit measure assigned proposition number

Via the California Medical Association-

The unprecedentedly broad and diverse coalition working to defeat the trial lawyers’ MICRA lawsuit measure is now officially the “No On 46” campaign, following the assignment of proposition numbers to qualified ballot measures by the Secretary of State’s Office on Monday.

If approved by voters, Proposition 46 would increase health costs, reduce access to care and threaten patient privacy, all to make it easier and more profitable for lawyers to sue doctors and hospitals. In addition to increasing the overall number of medical lawsuits and the cost of health care across the board, Proposition 46 contains a number of unrelated provisions designed to mislead and deceive voters – including a little-discussed mandate relying on a massive expansion of a government-run prescription drug database, which third-party analysts say cannot be implemented as written and will leave personal medical information vulnerable to privacy breach.

For these reasons, health providers, education groups, labor unions, business organizations, working men and women, and community clinics have all announced their opposition to Proposition 46.

On Monday, two additional groups – the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC) and the California NAACP – joined the “No On 46” campaign, pointing out the devastating effects it would have on California.

“This initiative will cost state and local governments hundreds of millions dollars and raise health costs for everyone,” said Robbie Hunter, President of the SBCTC. “That hurts job creation and will negatively impact California’s future.”

According to California’s independent Legislative Analyst, the proposed measure could increase state and local government health costs by “hundreds of millions of dollars annually.”

“This measure is terribly flawed and will reduce access to quality health care for underserved communities,” said Alice Huffman, President of the California NAACP. “At a time when we’re working hard to cover as many Californians as possible under the ACA, Proposition 46 takes us in the wrong direction. Proposition 46 will disproportionately hurt minority communities. It’s bad medicine for California.”

These two organizations join the growing list of California public entities and private organizations that have announced their formal opposition. For a complete list, please visit the campaign website, www.noon46.com.


CMA Develops Simple Tool to Identify Physician Participation Status in Exchange Plans

January 23, 2014

On January 1, 2014, Covered California began providing health coverage to more than 500,000 patients statewide. With that figure expected to grow by the end of the 2014 open enrollment period, it is critical that physicians and their staff have a clear understanding of their exchange plan participation status so that they can communicate this information to patients before scheduling. It’s equally as important that practices understand the reimbursement rates and other terms associated with the plans with which they are contracted.

Even if you did not intentionally contract with any exchange plans, the California Medical Association (CMA) urges physicians to check their participation status. It is very possible that physicians may have been unknowingly opted into an exchange plan network due to the way that major insurance plans have structured their provider agreements.

If you've attempted to look up your exchange plan participation status on the Covered California website, you know that it's not a straightforward process. Because it is critical that physicians know what plans they are contracted with, CMA has created a quick and easy tool to look up your exchange plan participation status in just a few clicks.

The tool, available to members only, requires simply your first and last name and middle initial and it will tell you which plans list you as a contracting physician (as of September 2013, the most recent data released by Covered California). To access the tool, visit http://www.cmanet.org/exchange-lookup.

Please note: You will be required to login with a member account. If you have not already activated your web account, visit http://www.cmanet.org/activate. If you need assistance activating your account, contact CMA's member service center at (800) 786-4262 or memberservice@cmanet.org.

For more information on Covered California, visit CMA’s exchange resource center at www.cmanet.org/exchange. Physician members and their staff also have free access to CMA’s practice management experts at (888) 401-5911 or economicservices@cmanet.org.


CMA launches Covered California Provider Education Program

The California Medical Association (CMA) and the CMA Foundation have been awarded a $1.5 million grant from Covered California, the state's new health benefit exchange. The grant application was submitted in partnership with the Latino Physicians of California, the American Academy of Pediatrics and a number of CMA's component medical societies.
 
The grant is being used to establish the CMA's "California Health Benefit Exchange Outreach and Education Program." The goal is to help medical professionals across the state and their health care teams to educate their patients about the new coverage options available through Covered California and the financial assistance available to help pay for them. The program will focus more intensive outreach to physicians working in communities with a large number of consumers eligible for Covered California.
 
Physicians are powerful and effective messengers to deliver information to patients. We will be working to educate not only physicians, but also the office and health care teams that support physician practices. We will work with registered nurses, medical assistants, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, office managers and other physician practice staff in the targeted geographic areas that have the highest number of newly eligible exchange enrollees. All staff working in a practice or clinic will have an opportunity to learn more about Covered California insurance plans to fully utilize their skills and potential in educating patients about exchange eligibility and enrollment.

Regional Outreach

The California Health Benefit Exchange Outreach and Education Program will have four regional Provider Educators, with one assigned to each of the following regions: 1) Fresno, Kern, Tulare and Kings Counties; 2) San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties; 3) Los Angeles and Orange Counties; and 4) San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. For those practices in regions not listed, CMA Foundation staff will provide outreach and education. 

Educational Strategy

The educational strategy will be a multifaceted approach that factors in the different physician practice environments and incorporates multiple strategies to communicate with the physicians and their health care teams. The approach will incorporate group learning sessions, focus groups, educational print medium and one-on-one "touches" supported by newsletters, webinars and e-communication.
 
We will develop learning communities of grantees, sub-grantees and other interested partners to share challenges and best practices and to help us use resources as effectively as possible.
 
Our strategy will also include the following: 

  • Identify the gaps in physician knowledge about the exchange and design educational messaging to address those gaps.
  • Create a master list of existing regularly held meetings of the association members and partners so that we can utilize the already built network and standing meeting schedule
  • Establish lesson plans to ensure consistency in presentations.
  • Identify physician champions to be trained to educate their peers and other health care professionals and staff.
  • Establish a Physician/Health Care Worker Subcommittee to provide message testing, guidance and input on presentations and one-on-one education.
  • Make resources available through the physician practice to patients, helping them understand Covered California.
  • Develop a physician toolkit comprised of essential outreach materials for physician champions and their health care teams to give to patients.
  • Work with hospitals and health plans to book training and education sessions in hospital grand rounds, regularly scheduled patient-support focused meetings and medical staff meetings.

Resources

For the full Covered California Grant Newsletter, click here.

For a list of Health Benefit Exchange resources available to physicians, click here.

All resources are available on the CMA website at  http://www.cmanet.org/issues-and-advocacy/cmas-top-issues/aca/.

OCMA members may contact Physician Advocate Mitzi Young with questions about Covered California and the Health Benefits Exchange at (888) 236-0267 or myoung@cmanet.org

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