TopMed-Pro Management, Inc.
Medical Practice Management & Consulting
NewsWire                                                                                February 2010
In This Issue
Medicare to cut 21.2% on March 1
Breach Notification Rule - HITECH (HIPAA Part 2)
Medicare to cut 21.2% on March 1
Now is the time to take action.  Ask your elected officials to repeal Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate formula (SGR), which would cut payment rates to physicians by 40% over four years.

Current law requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to adjust physician payment rates annually according to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that was adopted in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. This flawed formula has called for negative updates every year since 2002, requiring legislative or administrative action be taken annually to prevent the cuts. In four years, the annual cuts facing physicians have increased from under five percent to a whopping 21.2% in 2010. Without congressional intervention, Medicare physician payment rates will be cut 40% in the next four years, while practice costs will rise nearly 20%. These cuts come at a time when Medicare physician payment updates already lag far behind increases in the costs of caring for seniors. Medicare cuts could have far reaching consequences, as many private insurers use Medicare rates to calculate their own fee schedules.


In 2011, the leading edge of the baby-boom generation will start enrolling in Medicare, with enrollment growing from 44 million in 2011 to 50 million by 2016. Without an SGR fix, many physicians will be forced to make the difficult decision to limit their practices to seniors, the disabled, and military families, or even to stop participating in the Medicare program all together. With 16 million new Medicare enrollees expected in the next 6 years, it will become increasingly difficult for patients to find a doctor.

Contact your representative:

Senator Feinstein

Senator Boxer 
Speaker Nancy Pelosi or call (202) 225-4965
Chairman Henry Waxman or call (202) 225-4099
Chairman Pete Stark or call (202) 225-5065
          AMA's grassroot hotline: (800) 833-6354
Click here to download a flyer made by CMA to hand out to your patients asking them to be involved in protecting Medicare
"If you put off everything till you're sure of it, you'll never get anything done." 
          Norman Vincent Peale

Business Record Retention


Business Records



Payroll Related

4 years

Personnel Records

2 years

Employee Hiring Records

2 years

Employee Health Records

5 years

Benefit Records

6 years

DHCS (Medi-CAL) has announced a new contract to ACS

Physician Medicare Data Stays Confidential - For Now

SGR: Letter to the House  
SGR: Letter to the Senate
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Breach Notification Rule - HITECH (HIPAA Part 2)

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, known as the HITECH Act, was enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, signed by President Barack Obama on February 17 of last year.  HITECH Act amends the federal HIPAA's privacy and security rules.

Effective February 2010, several of the provisions of HITECH become active including:

  • Breach notification.
  • Access to patient records.
  • Restrictions on the use and disclosure of protected health information.

Although HITECH went into effect on September 23, 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that it would not impose sanctions for failure to comply with the new rules until February 2010.

Required provisions for HITECH compliance are:

Breach notification: The HITECH Act requires providers to notify affected individuals of any data breach promptly.  If the data breach affects more than 500 people, the media should be notified including the affected people.  In addition, if the breach affects more than 500 people the Health and Human Services must be notified.  Breach affecting less than 500 people must be reported to the secretary of Health and Human Services on an annual basis. 

Access to electronic health records: The HITECH Act now requires covered entities to provide individuals with electronic copies of their electronic protected health information.  Individuals can now also designate another person or entity to be the recipient of the electronic protected health information.

Restrictions on disclosure of protected health information: The HIPAA privacy rule currently provides individuals with a right to request a restriction on the use or disclosure of protected health information for purposes of treatment, payment, or health care operations purposes. Until now, providers had no obligation to agree to that request.  However, effective February 2010, if a patient has paid out-of-pocket for services rendered and requested that the provider not send their health information (or portions thereof) to their insurance plan, the provider must comply with this request.

If you are interested to find out more about any of the topics mentioned, please do not hesitate to send us an email at or call us at (888) 549-1713.
Med-Pro Management, Inc.

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