CMS board acts on issues that impact all physicians
Report from the Jan. 16 board meeting

The CMS Board of Directors met on Friday, Jan. 16, for a very busy meeting during which members held a strategic discussion on CMS's priorities over the next few years, provided feedback for the communications audit commissioned by the board and approved by the HOD, approved the CMS Governance Reform Task Force and goals, approved the transition of the United Physician Advisory Committee, voted a strong position for improving the claims processing process, and approved council-committee rosters.

Please review more below and feel free to contact us about any of the items in this newsletter. Your comments are important to us!


- CMS Speaker Robert Yakely, MD and Vice-Speaker Brigitta Robinson, MD
1. Board discusses "big picture" statewide initiatives

The board heard a presentation on Colorado's health care policy environment, engagement venues, alignment with the CMS strategic plan, HOD policies, and the board's 2015 work plan, in addition to opportunities and vulnerabilities in 2015. Members then were encouraged to think of the "big picture" and suggest what the board should be discussing that's not currently on their agenda. These "big ideas" will be brought back to the board for future discussion.

Additionally, the board voted to formally acknowledge and commend the Colorado Health Foundation's establishment of and substantial 10-year commitment to BC3 (Better Care, Better Costs, Better Colorado), a community-level, collaborative approach to address health care costs through delivery system and payment reform.

BC3's collective impact approach to stakeholder collaboration and decision-making is highly consistent with CMS values of leadership, collaboration, professionalism, transparency and innovation. It is an unprecedented forum and opportunity for stakeholders and influencers to convene for safe conversations around complex health care challenges. CMS Executive Director Alfred Gilchrist has been invited to serve on BC3's version of an executive committee. Click here to read more about BC3.

The board of directors also voted to postpone the filing of legislation in 2015 to institute mandatory CME for those not certified under Maintenance of Certification for the following reasons: (1) There is an inadequate vote count among the Republicans in the Senate, who now have a one-vote majority in the upper chamber and among freshman in the House of Representatives; and, (2) A clear commitment to the project is needed from DORA and the Colorado Medical Board.

2. Board participates in audit focus groups

CMS has partnered with Communications Strategy Group (CSG), a strategic communications firm in Denver, to help CMS conduct an audit of member recruitment, retention and engagement efforts as contemplated in 2014 strategic plan updates approved by the HOD. In addition to auditing and evaluating CMS's communications platforms and tactics, CSG is conducting a series of focus groups and interviews with CMS stakeholders. They led two of the focus groups at the Jan. 16 board meeting: One with board members participating on the governance reform task force, and the other with board members who are concentrating on other priorities.

During the governance reform group's discussion, members gave CSG recommendations for improving engagement in the CMS governance process while maintaining transparency, enhancing efficient and effective decision-making, and utilizing additional avenues of input on policymaking. The other group gave CSG their feedback on what CMS is doing well, what CMS could do better, and how CMS can better provide value to members through bilateral communications.

Ultimately the audit process will help CMS ensure that communications provide increased value to our members on an ongoing basis.

3. Board approves members and goals of the Governance Reform Task Force

The board approved the nominations to the Governance Reform Task Force (GRTF), task force goals, and the overall work plan. Click here to see the members of the task force and the task force goals.

The work of the group will be divided into committees with each establishing a work plan, obtaining member feedback, identifying needed information, and reporting back suggested implementation steps to the entire task force. The committees are (1) Comprehensive Leadership Development; (2) Board of Directors and House of Delegates - Structure, Operations and Practice; (3) Policy Forums; and (4) CMS/Component Societies Partnership. At the end of its work, the GRTF will report to the board and the board will report to the House of Delegates.

4. Board approves task force for scope of practice

As you'll remember, the House of Delegates held a strategic discussion on scope of practice at the 2014 Annual Meeting. It was facilitated by Joe Gagen, JD, and from that discussion Mr. Gagen developed recommendations for the continued evolution of CMS's scope of practice strategy. The board approved both of his recommendations at this meeting.

The first recommendation requests that the Council on Legislation chair create a special scope of practice (SOP) task force from members of the Council on Legislation (COL) or utilize the existing SOP working group. Recommendations from this group will be submitted to the full COL for discussion, debate and additional comments. Their recommendations will then come back to the board and the HOD.

The second recommendation directs the CEO to assemble a technical advisory task force (TATF) comprised of legislative experts from Colorado and other physician medical associations including the AMA, national specialty societies and other state medical associations to serve as a resource for the scope of practice task force. This technical advisory committee will meet, identify viable alternative approaches for the COL work group's consideration and serve as a technical resource to them.

Click here to view the recommendations from Mr. Gagen.

5. Board finalizes transition of United Physician Advisory Committee

The board finalized the transition of the United Physician Advisory Committee, which was voted on at the November board meeting.

At the January meeting, the board voted to:

  1. Sunset the United Physician Advisory Committee (PAC) and express appreciation to all PAC members and the UnitedHealth Group for their participation and service.
  2. Begin semiannual meetings with the Colorado medical directors of individual health plans with the goal of seeking their collaboration on initiatives that are in line with the CMS strategic plan and the BOD 2015 work plan.
  3. Transition oversight of CMS-health plan collaboration to the Committee on Physician Practice Evolution.
  4. Add an item to the 2015 BOD Work Plan to initiate, develop and promote collaborative initiatives with interested health plans for the purpose of promoting issues that enhance physician workplace satisfaction.

Click here for more information.

6. Board votes to oppose delay of clean claims edit set

Following a November board discussion on the Colorado Clean Claims Initiative (CCCI), the board voted to strongly oppose any attempt by any third party to delay or repeal the implementation period of Colorado law requiring the use of a common claims edit set beginning Jan. 1, 2017, as established by the Colorado Clean Claims Task Force unless such delay or repeal is agreed to by vote of the CMS board and/or the House of Delegates.

CMS strongly supports the Clean Claims Task Force, the objective of which is to standardize commercial plans' claims edits and payment rules. This will reduce the administrative burden on physicians, save substantial money in transaction costs between providers and payers, and provide for more timely care for patients. The reason for the board action is out of concern that the two largest companies in the United States that build and sell claims edits for profit might disengage from the Clean Claims Task Force and thereby force insurance plans to bring legislation to repeal the clean claims law or delay its implementation.

Click here for more information.

7. Board approves workers' comp tactics

The board set a goal of improving care and access for injured workers in Colorado with the objective of upgrading the Colorado system of workers' compensation so that physicians currently caring for injured workers can thrive in the system and physicians not currently participating will register and participate. The board voted in September to ask the Worker's Compensation and Personal Injury Committee (WCPIC) to set the tactics and to keep us informed. WCPIC has met several times to discuss tactics and the board approved the 2015 tactics at the January meeting. Click here to view the tactics.

8. Board approves nominees to 2014-2015 Councils, Committees and Work Groups

The board approved nominees to 2014-2015 CMS Councils, Committees and Work Groups, including the new CMS Task Force on Health Cost and Quality, which will interact with the state's Commission on Affordable Health Care enacted by the 2014 Colorado General Assembly.

Click here to view the approved council, committee and work group members.

9. Upcoming CMS meetings
The Sounding Block is a periodic electronic publication from the CMS Speaker and Vice-Speaker of the House to members of the House of Delegates to keep you informed of the society's business and concerns throughout the year.

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2015, Colorado Medical Society