April 15, 2015
Congress votes to repeal SGR
Thanks to all physician advocates for your work

Yesterday, April 14, the U.S. Senate voted 92-8 to pass H.R. 2, the "Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act," or MACRA, which at last repeals the sustainable growth rate (SGR) Medicare payment formula. The U.S. House of Representatives passed an identical bill on March 26, 392-37. The bill now heads to the president for his signature.

Read more about the provisions of the bill here, on the American Medical Association's website.

According to the AMA, Medicare is expected to begin processing claims tomorrow for services provided from April 1-14 at the rates that were effective before the 21 percent cut took effect. Under the provisions of H.R. 2, the fee schedule conversion factor will be increased by 0.5 percent on July 1, 2015, and by another 0.5 percent on Jan. 1, 2016.

The AMA and Colorado Medical Society express our sincere thanks to all of the physician advocates who participated in a successful grassroots advocacy campaign to eliminate the SGR. Medicine's united voice was instrumental to this success. We encourage you to express your appreciation to the Colorado congressional delegation for voting for H.R. 2, a complex bill that reflects bipartisan compromise.

Reserve your hotel for Spring Conference today

The deadline for the hotel group rate at the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail for the 2015 CMS Spring Conference is today, April 15. Call the Sonnenalp at (800) 654-8312 or go online today to receive the discounted rate.

CMS's spring conference theme is "Breaking down barriers: Reunifying physicians and patients." It will be held May 1-3. This activity has been approved for 5.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ and 3 COPIC points.

The conference will open with a social reception Friday evening. CMS physician or medical student members in attendance will be eligible for a fabulous giveaway -- one night's lodging at the Sonnenalp on July 25 and two premium tickets to the New York Philharmonic performance at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Find the full agenda and more on the spring conference page of CMS.org, www.cms.org/events/spring-conference.

Act now during the 2015 open payments review and dispute period

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services developed the Open Payments Program to comply with the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. This requires the agency to publicly report data on items of value that are given to physicians and teaching hospitals on an annual basis.

Registration and review in the open payments system for 2014 data opened April 6. The official 45-day review and dispute period ends May 20. Disputes that are initiated by May 20 will be flagged in the public release on June 30. Go the Sunshine Act page of the AMA website for step-by-step instructions on how to register and review your open payments data.

Physicians can share their registration experience with the AMA by sending an email to OpenPayments@ama-assn.org. Responses will be used in the AMA's ongoing advocacy efforts.

CMS opposes SB 259, "Out-of-Network Health Care Provider Charges"

The Colorado Medical Society Council on Legislation has voted to oppose a bill currently under consideration by the General Assembly, Senate Bill 259 by Sen. Irene Aguilar, MD (D-Denver), and Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver).

"SB 259 attempts to address out-of-network health care charges but as written will disrupt market forces by allowing health plans to effectively set and cap physician payment, increase administrative burden and lawsuits and mandate an impossible patient notification requirement," said CMS President Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts, MD. "It will worsen an already unequal balance of power between insurers and doctors, increase administrative burden and expenses and endanger patients' access to care by further narrowing networks."

In legislative alerts sent in early April, CMS encouraged members to contact their state senators to express opposition to the bill, particularly the senators on the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee. This committee will hold a hearing on the bill on April 20. Click here to read more about the provisions of the bill and how to take action.

State implementing electronic death registration system starting May 1
Submit your registration form as soon as possible

The Office of the State Registrar of Vital Statistics will be implementing the Electronic Death Registration (EDR) system on May 1, 2015. All persons who need to gain access to this system -- either to complete death certificates and/or sign/certify -- will need to request access using this form. Once the department has received and processed a request, personnel will email the submitter a user ID and password (if the user will be entering information on death certificates), or a user ID, password and PIN (if the user will be signing a death certificate).

CDPHE is asking that those planning to use the EDR system in early May submit their requests as soon as possible, as high demand could cause delays. They recommend early submission of the form even for physicians who are planning to attend training and/or start using the EDR system at a later date. Please send competed forms to cdphe.edr@state.co.us. Questions? Click here for more information or contact Renee Bear, field liaison, at (303) 692-2179 or Michelle Cowell, field unit manager, at (303) 692-2183.

Engaged Public presents the 2015 Engaged Benefit Design Conference

Do you want more benefit from your health benefits? Join Engaged Public for a full-day conference tomorrow, Thursday, April 16, to learn about a unique Colorado program that combines value-based insurance design principles with shared decision-making. CMS members can receive 20 percent off registration by entering the discount code "EBDfriend".

The purpose of the 2015 Engaged Benefit Design Conference is to take stock of what we as health care leaders are learning and to chart a course for how Coloradans can become the wisest consumers of health care in the nation.

The event will be held at Anschutz Medical Campus. Registration is $50 and includes breakfast, lunch and parking. Click here to read more on CMS.org or click here to go straight to the event registration page. This project is funded by a grant through the CMS Foundation.

Get covered with COPIC

COPIC Insurance Company is Colorado's leading medical liability insurance provider. Three out of four physicians choose COPIC for this critically important coverage. CMS members receive a 10 percent premium discount from COPIC.

For more information, call (720) 858-6000 or visit www.callcopic.com.

Carr Healthcare Realty exclusively represents healthcare tenants and buyers. We assist medical practices in all types of lease and purchase negotiations: New Offices, Expansions, Relocations, Practice Acquisitions, and Lease Renewals. Visit: www.carrhr.com

A world class 12-step program that's 12 steps away from a world-class medical center.
1-877-999-0538 or cedarcolorado.org

CO Drug Card
Compliments of CMS: Reduce patient callbacks, HIPAA compliant, RX Savings up to 75%, click for free customization COLORADO DRUG CARD.
Online CME
The Opioid Crisis: Guidelines and Tools for Improving Chronic Pain Management,
presented by the Colorado School of Public Health and accredited for two credits of CME and approved for COPIC points. This activity examines the best practices and universal precautions for treating chronic pain. Click here for more.
Upcoming events
CMS Spring Conference
May 1-3, 2015
Theme: Breaking down barriers
Sonnenalp Hotel, Vail
COPIC: HR Roundtable
Tuesday, May 19
CPEP presents: "Prescribing Controlled Drugs: Critical Issues and Common Pitfalls"
July 20-22
Hilton Garden Inn, South Colorado Blvd in Denver
CMS Annual Meeting
Sept. 18-20, 2015
Beaver Run Resort, Breckenridge
To comment on something you read in ASAP or to update your contact information, send an e-mail to enews_editor@cms.org. Visit us online at www.cms.org.