Dec. 8, 2015
File by Dec. 16 to avoid Medicare pay cut of 2-4 percent

Problems with how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been collecting and analyzing data related to the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the value-based payment modifier are leading to inappropriate penalties of 2-4 percent of Medicare payments for practices with 10 or more eligible professionals.

How to avoid the penalty: File an informal review request with CMS before midnight Eastern time Dec. 16. The federal CMS has said it will verify incentive eligibility and payment adjustment determinations for practices that file such a request. Additional information about the process and contact information for questions is available in an informal review fact sheet from the agency.

Frustrated with this, the American Medical Society sent a letter (AMA log-in required) that urges the agency not to impose 2016 PQRS penalties or negative value-based payment modifier adjustments on physicians who attempted to comply with PQRS requirements during the 2014 reporting period.

Resource: 2016 EHR Negative Payment Adjustment

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has made available a tip sheet for eligible professionals about the 2016 EHR Negative Payment Adjustment. The adjustment first went into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. Each year, eligible professionals who are not meaningful users of certified electronic health record technology under the Medicare EHR incentive programs will receive an additional 1 percent penalty up to 5 percent by 2019.

Hardship exceptions are available for those without sufficient infrastructure, for newly practicing physicians, unforeseen circumstances or disasters, lack of interaction with patients, lack of control over EHR technology or 2014 EHR vendor issues. Access the tip sheet here.

Additional information can be found on the federal CMS website.

SIM: State agencies partner to improve access to mental health care

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) and the Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM) are partnering to reduce regulatory burden and streamline access to mental health care in Colorado.

DORA's Division of Professions and Occupations is working to simplify the licensing process so qualified mental health providers can more quickly begin work in the community. SIM is creating a framework so those providers are effectively deployed.

"Both efforts contribute to the pipeline that will help fill the shortage and improve health outcomes in Colorado," said DORA Executive Director Joe Neguse in a press release. Read the full release for more information.

Applications being accepted for new eHealth Commission

Applications are currently being accepted for the new eHealth Commission, a group that will provide advice and guidance to Office of eHealth.

The eHealth Innovation Office will promote and advance the secure, efficient and effective use of health information, and help to inform future health information technology initiatives. The commission will provide advice and guidance the innovation office. Gov. John Hickenlooper created the Office of eHealth Innovation and eHealth Commission following extensive discussions with stakeholders in the health information technology community.

The commission will consist of up to 15 members appointed by the governor. Individuals are encouraged to apply who have experience and knowledge in primary health and behavioral health care delivery, health insurance, non-profit health IT-related community organizing, interoperability and data exchange, consumer engagement in health care and health care quality measures. Access the application online here:

Medical students: How would you transform medical education? Tell the AMA by Dec. 11

The American Medical Association is asking students across the country to help shape the future of medical education by answering the question "What does the medical school of the future look like to you?"

Through the AMA Medical Education Innovation Challenge, teams comprised of two to four students (including a team lead who must be working toward an MD or DO; other team members may be students of any discipline) can submit proposals focusing on an innovation addressing an important aspect of medical education that prepares physicians to meet the health care needs of the future. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. Eastern time on Dec. 11.

Winning teams will receive cash prizes (first place - $5,000; second place - $3,000; third place - $1,000), share their submissions with key education stakeholders, and the first place winner will present their submission at the spring meeting of the AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium. For more information and detailed submission requirements, please visit

CMS Board votes to prioritize legislative issues, governance progress; suspends Spring Conference for one year

After a lengthy discussion, the CMS Board of Directors voted to suspend the 2016 Spring Conference to devote resources to the high-stakes legislative policy issues directly affecting physician practices scheduled for this upcoming session and to the implementation of the significant governance reforms approved by the House of Delegates in September.

However, since the House of Delegates has been sunset and the convening of the House comprised a large portion of the annual meeting, CMS is seizing the opportunity to re-engineer the annual meeting and increase its relevance. A task force will decide how to incorporate the most popular features of the spring conference: robust education, legislative issues and programming. CMS encourages all members to mark their calendars for the 2016 Annual Meeting, Sept. 16-18 in Keystone.

Questions or comments? Want to join the work group to re-engineer the annual meeting? Contact CMS President Mike Volz, MD, at or CMS President-elect Katie Lozano, MD, at

There's still time: Register for an all-member webinar - Dec. 16, 6-7 p.m.

Calling all CMS members: Join the Colorado Medical Society for a very important all-member webinar on Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. The one-hour interactive webinar will showcase how the Colorado Medical Society is: (1) Changing to open engagement to all members in a way that is meaningful for you and fits your schedule; and (2) Advocating for members on payer issues. CMS pollster Benjamin Kupersmit will present the results of our recent all-member managed care survey that reveals practice pain points and a clear call to action.

  • WHAT: Colorado Medical Society all-member webinar
  • TITLE: It begins with you: Going back to our roots to improve Colorado health care
  • WHEN: Dec. 16, 2015, 6-7 p.m.
  • REGISTER HERE to receive log-on/call-in instructions

If you have questions about the program or issues registering, please contact Dianna Mellott-Yost at or (720) 858-6321.

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

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A Legal "PotPourri"
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