March 1, 2016
CMS leaders storm the Hill during AMA National Advocacy Conference

Physician leaders from CMS, ADEMS, Denver, Mesa, Northern Colorado, and Aurora-Adams were on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 23-24, to advocate for physicians and patients. The delegation focused on educating the Colorado congressional delegation on four main issues:

The Hill visits were part of the American Medical Association's National Advocacy Conference, which brought together over 30 state medical associations to hear the latest on national health policy and the politics of the 2016 election cycle. This was the first trip in well over a decade that physicians did not have to lobby for a fix to the sustainable growth rate (SGR).


7 strategies to achieve safe opioid prescribing

CMS strongly supports Gov. John Hickenlooper's efforts to reverse the escalating trend of opioid abuse and misuse and its often-tragic consequences in Colorado. The CMS platform on preventing prescription drug abuse guides our active participation in the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention. Through collaboration with the Consortium, CMS is working to assure access to compassionate, evidence-based care for patients who suffer from acute and chronic pain while reducing the potential for medically inappropriate use and diversion of prescribed medications.

See "7 Strategies to Achieve Safe Opioid Prescribing" on

CMS president testifies on payment and delivery system reform

CMS President Mike Volz, MD, testified before the Colorado Commission on Affordable Health Care on Feb. 8, providing thoughts on behalf of the society on payment and delivery system reform.

He made the following points, among others:

  • There is no one right way to structure payment reforms and experimentation should be encouraged.
  • In addition to bundled payments, [other models] should be pursued such as payment for high-value service, condition-based payments, warrantied payments, episode payments and condition-based payments.
  • I constantly hear the frustration from doctor colleagues that one plan requires that they do things one way while another requires them to do it another way. When it comes to payment reform, the only way to harness the critical mass necessary for practices to change is through aligned all-payer approaches.
  • It is important to support enhanced primary care reimbursement using value-based models; high performance primary care is the foundation upon which cost-effective, quality care rests.

Read his full testimony on

Federal CMS clarifies Meaningful Use hardship exemption

In response to requests from the American Medical Association, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued FAQ #14357 clarifying that applying for a hardship exemption from the 2017 meaningful use payment penalty will not preclude physicians from receiving the incentive if they successfully attest to meaningful use in 2015. In essence, the hardship exemption will act as a safety net. As a reminder, the AMA is encouraging all physicians to apply for a hardship exemption as a result of the delay of the 2015 meaningful use modification rule. Step-by-step instructions (AMA log-in required) on how to file for the exemption, which must be received by the agency by March 15, can be found on the AMA website.

Updated: Zika virus guidance to physician members

The Colorado Medical Society first published a digest of guidance on the Zika virus in early February and pledges to continue providing information as this situation progresses both in the U.S. and internationally. Go to the CMS Zika information page on for updated information on the virus, its transmission and testing.

Survey: Tell us your CME needs

The Colorado Medical Society's CME program requests all members complete the CME Needs Assessment Survey. This electronic survey aims to identify professional development needs of physicians and their practice teams and will allow us to focus our efforts toward those areas that will be most beneficial to physicians, practices and patients. It takes less than five minutes to complete and all responses will be kept confidential. Complete the survey online today.

Peer Assistance Services and HCPF partner to provide substance abuse training

Peer Assistance Services has teamed up with the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) to provide no-cost training and technical assistance for Colorado Medicaid providers on screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT). SBIRT is an effective preventive health service to identify, reduce and prevent problematic substance use. The Medicaid project goals are to increase the statewide adoption of SBIRT to help prevent substance use disorder, to detect risky use and offer support, and to refer patients to substance use treatment who need it.

View the seven available dates starting March 9 and ending June 14 and access the registration link on

Moving from theory to action at the Collaborate in Practice Conference

The MGMA/AMA Collaborate in Practice Conference, March 20-22 at the five-star Broadmoor luxury resort in Colorado Springs, Colo., emphasizes the importance of having physician and administrative leaders come together to achieve optimal outcomes. The education program will feature practical tools, case studies and sessions from practice teams that have successfully moved to new delivery models.

Whether you're beginning the journey or have already made the transition and need ways to improve, the education sessions will provide leading-edge knowledge and strategies to ensure that your practice is successful in the new value-based environment.

Register and book your hotel by March 4 to take advantage of special room block pricing.

Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation Level II Accreditation seminar

The Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation will hold a Level II Physicians' Accreditation seminar in the Denver area Friday and Saturday, April 15-16, for licensed MDs/DOs wishing to evaluate impairments of injured workers. Under Colorado law, only Level II physicians may render impairment ratings for purposes of worker's compensation. CME credits are available through this course.

The fee to become accredited for the statutory three-year period is $400, which includes the cost of the seminar or home study option (if you are unable to attend the seminar). Download a flyer here. Download the registration form here.

Colorado Practice Transformation Network informational webinars

TCPi Colorado Practice Transformation Network (PTN) presents an opportunity for 2,000 clinicians in Colorado to receive practice support as they prepare for new payment models. The Colorado Medical Society encourages all physicians -- primary care and specialists -- to stay up to date on Medicare payment reform and consider taking advantage of this federally funded support to help your practice thrive in the evolving health care landscape.

Join TCPi for the one of the weekly informational webinars on each Wednesday in March to learn more about the Transforming Clinical Practices Initiative and the Colorado Practice Transformation Network. Register here. Questions? Email or visit

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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