April 10, 2016
Medicaid funding parity with Medicare
HB 16-1408, Cash Fund Transfers for Health Care Programs passed the Senate on April 7 and is headed to a house conference committee. This bill will address part of the proposed decrease in funding for physician services within Medicaid. Maintaining Medicaid parity with Medicare rates for evaluation and management codes has been a top legislative priority for Colorado Medical Society this year.
The bill creates a Primary Care Provider Sustainability Fund and transfers $20 million in cash funds for the continuation of Medicaid rate enhancements in specific areas including primary care office visits, preventative medicine visits, counseling and health risk assessments, immunization administration, health screening services, and newborn care (including neonatal critical care).
CMS thanks all physician members, specialty society partners and others that joined advocacy efforts to fight for this critical funding to help ensure access to care for Medicaid patients. It is a hard fought victory.
It is also important to recognize that this achievement is only a partial success. With only $20 million to fill a $49 million hole, some code enhancements were removed from the formula, most notably care in emergency settings. Additionally, these funds are one-time and not built into the Medicaid rate base. 
The bill is expected to pass the house and then be signed by the governor. CMS legislative staff will continue to actively champion the bill in addition to beginning work on finding funding solutions for next year and beyond that ensure that physicians are appropriately paid for their care of Medicaid patients. Watch for more details.
The New CMS: 7 Reasons CMS endorses COPIC

Born of a crisis and recognized today as a national leader in patient safety and risk management, COPIC is one of Colorado's proudest health care achievements. The physician-governed organization was founded in 1981 by CMS to address the upward spiral on the cost of medical liability insurance that was adversely affecting access to care. For over 30 years, CMS and COPIC have united on legislation, education and advocacy.

At the same time, COPIC's connection to CMS has helped the company develop patient safety programs that address on-the-ground realities for physicians. CMS endorses COPIC as its number one strategic partner and the preferred medical professional liability company for all Colorado physicians, particularly for these top seven COPIC perks:  

  1. Patient safety and risk management resources that support better medicine
  2. Direct access to medical and legal experts
  3. 3Rs program
  4. Unparalleled defense
  5. Strong partner in legislative advocacy
  6. COPIC Financial Service Group (FSG)
  7. Commitment to improving health care in Colorado

Access the full 7 Reasons document here.

Latest Colorado Medicine features suite of stories on the health insurance mergers
The virtual issue of Colorado Medicine
is now available on CMS.org in addition to all members having been sent a printed copy via U.S. mail. This hard-hitting issue explores the proposed health insurance industry mergers including alarming results from a CMS all-member survey, perspectives from the insurance companies and Division of Insurance, and legal reviews. Go to 
to view the virtual issue before you see the print issue in your mailbox.
2015 EHR Meaningful Use hardship exemption deadline extended

The deadline to apply for a Meaningful Use (MU) hardship exemption has been extended to July 1, 2016 from its original deadline of March 15. The AMA is encouraging ALL physicians who participated in the 2015 Medicare MU program to apply for the hardship.

The application and additional instructions are available on the federal CMS EHR Incentive Programs website. Submission of a hardship exception application does not prevent providers from attesting and receiving an incentive payment if meaningful use requirements are met. In essence, the hardship exemption will act as a safety net. Therefore, physicians who believe that they met the MU requirements for the 2015 reporting period should still apply for the hardship protection.

Note that the program operates on a two-year look-back period, meaning that physicians who are granted an exception for the 2015 program will avoid a financial penalty for 2017. The federal CMS has stated that it will broadly accept hardship exemptions.

Free support for Colorado providers to transform chronic pain care in the fight against prescription opioid abuse

The Weitzman Institute is working with the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to offer free telehealth education and training sessions to healthcare providers on evidence-based strategies for better management of complex pain and medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.

Providers may participate in one or two HIPAA-compliant teleconferencing programs, which are available at no cost to their practices.

  • Project ECHO Pain connects primary care providers with chronic pain specialists to learn more holistic, multi-disciplinary approaches to treating chronic pain and to reduce the need for prescribing opioids. The sessions are provided twice monthly for one year. Participants and staff members from participating sites also receive access to PainNET, an online resource where staff can access pain care tools, news, and blogs, and collaborate with experts and peers.
  • Project ECHO Buprenorphine links providers with specialists on buprenorphine treatment and counseling, providing them with the support and expert advice that they need to gain confidence in their management of opioid dependence with buprenorphine. The sessions are provided once a month for one year.
Read more on CMS.org.
SIM announces first cohort of primary care practices

The Colorado SIM Office has announced the first cohort of primary care practices selected to participate in practice transformation activities through the SIM initiative. These practices will play an integral role in achieving Colorado SIM's goal of providing access to integrated physical and behavioral health care services in coordinated systems, with value-based payment structures, for 80 percent of Colorado residents by 2019. By participating in SIM, practices will receive a comprehensive practice transformation support package as well as the opportunity to participate in alternative payment models, the goals of which are to simultaneously improve patient outcomes while promoting greater return on investment. View the list of practices here.

New look coming to Medicaid in May, Medicaid cards in March

Starting May 2016, Colorado Medicaid will change its name to "Health First Colorado". The new name and logo aims to better represent Colorado's fresh approach to public health care coverage.

Beginning as early as March 20, cards printed from Colorado.gov/PEAK will have the Health First Colorado name and logo. In June 2016, all hard copy cards sent to newly enrolled members will reflect the Health First Colorado name and logo. Current cards are still valid; members do not need to request new cards. As a reminder, members are only required by the department to furnish their photo ID at appointments; Health First Colorado cards are not required to receive services. Providers should verify a member's identity and eligibility at each appointment. Please ensure that all front desk and billing staff are aware of this change. Learn more about Health First Colorado at Colorado.gov/hcpf/hfc.

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.

Holocaust Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics Program Monday, May 2
The Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is pleased to announce a public lecture on Monday, May 2, by the prominent commentator and bioethicist Art Caplan on the topic, "The use and misuse of the Nazi analogy in American politics." Art Caplan, PhD, is a leading American bioethicist and author of the landmark book, When Medicine Went Mad: Bioethics and the HolocaustThis novel program brings the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides to bear on ethical challenges facing health professionals and society today.
Noon-1:00 pm: Presentation at the Fulginiti Pavilion: "How did German researchers in the camps go so wrong?"
1:30-2:30 pm: 
Panel Discussion at the Fulginiti Pavilion: "Why don't we teach about the participation of health professionals in the Holocaust?"
Community Presentation at the Wolf Theater, 350 S Dahlia St, Denver, CO 8024: "The Use and Misuse of the Nazi Analogy in AmericanPolitics." A dessert reception will follow.

Learn more about the event by clicking here. All events are free; however, RSVP is requested by clicking here. 
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 remaining dates through June 14 and access the registration link on CMS.org.

National Prescription Take-Back Day promo toolkit available for April 30 event

A promotional toolkit for the April 30, 2016 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is now available on the take-back webpage of dea.gov. The toolkit features graphics, flyers, posters, brochures, etc. that can be used to help publicize the day. Consider using the materials in your office or on your practice website to alert your patients of this opportunity.

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.

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June 23-26, 2016: Attend Aspen Ideas Festival Spotlight Health, the premier creative health forum in the world. Qualifying physicians earn CME credits. Visit www.aspenideas.org/
festival/register. Call 970-544-7916 or email Karen.petersen

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Expert help for Colorado healthcare providers in the battle against pain and prescription opioid abuse. FREE education and training sessions begin in April - enroll today!
Learn more by clicking here.
Contact: Ági Erickson of the Weitzman Institute at 860.347.6971 Ext. 3741 agi@chc1.com
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.

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