Jan. 11, 2017
CMS urges DOI to strengthen United-RMHP agreement
On Jan. 10, CMS President-elect Robert Yakely, MD, testified before the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) to provide comments and recommendations for UnitedHealth Group's proposed acquisition of Rocky Mountain Health Plans (RMHP) that would strengthen the agreement, should it be approved.

Physicians and patients throughout Colorado and especially on the Western Slope are concerned with the acquisition, specifically about long-term consequences it will have on patient care and how it will affect the long-standing relationships between RMHP and physicians that have been a model for the nation. As Yakely explained to the insurance commissioner, "The historical record of industry mergers demonstrate that whatever savings are realized through scaling efficiencies are not passed on to patients or their physicians. They simply give the health plans a bigger stick that exacerbates the already dangerous imbalances in physician-health plan business relationships, and clinical determinations."

Based on extensive discussion and evaluation, including numerous listening sessions and outreach to Western Slope physicians, CMS strongly urged the insurance commissioner to strengthen the acquisition agreement by including conditions that would protect patients, establish a physician advisory committee, offer professionally facilitated dialogues to each IPA served by RMHP, ensure continuity in leadership, and keep United accountable on its promise to "study, learn and apply."

Read more on CMS.org.
Registration is now open for the CMS Physician Leadership Skills Series
Follow through on the commitment to yourself and your profession
As changes in Colorado health care accelerate, it is more important than ever to have well-trained and active physician leaders guiding the way. Thanks to a generous grant from the Physicians Foundation, the Colorado Medical Society is proud to present the Physician Leadership Skills Series (PLSS) to help enhance physician leadership capacity in Colorado and provide current and emerging physician leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to serve their patients, their practice, their profession and their community.

Registration for the first of eight innovative programs is now available, and dates have been set through April. These programs, held Saturday mornings in person around the state or weeknights via video conference, are aimed at deepening your awareness, developing crucial skills and equipping you with the tools and experience you need to lead tomorrow's health care in Colorado. This series is free for CMS members; non-members are ineligible.

The first program, Giving and receiving feedback / Building social capital, will be held Feb. 11, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. in Denver. Find more information and links to register for all programs at www.cms.org/events/leadership-skills. CMS is finalizing curriculum and speakers for the other events and will post information as it is available.
Become a CMS leader
Call for nominations: 2017 president-elect, AMA delegates and alternate delegates
The nomination period for the 2017 Colorado Medical Society all-member election is open through Jan. 31, 2017. All members should consider nominating a colleague or self-nominating for one of the open leadership positions: president-elect (one position open), AMA delegate (three positions open) and alternate delegate (three positions open).

The election guide is available here. This guide provides all the information a potential candidate needs about the duties, eligibility, terms of office and honorarium for each open position, as well as candidate requirements, campaign guidelines and the election process. The position descriptions and qualifications for office are available starting on page three of the election guide and the candidate requirements on page five of the election guide. Questions? Email president@cms.org.
A message from Katie Lozano: Working for Colorado physicians on federal health care reform
Given the profound uncertainties as to direction and velocity of federal health care policy and funding streams, which by definition are interdependent with state policy and funding, the Colorado Medical Society has been collaborating with a diverse working group of organizations formed by the Denver Metro Chamber, Health Advocates Alliance, and Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, to form a set of "common principles" that were delivered on Jan. 4 to the Colorado Congressional Delegation. The group was very amenable to phrasing and construction preferred by CMS to ensure compatibility with our long-standing positions regarding health system reforms.

The board of directors will convene a work session on Friday, Jan. 20 to assess the congressional dynamics and will likely send you a series of flash polls to gauge your reactions and concerns as the federal health care reform debate evolves. I ask that you please respond to these surveys. Click here to read more about the coalition, common principles and CMS's work on CMS.org.
SIM office to release cohort 2 RFA
The SIM team will release a request for applications (RFA) next month for primary care practices to participate in the second cohort of SIM. Click here for more information on the cohort 2 RFA and mark your calendars for the following webinar dates to learn more about SIM, the application process and the value of participation:
  • Feb. 22, 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
  • March 1, 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
  • March 2, 12 - 1 p.m.   
CIVHC: Health care service prices vary widely across Colorado
A new report from the Colorado All-Payer Claims Database shows that payments for health care services vary widely across Colorado but CIVHC concludes that it is impossible to draw general conclusions about variation in prices based solely on geography or volume of services performed. Read more on CMS.org.
Colorado End-of-Life Options Act" resource and live program for health care providers
The Colorado Medical Society is working on numerous fronts to assist physicians in understanding Proposition 106, which legalizes medical aid in dying (also called physician-assisted death). The office of the CMS general council has prepared a document containing information physicians should know about the law. Click here to read this important summary that includes a sample form for patients to request aid-in-dying medication.

The Iris Project, which provides a variety of resources on end-of-life care, is offering a live program -- "Ins & Outs of Colorado's End-of-Life Options Act" -- in several locations in January 2017, each 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Space is limited and registration closes Jan. 12. The registration fee is $150.

Choose from the following dates and locations:
  • Jan. 19, Donor Alliance, 8175 East First Ave., Denver.
  • Jan. 20, Donor Alliance, 8175 East First Ave., Denver.  
  • Jan. 24, Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care, 2550 Tenderfoot Hill Street, Colorado Springs.
  • Jan. 25, Temple Baptist Church, 3030 Thatcher Ave., Pueblo.
Learn more and register here.
DEA reverses announced change to registration renewal process
As CMS reported in a Dec. 21 special news alert, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reversed a decision to change is registration renewal process. The DEA had previously announced that effective Jan. 1, 2017, they would no longer allow a grace period for registrants who failed to file a timely renewal application. At the urging of the American Medical Association, the DEA reversed its decision and posted a notice that it is retaining its current policy and procedures, with one minor change, regarding registration renewals.

Read more on CMS.org.
Sponsors
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Rates as low as 2.14% variable and 3.25% fixed. Visit www.LKrefi.com/co-med. Phone: 888-549-9050 Email: customer.care@lendkey.com

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