Nov. 22, 2016
Launching Central Line
The Colorado Medical Society is proud to launch Central Line, a revolutionary approach to member participation that brings your voice directly into the CMS boardroom. Central Line, a web-based communications platform, empowers you to:
  1. Give your board representative input before and after he or she votes on policy at CMS board of directors meetings, with no login or registration required. Your board member will personally review your input and your comments.
  2. Give input to colleagues on policy proposals they submit to CMS that are of interest to you through Central Line's "Interest Areas" feature.
  3. Submit policy proposals to CMS 24 hours a day, seven days a week instead of once a year at an annual meeting.
Central Lines empowers CMS members and makes the board of directors more grassroots-responsive. It's a win-win! See the graphic here to see how Central Line will work. Log in today by visiting www.cms.org/central-line.

All members automatically have a Central Line account but will need to log in and select Interest Areas and communication preferences. Your login credentials are the same as for the members-only section of CMS.org. See this article on CMS.org for detailed instructions on how to log in to Central Line, complete your Interest Area profile and choose your preferred method of communication.
Board directs CMS to develop and distribute "End-of-Life Act" education to members
The CMS Board of Directors approved a measure at their Nov. 18 meeting to educate physicians on the newly passed Proposition 106, the "Colorado End-of-Life Options Act," which allows individuals with a terminal illness to request from their physician and self-administer medical aid-in-dying medication.

CMS will develop timely and accurate peer and legal-reviewed materials to educate physicians on the new law while carefully listening to and considering member concerns and recommendations. The CMS Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) will lead this effort. Council members will:
  1. Approve member educational materials;
  2. Evaluate members' concerns and make recommendations to strengthen physician and patient protections as needed and appropriate;
  3. Work with the Colorado Medical Board and/or other state agencies on any guidelines that may be required as a result of the law's passage;
  4. Coordinate closely with interested component societies for the purpose of assisting them with their work with local end-of-life grassroots initiatives; and
  5. Maintain an ongoing assessment of the act's impact on physicians and patients.
The board voted on Sept. 16 to take a neutral public stance on Proposition 106, recognizing the strongly held and divergent views of CMS members regarding end-of-life assistance. This decision was preceded by an in-depth analysis of medical aid in dying, as well as review by and advice from CEJA, an all-member survey, and a review of and change in CMS policy.
Health insurance mega-mergers: Bad medicine for Colorado
On Nov. 21, the lawsuit against the proposed Anthem-Cigna merger filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and numerous state attorneys general, including Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, went to trial. The lawsuit against the Aetna-Humana merger is scheduled to go to trial Dec. 5.

On Nov. 10, plaintiffs filed a pretrial brief in the Anthem-Cigna case that prominently featured the monopsony claim -- a health insurer's ability to compensate providers below competitive levels. The brief emphasized that antitrust laws protect buyers and sellers equally. Thus, physicians, as sellers of services, should receive the same antitrust protection from being victimized by an insurer merger as insurers receive in the case of a merger of providers.

The Colorado Medical Society is on record that the mergers will result in higher premiums, less patient access/time with physicians, reductions in staff, cuts in infrastructure and/or technology spending, and a move away from community-based practices. CMS has been participating in a 16-state medical society "Block the Merger Campaign" expertly led by the American Medical Association.

"We believe these blockbuster mergers amount to a grab at anticompetitive market power that would substantially decrease competition in several of the state's health insurance markets," said CMS President Katie Lozano, MD, FACR.

According to an AMA analysis based on federal antitrust guidelines, the Aetna-Humana merger would enhance Aetna's market power in Medicare Advantage markets in Boulder, Colorado Springs, Greeley, Pueblo, Grand Junction and Fort Collins-Loveland. The Anthem-Cigna merger also raises significant competitive concerns in Colorado.

"If Anthem or Aetna get their way, these companies will have even less incentive than they do now to take care of people, and the mergers would ultimately compromise the ability of physicians to advocate for their patients," said AMA President Andrew W Gurman, M.D. "In practice, market power allows big insurers to exercise control over clinical decisions, which undermines the patient-physician relationship and eliminates key safeguards of patient care."

The DOJ and Attorney General Coffman deserve credit for joining forces in a legal challenge to prevent these unprecedented mergers, which, if completed, would harm Colorado patients. Stay tuned for more updates on the two trials.
Basics of chronic pain management: Enhance your knowledge with CPEP course
Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain and that number is expected to increase as the population ages, according to the Center for Personalized Education for Physicians (CPEP). Many patients seek help not from pain specialists, but from primary care or other providers. At the same time, opioid abuse is at epidemic levels, leading regulators and law enforcement to place increased scrutiny on the prescribing of pain medications. Against this backdrop, it is critical that prescribers have a solid foundation on the basics of chronic pain management.

CPEP will host a new one-day seminar, Basics of Chronic Pain Management, on Dec. 10 in Denver to help physicians treat this population of patients safely. It is intended for those who are not pain management specialists. Learn more by downloading a program flyer here. To enroll, please call (303) 577-3232.
Health care boards host community meeting - Nov. 29 in person and online

DORA's Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO) will host a community meeting in Denver on Nov. 29, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., to discuss potential updates to the Policy for Prescribing and Dispensing Opioids. The Colorado health care licensing boards are seeking public input to understand the needs of Coloradans and the impact of the policy in order to craft right-touch guidelines that serve the dual purpose of treating the individual patient and public health.

DPO is seeking to involve health care professionals, patient family members, behavioral health specialists, substance abuse treatment providers, and the general public at-large in forums around prescribing opioids. The policy forum is the third in recent months, after an event in Pueblo on May 6 and Greeley on Sept. 20.

Three Ways to Participate

In person: Civic Center Plaza, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1900, Denver, CO 80202.
By webinar: To participate in the community meeting via webinar, please register here.
By written comment: Those unable to participate on Nov. 29 can submit written comments. Email them to jo.donlin@state.co.us by 5 p.m. on Dec. 9 using the subject line "Opioid Policy Comments."

Building Blocks for Safety: Clinical Competence, Culture and Collaboration - Dec. 1-2

The Colorado Hospital Association presents "Building Blocks for Safety: Clinical Competence, Culture and Collaboration" Dec. 1-2 at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center. The seminar has been awarded 3 COPIC Points.

Attendees will explore a variety of cultural and clinical strategies to improve teamwork and patient safety in their facility, plus hear from a local woman who survived sepsis and continues to live with its effects. Clinical topics include: sepsis, MDRO, hospital-acquired delirium and diagnostic errors that occur in hospitals. Cultural topics include physician engagement, patient advisor role in safety, high functioning teams, and learning from outliers in hospital medicine.

There is no cost to attend but registration is required. Learn more here.

Sponsors
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

GreenLight is the national leader in web-enabled behavioral health testing with over half a million assessments in 35 states. GreenLight is designed to help physicians enhance patient care, improve population health and add incremental revenue to the practice. Visit www.Greenlight.md or call 866-602-1778.

The average physician can save $38,000 by refinancing their student loans with LendKey! CMS members get a $400 cash bonus when refinancing through this partnership.

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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