Nov. 20, 2017
Learn how to make your meetings more effective and productive
Attend the final Physician Leadership Skills Series program on Dec. 9
Would you rather have a root canal than attend certain meetings? Have you ever been to a meeting where a participant hijacked the agenda or where you as the leader could not keep everyone engaged? Why are our meetings so painful? Would you like to lead meetings that are more productive or effective? To advance our work, we must meet, and there are effective ways to make those gatherings productive and even enjoyable. 
 
Make plans today to attend the final program in CMS's Physician Leadership Skills Series (PLSS), "Best Practices in Meeting Management." It will be held Dec. 9, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the CMS offices in Denver. This series is exclusive to CMS members only. Get more information here. Register now!
 
In this highly interactive workshop, participants will learn strategies associated with productive meetings. Attention will focus on the structural elements of meetings, providing strategies for effectively managing the meeting processes and creating opportunities for active and respectful participation. Participants will learn how to build consensus on meeting mechanics and tactfully hold the group accountable to those mechanics, plus how to plan and practice respectful responses to behaviors that detract from the group's goals. Don't miss this opportunity!
Clarity on 2017 MIPS: Four things physicians must do to participate
At this point, there are two big items that should be on physicians' to-do list regarding their 2017 obligations for the new Medicare Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS): Verify that they that they are on the right path for their goals for the program; and, if not, take advantage of the "one patient, one measure" reporting option to avoid a 4 percent payment penalty in 2019.

Read more in this article from the AMA, which includes more on exemptions, a tutorial on "one patient, one measure," and other resources. 
Prepare your practice and patients for the New Medicare Card coming in 2018
From April 2018 to April 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will mail new Medicare cards to all active Medicare beneficiaries.  The New Medicare Card removes Social Security numbers from Medicare cards due to concerns about identity theft.  The new cards have a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) instead of the Social Security Number-based identifier known as the Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN).

Practices must be prepared to use MBIs starting April 1, 2018, as patients new to the Medicare program beginning in April 2018 will only have cards with MBIs.  From April 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2019, the federal CMS will accept both HICNs and MBIs on Medicare transactions (including eligibility requests and claims) for beneficiaries in the Medicare program prior to April 1, 2018 (i.e., those who  received a HICN).  Beginning in January 2020, physicians may only use MBIs. (Exceptions may include appeals and retrospective adjustments.) 

Read more here from the AMA about how to prepare your practice and your patients.
Choose your preliminary measure selections for the new Alternative Payment Model for Primary Care
The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing is moving forward with the implementation of the Alternative Payment Model for Primary Care (APM). A survey for practices to select measures in the model is now open. Measure selections are not final The survey should help practices identify which measures are most likely to be successful for them. The department will use the information provided from the survey to plan work on APM implementation.  Practices will make final measure selection at the end of 2018 for the 2019 performance year. 

A link to the survey is available on the department's website here .  The website also has pre-survey instructions, links to resources including the APM Survival Guide, and a short video demonstrating how to use the APM model.    The survey will remain open through Jan. 31, 2018. 
Blood pressure control guideline released, AMA/AHA campaigns launched
The highly anticipated 2017 Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults was released Nov. 13 at the American Heart Association's (AHA) Scientific Sessions.

The American Medical Association and American Heart Association also announced the launch of two national campaigns -- one for consumers and one for health care providers -- designed to improve blood pressure control in the U.S. The first campaign features heart attack and stroke survivors who underscore the importance of re-engaging with a physician to get back on a management plan before it's too late. The campaign is available in English and Spanish at LowerYourHBP.org and BajeSuPresion.org.

Second, to prepare health care providers for a productive dialogue with patients, AMA and AHA launched the Target: BP Improvement Program -- a suite of tools and resources that incorporates the new 2017 hypertension guideline. Target: BP also offers access to the latest guideline information, making it a single source of guidance to achieve improved blood pressure control among adult patient populations.

Final rules on QPP and Physician Fee Schedule released
On Nov. 2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the final 2018 Quality Payment Program rule and the final 2018 Physician Fee Schedule rule. Combined, the regulations are approximately 3,000 pages in length. AMA staff will review both regulations and develop summaries. In the meantime, here are the links to the regulations. QPP link | PFS link
Colorado launches statewide health IT roadmap
The state's official Health IT Roadmap, a plan which provides informed, strategic direction for Health IT investments across Colorado, was formally approved by the Governor's office on Nov. 16, and unanimously approved by the eHealth Commission for implementation.

The Colorado Health IT Roadmap -- developed by the Office of eHealth Innovation (OeHI) and steered by the eHealth Commission -- includes 16 high-level, actionable initiatives that outline the state's vision for advancing health in Colorado by leveraging health information technology. These initiatives include stakeholder engagement, governance, resources and finance, privacy and security, innovation, and technology.

The complete portfolio of initiatives aims to improve and enhance existing HIT infrastructure and leverage innovation to achieve Colorado's Triple Aim of the best care for the best value to attain the best health for all Coloradans.

Read a press release here.
Reminder: Physician Compare review open through Dec. 1
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services extended the 30-day preview period for Physician Compare information through Friday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. ET due to technical issues when the preview was first available. The preview allows physicians to review the 2016 performance information targeted to be publicly reported on Physician Compare starting in December 2017. Click here to access the preview portal.

For more information about preview and the measures available for preview, visit the Physician Compare Initiative page. For assistance with accessing PQIP, or obtaining your EIDM user role, contact the QualityNet Help Desk at 866-288-8912 or qnetsupport@hcqis.org. With questions about Physician Compare, public reporting, or the preview period, contact PhysicianCompare@Westat.com.
Registration opening soon: Public Policy Leadership Forum on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018
Advocacy in the public policy realm can be a powerful tool to effect positive change -- if you understand the nuances of a powerful short game and strategic long game. The CMS CPMG Section, Medical Student Component and COPIC invite physicians and medical students to attend a Public Policy Leadership Forum on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018.

You advocate for your patients every day. Take that advocacy to the next level by learning from some of the best in the business, getting the information you need and practicing the key skills for success in public policy advocacy. The interactive and action-packed program will cover the basics on the legislative and rule-making process, how to approach hot-button issues, the importance of knowing your elected officials and candidates, the mechanics of lobbying and real-world opportunities to get involved now.

The event will be held at CMS/COPIC headquarters. Seating is limited to 85 participants divided between physicians and students. The first five Western Slope registrants receive a complimentary overnight stay in Denver. Watch for registration opening in late November. Find more information here.
Save the date for "Physician Burnout: Integrated Strategies for Diverse Stakeholders," May 10-11, 2018 in Avon, Colo. 
Save the date for the inaugural "Physician Burnout: Integrated Strategies for Diverse Stakeholders" conference, to be held May 10-11, 2018 at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain in Avon, Colo. This two-day conference will focus on the root of physician burnout as well as provide tools and resources for mitigating burnout and achieving a holistic approach to physician wellness. Speakers from all over the country will share their research and experience on this important subject at this innovative and exciting event. Click here for a preliminary agenda with speaker biographies.
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