ASAP e-newsletter: March 27, 2019
Professional review sunset report draws sharp response from plaintiff attorneys
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing, Monday, March 25, on the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) sunset report on the body of law governing professional review. The report recommends that professional review be reenacted with its legal protections maintained. Phil Stahel, MD, and Jason Kelly, MD, representing CMS, and Neal O’Connor, representing the Colorado Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, all testified in support of the report. Plaintiff attorneys were out in force, in effect testifying against reenactment of professional review protections. These attorneys were forcefully critical of the current professional review reporting requirements and espousing the need to access professional review information in civil litigation. The report received unanimous support from the committee and will be filed in the form of legislation before the end of the week. With five weeks left in the legislative session, the fight to reenact professional review has just begun. 

Please be on the watch for a Code Blue legislative alert and respond without delay.
Insurance Commissioner pitches reinsurance bill to CMS physician forum
Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway met with a physician-specialty forum convened by CMS Monday, March 25, to discuss a bill currently under consideration by the Colorado General Assembly that is a priority of the commissioner and Gov. Jared Polis.  House Bill 19-1168 would create a reinsurance program for Coloradans in the individual health insurance market that would provide payments to health insurers to aid in paying high-cost insurance claims once an individual’s claims for the year reach a certain level up to a cap determined by the commissioner. 

The program’s funding mechanism utilizes “Medicare reference-based pricing” to bring down health care costs by reducing what is paid to providers, meaning that providers are paid a percentage of what Medicare pays for services and the savings are passed to consumers through lower health insurance premiums. Amendments are anticipated on the floor of the House of Representatives to remove physician reimbursement cuts from the funding scheme and flesh out exemptions for hospitals that would be affected in an unsustainable way, such as rural hospitals unaffiliated with large systems. Read more on
Medical students descend on the state Capitol for day of advocacy
The Colorado Medical Society Medical Student Component (CMS MSC) hosted Medical Student Day at the Capitol on Thursday, March 21. Thirty-six medical students from the University of Colorado and Rocky Vista University – many in their first year – attended the event for a crash course on effective lobbying and meetings with 12 legislators or their staff. Students also sat in on two committee hearings during the afternoon for a firsthand look at the legislative process. Legislators attended the kick-off lunch and the closing reception, providing additional opportunities for interaction with students. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Thanks to all of those who participated.
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2019 Residency “Match Day” is the largest in history
The 2019 Main Residency Match celebrated its largest in history on March 15, with a record 38,376 applicants submitting program choices for 35,185 positions, the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) announced in a news release. The number of available first-year (PGY-1) positions rose to 32,194, an increase of 1,962 (6.5%) over 2018. NRMP credited the influx of positions, in part, to the increased numbers of osteopathic programs that joined the Main Residency Match as a result of the ongoing transition to a single accreditation system for graduate medical education programs. Read more on
Apply today for the 2018 – 2019 Physician Practice Quality Improvement Award. The deadline is May 31, 2019.

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New analysis breaks down opioid prescribing patterns in Colorado
A new report from the Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC), based on data in the Colorado All Payer Claims Database (CO APCD), helps isolate opportunities to reduce opioid use disorders in the state. While some common opioids are being filled less, the number of days supply being prescribed is often outside recommended guidelines, increasing the potential for addiction. Read more on
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Webinar: Implementing ED Medication-Assisted Treatment - April 2
Join the Colorado Hospital Association for the upcoming Implementing ED Medication-Assisted Treatment (ED MAT) webinar on April 2, 2019 from 10 - 11:30 a.m. During this webinar, three Colorado emergency departments will share their experiences building successful ED MAT programs. Participants will learn what you need to start an ED MAT program in your facility and take advantage of the dedicated Q&A session during the presentation to ask questions of these ED MAT program representatives. Click here to register and to learn more about the webinar.
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Contribute to new AMA-RAND research
The RAND Corporation and American Medical Association are conducting research to better understand and describe how physician practices in a variety of specialties and practice arrangements (independent, IPA, health system, etc.) have integrated behavioral health care into the range of services they offer. If you have integrated behavioral health care in your practice, whether you’re in the early stages or have a well-established program, the AMA asks for your participation in this research project. This phone interview-based research will enable the AMA to provide physicians with training and resources needed to effectively implement and manage behavioral health care in their practices. If you’re interested and available to participate, please contact Mark Friedberg, MD, MPP, RAND Senior Physician Policy Researcher, at
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Federal CMS invites physicians to a Q&A during their Provider Compliance Conference in May
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Center for Program Integrity is coming to Denver and they want to hear from the physician community on what works well, and what can the agency do to better meet your needs. You are invited to join the federal CMS Denver Regional office, the Center for Program Integrity and the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) for a session on Medicare Fee-for-Service compliance programs the evening of May 7. Registration is required and limited to the first 50 physicians who can attend in person. Read more on
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