American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians | February 1, 2017
American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians | February 15, 2017
  ASIPP is proud to announce that Mayor Rudolph "Rudy" Giuliani  will be addressing the attendees of  the 2017 ASIPP Annual Meeting to be held April 20- 22, 2017 in Las Vegas. Mayor Giuliani will be one of our keynote speakers on Saturday, August 22, 2017 at Caesar's Palace in Vegas.  

You are not going to want to miss this year's meeting!  

Mayor Giuliani  is an American lawyer, businessman, public speaker, former mayor of New York City, and current White House cyber security adviser.   He became a household name for his role during the aftermath of September 11, 2001. He was named the Time Man of the Year in 2001 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his service to his country following the 9-11 terrorist attack.   Mayor Giuliani joins our prestigious panel of guest speakers lined up for this year's meeting including: Including  
  • Chairman Greg Walden, Chairman of House Energy and Commerce Committee
  • Congressman Ed Whitfield, Long-time friend of ASIPP and recently retired Congressman for Kentucky
Other speakers are:  
  • Abraham Verghese, MD, MACP - Keynote Speaker Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA ( Abraham Verghese is a physician-author, Professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford University Medical School and Senior Associate Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine.   
  • Robert Wachter, MD University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA Dr. Robert Wachter is Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He was named one of the 50 most influential physicians in the U.S. for each of the past 7 years.  
  • Robert Laszewski President, Health Policy and Strategy Associates, LLC Robert Laszewski is a frequent speaker at ASIPP events. He is the president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, Inc. (HPSA), a policy and marketplace consulting firm dealing with health policy and market change.  
  • Richard North, MD President, the Neuromodulation Foundation, Inc. Dr. Richard North has directed the Neurosurgery Spine Service for 16 years at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has received The American Academy of Pain Medicine's Founder's Award, and the North American Neuromodulation Society's Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of implanted electrical stimulation devices.
  • Philippe Hernigou, MD - Keynote Speaker Chief of Surgery & Professor of Hospital Henri Mondor, University, Paris. Dr. Hernigou served as a Member of the Board of Scientific Advisors of Stemedica Cell Technologies, Inc. He has used autologous bone marrow concentrate (BMC) to treat orthopedic pathologies since 1990.  
  • Peter Staats, MD, Immediate Past President, ASIPP
  • Tim Coan, Chief Executive Officer, ALN Medical Management
  • Devi E. Nampiaparampil, MD, Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology and Rehabilitation, NYU
  • Laxmaiah Manchikanti, Chairman of the Board and CEO, ASIPP
Cigna which wants $14.8 billion after breakup

Cigna ended its merger agreement with Anthem on Tuesday and said it will seek $13 billion in damages from Anthem on top of the $1.85 billion break-up fee outlined in the deal. 

The Bloomfield, Conn.-based insurer said the planned $54 billion merger, which was blocked by a federal district court last week on anti-competitive grounds, “cannot and will not achieve regulatory approval” and that calling it off is best for its shareholders. 

Cigna alleged that Anthem “willfully breached” the merger agreement in a way that made it unlikely the deal would be approved and has harmed Cigna's shareholders.

Modern Healthcare

MACRA-MIPs/APMs Webinar Part 2. Last Opportunity! CMS Quality Payment Program Review

WEBINAR FEE:  First MIPS Webinar: $185
Attendee of January MIPS Webinar: $ 150
ASIPP Member: $150    

WEBINAR DATE: February 22, 2017 TIME:   3:30pm-5:00pm

SPEAKER: Deborah H. Tracy, MD, MBA  

Final Rule of the CMS Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, MIPS, and Alternative Payment Models, APMs, was published on 10/14/16, and is ~ 2,300 pages.  Now identified as the Quality Payment Program, QPP, it is extensive in scope to reward or penalize providers for performing certain activities in four performance categories.  The four categories are: (1) Quality, which will replaces PQRS, (2) Cost, attributed to Medicare providers by a complex set of statistical formulas replacing the Value Modifier (3) Improvement Activities, a new category of 90+ undertakings and (4) Advancing Care Information, which replaces Meaningful Use.  The four categories result in a final score of between 0 to 100 points.  

Depending on the provider's final score, a penalty/reward is assessed, or the provider remains neutral.  For 2017 the penalty is 4%, but the bonus could be 3 to 4 times that amount. Physicians must educate themselves and their practice managers on how to understand and potentially achieve high scores in the new Quality Payment Program and avoid costly penalties in their Medicare Part B claims. Although Cost will have a weight of 0% for 2017 the Quality Resource Use Report, QRUR, will continue to be calculated for providers. This report emphasizes the cost of a providers care compared to his peers. An understanding of this report will enhance a provider's ability to understand how he can potentially improve decision making to increase quality and decrease cost.

Click HERE to Registration and for other information  

Update on National Interventional Pain Management Qualified Clinical Data Registry

We have important updates to report to you about our work here at ASIPP.  CMS is currently reviewing our documents for approval of the National Interventional Pain Management Qualified Clinical Data Registry (NIPM-QCDR). We expect to get their response by the end of this month or early March. We have submitted 18 high-quality quality measures. We are hoping they will accept at least two-thirds of them.  

CMS does not confirm measures for new QCDRs until later in the first quarter so we will be able to share final measures then and will begin formal data collection by April 1. If you haven't done so, we urge you to begin the process of enrollment now, while ASIPP completes the approval process with CMS.  

If you are interested in signing up for the National IPM QCDR, you can send an email to We will then send you registration forms to complete. There is no commitment or cost to you until we are approved for the QCDR for 2017 reporting

If you have already signed up, please pass along this information to anyone else who could benefit from this opportunity.     

As you are well aware, CMS has issued the final rule on its value-based care entitled, "Merit-Based Incentive Payment System Combining Quality Measures, Meaningful Use or Advancing Care Information, Clinical Improvement Activities and Costs." Because of our efforts, CMS has made substantial changes to enable us to avoid penalties. The QCDR reporting mechanism and specifically the NIPM-QCDR will complete the collection and submission of MIPS requirements.  

In addition to participating in the MIPS in the present format, we are also engaging with the new administration about removing numerous barriers to so-called meaningful use, now called advancing care information to make it easier into the future with very little value added to that part of the program with major focus on quality and clinical improvement activities rather than meaningless use and cost, which is inappropriately calculated.  

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.  

Oregon Non-Coverage Decision on Interventional Techniques Halted: Final Decision Still in Limbo

As you know, on July 1, 2016, the Oregon Health Authority eliminated coverage for epidural injections. Instead, they recommended acupuncture, manipulation, massage, and medications (excluding long-term opioid treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy/occupational therapy, and yoga) as the only viable treatments for back pain. Further, on November 8, 2016, the Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC) issued draft coverage guidance strongly recommending against coverage for epidural, facet joint, medial branch, and sacroiliac joint injections for low back pain regardless of etiology. 

On December 8, 2016, the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) in collaboration with state societies submitted a letter with nearly 2,000 signatures including membership representation from all states protesting these decisions and asking them for modifications. In addition, ASIPP also worked with local Oregon providers and United States Congress; consequently, we engaged Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee Greg Walden (R - Oregon) and Senator Ron Wyden (D - Oregon) to assist us in prevention of these draconian measures. 

ASIPP arranged conference calls with staff from Chairman Walden and Senator Wyden's office and local providers on December 5, 2016, to discuss concerns with the draft guidance. Subsequently, ASIPP also followed with Walden's office to have them engage and question the process and guidance.  

During these times, one of the main providers from Oregon had to close the doors because of these draconian cuts.  

On February 2, 2017, physicians from various groups from ASIPP, as well as other groups, patients, and experts presented evidence in support of coverage of these procedures. Consequently, with the presentations and requests from Chairman Walden and Senator Wyden, the Oregon Health Authorities evidence-based guidelines subcommittee has elected to reconsider its initial ruling, and requested additional research and consideration of pain as an outcome. They plan to continue their discussion in April.   

So while we have made progress, the fight is not over. We would like to thank the membership of the Oregon Society of Interventional Pain Physicians and members of ASIPP from various societies, specifically those who signed the comment letter. We ask for your continued support as we follow this issue and pursue our efforts for the preservation of interventional pain management that includes safe, effective, and evidence-based treatment for our patients.

Aetna will pay Humana $1 billion breakup fee to kill merger deal

Aetna and Humana said they have terminated their merger deal following a U.S. District Court judge's ruling against the $34 billion deal.

Aetna will not seek an appeal and instead will pay Humana $1 billion to terminate the agreement. Aetna will also pay a breakup fee to Molina Healthcare to end an agreement to sell some Medicare Advantage plans as part of a divestiture to help close the Humana deal.

A federal judge recently said the Aetna/Humana merger wasn't in the best interest of consumers, siding with the U.S. Justice Department allegations that the combined company would have too much control over the Medicare Advantage market.

Modern Healthcare

Reports of the Demise of Obamacare Repeal and Replace Are Greatly Exaggerated

Many recent press reports have centered around the notion that Republicans are stuck in the mud trying to get their repeal and replace promises moving.

That line appeared to be reinforced over the weekend when President Trump said, in a pre-Super Bowl interview, that the process could draw out into next year. My sense is that what Trump was talking about was the fact that the whole process, that includes implementing the replacement, could take well past 2017. Trump, never one for getting the details right, was taken literally by the press looking to write stories about how the whole process was foundering.

Speaker Paul Ryan quickly countered in his press briefing that Republicans will legislate a repeal and replace of Obamacare this year.

  Health Policy and Marketplace

The Rise and Fall of a K Street Renegade

Few outside Washington had ever heard of Evan Morris.

Yet in the capital of wheeling and dealing, he was one of its most gifted operators. From his start as an intern in the Clinton White House, he made powerful friends and at age 27 became a top Washington lobbyist for Roche Holding AG of Switzerland, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

Mr. Morris seized on an idea to reach past elected officials and take the company’s message directly to voters, a strategy that helped generate hundreds of millions of dollars for his company. By 2010, he was one of the youngest vice presidents in Roche’s 120-year history.  

Wall Street Journal

Access to this article may be limited.

Little Benefits of NSAIDs for Back Pain

HealthDay News -- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) do not help most patients with back pain, according to a review published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.1

Gustavo Machado, a research fellow with the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, and colleagues examined 35 studies on the use of NSAIDs to treat back pain. The studies tracked about 6,000 patients. The researchers estimated that only 1 in 6 patients gained a benefit from taking NSAIDs. The investigators also found that participants taking the drugs were 2.5 times more likely to experience gastrointestinal side effects, compared with those who took placebos.    

Clinical Pain Advisor

Hospitals forging patient experience of the future with voice AI technologies

“Alexa, when will you be in my doctor’s office?”

“Silly human — I already am!” Okay, so Alexa’s response might not be that sassy precisely, but you get the picture. Artificial intelligence voice technologies are on the verge of changing the dynamics of how we interface with machines and, consequently, how humans interact with each other.

Artificial intelligence voice technologies are on the verge of changing — not to be overzealous here — but just about everything. We’ve all witnessed how the smartphone has had an impact on society and, similarly, voice technologies are poised to effectively and strategically enchant the human psyche to accept them as humanlike companions.

And healthcare is ripe for artificial intelligence — perhaps even more than other industries when it comes to voice-interaction AI — because of the potential for improving care delivery, optimizing processes and improving the patient experience.

Healthcare IT News

State Society News  

OHSIPP Meeting

August 25-27, 2017

The Ohio Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (OHSIPP) has set the dates for its 2017 meeting.

Dates are Friday Aug 25 thru Sunday Aug 27, 2017.
The meeting will be held in Cincinnati at the Westin Hotel, 21 E 5th St , at Fountain Square .

Contact Michelle Byers for more information


FSIPP Meeting

August 27 - 30, 2017

The Florida Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (FSIPP) has set the dates for its 2017 meeting

Dates are April 27-30, 2107

The meeting will be held in Orlando, FL at the Orlando World Center Marriott  

Click Here for more information and to make reservation

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