The Pulse is the bi-weekly e-newsletter from The Physician Alliance, one of Michigan's largest physician organizations serving more than 2,200 primary care and specialty physicians.
The Pulse of The Physician Alliance
Friday, July 21, 2017
TPA practices improve e-prescribing controlled substances

The Physician Alliance is working with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and TPA physicians to increase e-prescribing of controlled substances. The initiative aims to increase the number of controlled substance (DEA schedule II-V) prescriptions submitted electronically by Physician Group Incentive Program (PGIP) physicians.

The benefits of e-prescribing controlled substances include:
  • Improved safety for all stakeholders
  • Reduction of fraud and abuse
  • Improved ability to reach meaningful use criteria (CMS requires 60% of all prescriptions be transmitted electronically)
  • Improved efficiencies and consistencies in practice workflows
Brian Engel, MD 
Brian Engel, MD from Northpointe Pediatrics in Warren said the practice no longer provides paper prescriptions for any controlled substance and patients must request prescription refills via the EMR portal (Northpointe only prescribes Class II drugs). "Once the patients got familiar with using the portal, they loved (the process) because they can request refills 24 hours a day," said Dr. Engel. "Our physicians and staff love it because it decreases phone calls and improves workflow efficiencies and safety. Although we were worried about the change, it has been one of the best changes we made since launching our EMR in 2010."

Practices must begin e-prescribing controlled substances by September 30, 2017 to be eligible for inclusion in this initiative. TPA's rate is 18% for first quarter 2017 (an increase from 12% the previous quarter) and the PGIP rate is 19.5% (increased from 15%). To be eligible for incentives, 25% of controlled substances must be e-prescribed across the physician organization by December 31, 2017.  
E-prescribing of controlled substances requires physicians to present a two-factor authentication to prove their identity as an approved provider. Practices should contact their EMR vendor for specific education and requirements on e-prescribing.
Watch these short videos to learn more about getting started with e-prescribing in your practice.
Understanding CAQH website reporting requirements
The Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare® (CAQH) is a not-for-profit collaborative alliance of the nation's leading health plans and networks. It is extremely important for providers' credentials to be maintained on the CAQH website. Health plans review this information during their credentialing and re-credentialing process. Physicians are at risk of being terminated from a health plan if the most current provider information, including practice address and phone number, is not reflected on the CAQH website.

CAQH is offering webinars to help practices understand how to use the CAQH website. Download a flyer with upcoming dates. Click here for more information and registration.  
Free tobacco cessation program available to cancer patients

Michigan Tobacco Quitline services are available at no cost through Sept. 30, 2017 to cancer patients. Oncology practices can refer patients to the Quitline, sponsored by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Callers who enroll in telephone coaching will receive printed materials, a quit booklet, and four
coaching sessions. Enrollees may also call between sessions if they need additional help. Coaching calls are designed to motivate quitting and prevent relapse. Calls are scheduled
around times when relapse has been determined to be most likely. Physicians who refer patients to the Michigan Tobacco Quitline via fax referral will receive a follow up report on the patient's progress.

For more information, click here.  
TPA practices achieve patient-centered medical home designation from Blue Cross

The Physician Alliance is pleased to congratulate 130 primary care practices, representing 352 TPA physicians, on earning patient-centered medical home designation (PCMH) from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in 2017.

The PCMH model focuses on coordination across all aspects of the patient's care experience. PCMH-designated physicians earn value-based reimbursement for office visits, to compensate them for the extra time and effort required to practice as a medical home.
  • 130 TPA primary care practices are BCBSM PCMH designated, representing 352 TPA primary care physicians
  • 95% of TPA Physician Group Incentive Program (PGIP) PCPs are designated PCMH (352 physicians)
  • 92% of TPA PGIP practices are designated PCMH (130 primary care practices)
  • 97% of the BCBSM PGIP attributed lives are followed by a PCMH physician

Visit the Value Partnerships webpage for more information on BCBSM's PCMH program and the PCMH Physician toolkit with marketing materials (including new Spanish and Arabic language posters (Click on the PCMH physician toolkit tab).  


For a list of the 2017 TPA PCMH practices, click here  

Commercial real estate services now available

Thinking of expanding your practice locations and need help finding office space? Time to renegotiate your practice lease? Ready to sell your commercial building?

The Physician Alliance is pleased to share that Lino Realty is now part of the Affiliate Partners Program, offering special pricing on commercial real estate services.

TPA members will receive reduced fee services as a tenant or buyer (no fee) and as a landlord or seller (17% reduction in standard brokerage commission). Michael Pulcini of Lino Realty is the dedicated representative to TPA members. He brings more than 15 years of real estate experience in the healthcare industry, including as St. John Providence's corporate real estate manager. Services provided include leasing, purchase and sale, real estate investments, and property management.
Contact Michael Pulcini at (586) 212-0755 or

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