Volume 114, No. 8Top
August 2018 Edition

They Said It...

"They have taught me to listen and empathize with where they are in their lives. They've taught me humility and compassion." New PCMS president, Dr. Max Mercado, on what his patients have taught him during his career. You can read his entire interview in the summer issue of our Philadelphia Medicine magazine.

In the News... 
Time to Have Your Say on the 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule A1

CMS has released the "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule," and is looking for feedback.

The notice includes changes to the E&M coding requirements and proposals for year three of the Quality Payment Program. CMS's regional office is targeting August 16 for a call designed to hear the concerns of association members. This is part of the comment period which ends on September 10.

Any formal comments that associations or their members wish to make must go through the proper comment channel: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=CMS-2018-0076-0621

You can find a fact sheet on the proposed rule by going to: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2018-Fact-sheets-items/2018-07-12-2.html

For a fact sheet on the Quality Payment Program proposed rule, visit: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Payment-Program/Resource-Library/2019-QPP-proposed-rule-fact-sheet.pdf

Medicare Payments for Pa. Heart Failure Patients Nears $1 Billion A2

The Medicare bill for heart failure in the state, hit $920 million - and these Medicare fee-for-service patients are only about 45-percent of the costs for all adult patients hospitalized for heart failure during fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

The bill includes:
  • $489.9 million for hospital-related services.
  • $117.9 million for skilled nursing care.
  • $96.9 million for physician or other health care provider services.
  • $84.9 million for outpatient services.
At almost $500 million, costs for hospital-related services are of particular concern, since hospitalizations for heart failure are often considered avoidable with effective primary or preventive care.

The report was released by the Pa. Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4).

Joe Martin, PHC4's executive director, said the study will help the health care community, lawmakers and the public understand the cost of care for heart failure patients. "(It) provides opportunities to evaluate how that care is delivered, improve coordination of care, and examine different payment models."

Desperate for a Kidney, Some Patients Agree to Use Kidneys Infected with Hepatitis C A3

A University of Pa. study has found that the gamble has paid off for 20 patients who agreed to accept kidneys infected with hepatitis C.

Their new organs are working fine, thanks to medication that eradicated the virus. Although the study is small, researchers say it suggests that organs currently going to waste might help speed transplants for patients who have been waiting years for one.

"When there's such a bad organ shortage, we can't just do business as usual," Dr. Peter Reese said. He is the Penn kidney specialist who led the study. "We need to shake off that these organs aren't valuable and that people will not want them."

Hepatitis C is an infection that can destroy the liver if untreated. Transplanting other organs from patients with the virus can infect the recipients. But powerful new drugs may lead to a cure. Merck & Co. helped fund the research and provide the pills in the study. The results were published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Most insurance companies still don't cover the drug for transplant patients, Reese said.

Phila. has Higher Rate Than Usual of West Nile Mosquitoes A4

Since June 22, 187 mosquito pools infected with West Nile Virus have been identified in Philadelphia. Such pools have also been identified in neighboring counties. So far, no human cases have been reported in the city.

From May through October, the Phila. Dept. of Public Health in collaboration with the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection, conducts mosquito management activities throughout Philadelphia. Since May, 16 locations in the city with high numbers of nuisance mosquitoes have been treated to control adult mosquito populations.

For more information on West Nile Virus and other arboviruses, go to: https://hip.phila.gov/DiseaseControlGuidance/DiseasesConditions/Arboviruses

To download the latest weekly report of West Nile Virus, click here.

CDC Now Offering Routine Testing for Heartland and Bourbon Viruses A5

Only a few cases of these viruses, transmitted by the Lone Star tick, have shown up in the United States. But if you are testing a patient for more likely arboviruses in Pennsylvania, such as West Nile, Powassan, and Eastern equine encephalitis, testing for Heartland and Bourbon viruses should be considered for patients with acute febrile illness within the past three months, and at least one epidemiologic criterion and at least one clinical criterion.

Samples should be submitted to the Pa. Dept. of Health Bureau of Laboratories.

For more information on how to submit a sample, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dvbd/specimensub/arboviral-shipping.htm

All confirmed or suspected tickborne diseases should be reported to the Pa. electronic disease surveillance system at: https://www.nedss.state.pa.us/

You can find a Heartland and Bourbon virus fact sheet by clicking here.

A Perfect Time for a Summer Resolution A6

If you or physicians you know are dealing with serious concerns or issues that are making it harder for you to practice medicine, now's the time to get involved in submitting a resolution on the matter to the Pa. Medical Society House of Delegates (PAMED HOD).

We urge you to work with PCMS to craft a resolution for the HOD. The deadline for submission of resolutions to PCMS is Friday, September 7.

PCMS stands committed to serving the needs of all Philadelphia County physicians. For more information contact PCMS at stat@philamedsoc.org.

Calendar of EventsCalendar

20 - PCMS Board of Directors and Member Social

Date: Thursday, September 20
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society, 2100 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

All PCMS members are cordially invited to attend our "All Member Social and Award Presentations" on Thursday, September 20, 2018 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM. Free food and libations are available. Guests are welcome.

29 - 2018 Regional Opioid CME and Listening Session

Date: Saturday, September 29
Time: 7:30 AM - 11 AM

The Pennsylvania Medical Society is hosting a free 2-hour opioid CME program, which will review how to appropriately and effectively manage patients suffering from chronic pain, followed by an hour listening session where you'll have the opportunity to tell PAMED trustee leadership what's on your mind.

2 - The Child Abuse Prevention Training Program

Date: Tuesday, October 2
Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society, 2100 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

All physicians renewing their license are required to submit documentation evidencing the completion of at least two hours of approved continuing education in child abuse recognition. This is a live, state approved program that meets this requirement for the 2018 licensing cycle.

This program is FREE for all PCMS physician members. The fee for non-members is $125.

26 - House of Delegates 2018

Date: October 26-28
Place: Hershey Lodge, Hershey, PA

Join your colleagues for a lively, informative weekend of continuing education, leadership development, advocacy, and networking at the Pennsylvania Medical Society's House of Delegates Meeting and Annual Education Conference.

Philadelphia County Medical Society | stat@philamedsoc.org
215-563-5343 | http://philamedsoc.org