Volume 115, No. 2Top
February 2019 Edition

They Said It...

"If our country spent more money on social services, it would actually save money over the long haul by not having to spend as much on health care." Dr. Theodore Christopher, immediate past president of the Pa. Medical Society, and Green Family Foundation and John and Patricia Walsh Professor of Emergency Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals. His comment is in the cover story for the Winter 2019 edition of the PCMS magazine, Philadelphia Medicine. You can read the article by going here.

In the News... 
City Council Rejects Gift Ban Ordinance A1

In a clear victory for Philadelphia physicians, City Council voted down a proposal that would have placed unreasonable demands and restrictions on drug company sales representatives.

Council voted down the measure by a 9-to-5 margin. The proposal would've required drug company sales reps to register with the city at a cost of $250 a person and wear identification badges. The bill also called for banning gifts to health care providers and office staff by drug sales reps.

The bill also would've required drug companies to submit to the city's health department materials that they planned to hand out to health care providers. If a drug rep was found in violation of the ordinance the rep and any physician he or she contacted could have been fined $500 a day.

PCMS opposed the ordinance. Society president, Max Mercado, submitted written testimony pointing out the problems with the bill. You can read that testimony here.

PCMS is committed to battling the opioid epidemic, but strongly believes that this bill would not have helped in that fight.

Bank Error, Not in Your Favor A2

You may have received money from Medicare for payments related to Medicare Part B drugs that you should not have received. Medicare is in the process of asking that you pay back that money.

PCMS has received reports that Medicare payments subject to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) were mistakenly being applied to Medicare Part B drugs, which is not permitted.

You do not have to take any action. If a claim was erroneously paid, or overpaid, you will receive notice from Novitas Solutions of how much money you have to return. If a claim is underpaid, you will receive an adjustment.

MIPS payment adjustments apply to Medicare Part B-covered professional services and are applied to the Medicare payment amount. Such adjustments are not applied to Medicare Part B drugs. The problem does not affect beneficiaries.

If you notice any discrepancies and wish to talk to someone about them, contact the Quality Payment Program hotline at 866-288-8292. All Novitas Solutions for Part B Claims Issues can be found here.

Pa. Senate Urges State Supreme Court to Slow Down on Venue Rule A3

The Senate approved SR 20, sending a strong message to the state's high court that any effort to loosen venue rules in medical liability cases should be carefully studied. The bill points out that a unilateral move by the court could return physicians to the dark days of medical practice in this state.

The resolution directs a bi-partisan legislative research committee to conduct a comprehensive study of the impact such a reversal would have on the availability of medical care across the Commonwealth.

The resolution calls for the study to include an assessment of the effects of the 2003 venue changes on such areas as the availability, cost and affordability of medical liability insurance. The resolution says such a study should also determine if patients who have suffered medical negligence have been justly compensated since the court restricted venue shopping.

But the resolution does not require the Pa. Supreme Court's Civil Procedural Rules Committee to delay its vote on loosening venue rules.

If you haven't voiced your opposition to the proposed venue change, please submit your comments by February 22 here.

HHS: We're Moving Closer to Ending HIV Epidemic A4

HHS Secretary Alex Azar has announced an initiative designed to end the HIV epidemic. He described it as "a once-in-a-generation opportunity to end the epidemic, thanks to the most powerful HIV prevention and treatment tools in history and new tools that allow us to pinpoint where HIV infections are spreading most rapidly."

"Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America" aims to reduce new infections by 75% within the next 10 years. Such a move is expected to cut HIV infections by 250,000.

The plan attacks the disease in three ways:
  • Increasing investments in geographic hotspots through existing, effective programs such as the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.
  • Using data to identify where HIV is spreading most rapidly and guide decision-making to address prevention, care and treatment needs at the local level.
  • Creating a local HIV HealthForce in the targeted areas to expand HIV prevention and treatment.
Azar said there are several factors making this the right time to attack the disease in this way, including:
  • HIV medicine antiretroviral therapy (ART). When taken as prescribed it gives HIV patients the prospects of a long an healthy life. And they have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to a partner.
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) modifications have reduced the risk of contracting HIV from someone by up to 97%.
  • New laboratory and epidemiological techniques create the opportunity to focus on geographic regions in greatest need of additional resources.
For information on program resources and funding opportunities, go to CDC's webpage.

American Diabetes Association Issues Revised Standards of Medical Care for the Disease A5

The ADA updates its standards each year. They have just published the 2019 edition by its Professional Practice Committee which includes physicians, diabetes educators, registered dietitians and public health experts.

The Standards include the most current evidence-based recommendations for diagnosing and treating adults and children with all forms of diabetes.

You can find the updates in the January issue of Diabetes Care.

Calendar of EventsCalendar

21 - Crisis at the Border: The Effects of Trauma and Stress on Migrant Children and Families

Date: Thursday, February 21
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Place: Bodek Lounge in Houston Hall, 3417 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

The Penn Center for Public Health Initiatives and CHOP PolicyLab are holding a free seminar on February 21 concerning the impact of the ongoing border crisis on migrant children and their families.

27 - Introduction to SBIRT and Warm Handoff

Date: Wednesday, February 27
Time: 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society, 2100 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

This free evening program will provide an opportunity to learn about and discuss implementing Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) guidelines and managing a successful "warm hand-off" to treatment.

26 - Social Determinants of Health

Date: Tuesday, March 26
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society, 2100 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

The Philadelphia County Medical Society and the Philadelphia International Medicine Organization cordially invite you to a free educational program on Social Determinants of Health, the first in an educational series for International Medical Graduates and foreign born physicians. This program will help you to identify ways to create social and physical environments that promote good health for all.

30 - 5th Annual Jefferson Liver Disease Symposium

Date: Saturday, March 30
Time: 8:00 AM - 2:50 PM
Place: Bluemle Life Sciences Building, Campus of Thomas Jefferson University, 233 S. 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

The 5th Annual Jefferson Liver Disease Symposium will feature a multi-disciplinary approach to the treatment and management of patients with a potpourri of liver diseases presenting in the office of the gastrointestinal specialist, primary care practitioner, internist, and mid-level practitioner. Continuing education credits will be offered for physicians.

6 - The 8th Annual Clinical Update in Gastroenterology

Date: Saturday, April 6
Registration: 7:30 AM
Program: 8:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society Headquarters, 2100 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Save the date! Our 8th Annual Clinical Update in Gastroenterology is coming up soon, with topics set to include Celiac Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Liver Disease and Esophageal Disease. More information will be coming soon.

16 - Medical Cannabis Certification 4-Hour Live Webinar

Date: Tuesday, April 16
Time: 5:15 PM - 9:30 PM

The purpose of this course is to educate physicians, pharmacists, certified registered nurse practitioners or physician assistants seeking to register with the Pennsylvania Department of Health's Medical Marijuana Program. All health professionals interested in learning more about medical cannabis are also encouraged to attend. Discounted rates are available to members of PCMS (Equivalent to the rate for USciences Alumni).

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