Volume 112, No.7
July 2016 Edition

They Said It...

"I don't see the benefits of a gluten-free diet for people who appear to be healthy." Comment made to Philadelphia Medicine by Dr. Sidney Cohen, prominent local gastroenterologist, and professor of medicine and director of research programs at Thomas Jefferson University.

Health Advisory: Shigellosis Infections Rising in Philadelphia A1

The Philadelphia Dept. of Public Health (PDHP) has issued a health advisory concerning a significant increase in shigellosis cases in the city. Most of them are in West Philadelphia, and almost half of the cases are in children 5 years of age and younger. Shigellosis is highly contagious, and is spread through the fecal-oral route. Recent cases have shown a high resistance to some commonly-used antibiotics. You should report all cases to PDHP, by calling 215-685-6748 or faxing a disease report form to 215-238-6947. You can read the entire PDHP health advisory on the PCMS website at http://philamedsoc.org/index.php/2016/07/05/pdph-advisory-increase-in-shigellosis-infections/ .

A Reminder on Medicare Balanced BillingA2

The AMA is reminding physicians that balanced billing is prohibited for Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program. CMS says some physicians are still billing QMB beneficiaries, despite the existing prohibition. Physicians who continue to do so may be subject to sanctions.
QMB beneficiaries have annual incomes of less than $12,000. Federal law protects them from any cost-sharing liability, and bans all original Medicare and Medicare Advantage providers from billing QMB individuals for Medicare deductibles, coinsurance or copayments. For the entire AMA announcement on this issue, go to our website at http://philamedsoc.org/index.php/2016/07/11/important-reminder-about-billing-requirements-for-certain-dual-eligibles/.

CMS, to Medicare Providers on Revalidation: "If we can't reach you, you still have to reach us."A3
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is in the process of contacting all Medicare providers to revalidate them under the new screening guidelines mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Because of the enormous number of Medicare providers, CMS is staggering the revalidation deadlines. Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) are sending notices to Medicare providers/suppliers 2-3 months before their application deadline.

But the MACs cannot reach you if your contact information is wrong. So, if the MACs can't reach you, you have to contact them. You should first check the CMS revalidation due date list at  https://data.cms.gov/revalidation. The list will contain the providers/suppliers who have to submit their revalidation application within the next six months. Do not submit an application if you are not yet on the list.

If you are on the list, you can revalidate by going to  https://pecos.cms.hhs.gov.

If you do not file on time, you could end up not getting paid for Medicare services you provided.

For more information, go to the CMS website: 

Or you can call 866-484-8049.   

CMS Releases Open Payments DataA4

CMS has just published its 2015 open payments data. The data lists payments and other transfers of value made to physicians and teaching hospitals by medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies. The database is required by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

To view the data, you can use this search tool on the CMS website:  https://openpaymentsdata.cms.gov/

Pa. Dept. of Health to Allow Out of State Purchases of Medical Marijuana for MinorsA5

The Pa. Dept. of Health (DOH) has announced temporary regulations for parents or guardians who want to buy medical marijuana for a minor from another state.

The parents or guardians may apply for a Safe Harbor Letter. The letter would allow the adults to obtain medical marijuana from out of state and administer it to their children. The medical marijuana must be limited to the forms approved by the new Pa. medical marijuana law.

The temporary regulations will stay in place until medical marijuana is available in Pennsylvania.

The regulations are available online in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, www.pabulletin.com.

New Law Allows DOH to Speed Up the Scheduling of SubstancesA6

Act 37 lets Pa.'s secretary of health switch a controlled substance to a different schedule if the federal government does so.

The act, which goes into effect on August 7, eliminates the cumbersome, time-consuming process in current law which slowed efforts by DOH to react to new substances that posed a potential danger to the state's residents. The act requires DOH to publish the notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, and submit the notice to the Attorney General's Office for its review. The Attorney General's Office has 30 days to respond to DOH.

We Don't Need You, Sort of...A7

The U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) has proposed that four categories of advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) be granted independent authority to practice medicine at VA facilities. The proposed rule, issued on May 24, would allow an APRN to provide a number of crucial services without the clinical oversight of a physician.

The AMA announced its opposition to the rule, during its recent annual House of Delegates meeting. The AMA resolution was crafted by our own Dr. Michael DellaVecchia. The AMA and Pa. Medical Society (PAMED) agree that although APRNs are indispensable, they cannot take the place of a fully-trained physician. PAMED believes that the best and most effective care occurs when a team of health care professionals works together.

Public comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to the VA by July 25. PAMED urges you to email your thoughts to  stat@pamedsoc.org by July 15. Your feedback will help PAMED develop its comment letter.

A Change That Isn't a Help...A8

SB 717, which would allow nurse practitioners (NP) to practice medicine independently of physicians, was amended before it was approved in May by the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee and sent to the full Senate. PAMED says the change did not improve the bill.

The bill now requires the NP to have three years and 3,600 hours of practice experience with a physician before being allowed to practice independently. PAMED points out that the amendment does not mandate a curriculum, the quality of mentors, or the type of oversight a physician would have, unlike the three to seven years of heavily supervised residencies that physicians must complete.

PAMED continues to strongly oppose the bill and encourages doctors to contact their legislators and urge them not to vote for the bill.

A Call for a Special Legislative Session on DrugsA9

Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania House have urged Gov. Tom Wolf to call a special session of the General Assembly to confront the opioid crisis.

Lawmakers have introduced three dozen bills this session related to the crisis. Gov. Wolf wants the legislature to pass a $34 million proposal to create 50 centers across the state to treat Medicaid recipients who are addicted to opioids.

Welcome Aboard, Doc!A10

Dr. Daniel Dempsey is the 155th PCMS president. Dr. Dempsey is the chief of the Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, and assistant director of perioperative services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He has written or co-authored over 100 original papers and bookchapters on an array of surgical and related issues, and has given more than 125 invited presentations at hospitals, medical schools and universities. Dr. Dempsey has received numerous awards and has been listed perennially in best doctors in America as well as Philadelphia Top Docs.
Dr. Dempsey graduated with high honors from Princeton University, with a BA in Classics. He received his MD at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and has an MBA from the Fox School of Business at Temple University. He was chairman of surgery at Temple University School of Medicine from 2000-2011, prior to which he chaired the department of surgery at Pennsylvania Hospital for 2 years. Dr. Dempsey has served as president of the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery and the Metropolitan Philadelphia Chapter of the American College of Surgeons. He also served two terms as a governor of the American College of Surgeons.
"I'm honored to take on this new responsibility," Dr. Dempsey said. "We 21st century physicians face a number of significant challenges in our efforts to continue to give patients the best care. I will do my best over the next year to help us meet these challenges here in Philadelphia."

Dating Service A11

12 - Free Live CME Webinar on Preventing HPV Cancer 
Tuesday, July 12, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Vaccination can prevent most HPV cancers, but low HPV vaccination rates are putting a generation of boys and girls at risk.

The webinar will:
  • Describe the burden of HPV disease
  • Show how crucial HPV vaccination is to cancer prevention
  • Explain why 11 year olds should be vaccinated
  • List the CDC recommendations for HPV vaccinations for girls and boys
  • Provide useful and compelling information to help convince parents to get their children vaccinated.
24 - President's Installation and Awards Night

Saturday, September 24, 2016
Reception 6:00 PM 
Dinner and Program 7:00 PM

Celebrating the Inauguration of Daniel T. Dempsey, MD, FACS  as the 155th President of The Philadelphia County Medical Society at the Philadelphia Country Club, 1601 Spring Mill Road, Gladwyne, PA.
PCMS People Wanted
Your colleagues would like to know what you have been up to! Email news about academic or other appointments, achievements, awards and promotion, etc., to stat@philamedsoc.org .

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