Volume 115, No. 10: October 2019 EditionTop

They Said It...

"Countless public health advocates, health care professionals and parents have worked tirelessly to drive down the rates of adult and youth tobacco use only to see these important gains eradicated by the vaping epidemic." Ryan Coffman, manager of the Phila. Dept. of Public Health Tobacco Policy and Control Program. You can read his proposals for attacking the epidemic in the fall magazine issue of Philadelphia Medicine, due in your mailbox by the end of this month.

In the News... 
Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances Starts on October 24 A1

Doctors and other prescribers must issue only electronic prescriptions for Schedule II-IV controlled substances beginning October 24.

Anyone who does not comply with Act 96 of 2018, will be fined $100 for the first through 10th violations, and $250 for the 11th violation on, up to a maximum of $5,000 a year. The prescriptions must be sent electronically from the point of care to a pharmacy.

Act 96 is an effort to help combat the drug epidemic. Health care clinicians need up-to-date tools and technology to help prevent opioids from getting into the wrong hands. The act is designed to minimize medication errors and reduce prescriptions forgery and theft in Pennsylvania.

You can request an exception if you lack two things - internet access and an electronic health record system. You do not qualify for an exception if you lack only one of these items.

The Pa. Dept. of Health has a list of frequently asked questions on Act 96 of 2018. Click here to view them.

Or you can contact the Pa. Medical Society Knowledge Center at 855-726-3348, or the PCMS office at 215-563-5343.

Possible Measles Exposure at Philadelphia International Airport A2

The Philadelphia Dept. of Public Health (PDPH) has issued a health advisory regarding possible exposure to measles at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).

A person with measles was at PHL Terminal F on October 2 from 6:30 pm to 12:00 am, and on October 3, at Terminal F from 4:00 pm to 2:00 am; Terminal A from 8:30 pm to 11:30 pm, and Terminal A/F shuttle from 8:30 pm to 11:30 pm.

Health care providers should consider measles in patients with fever and rash who were at PHL during the exposure times.

To read the entire health advisory, go to: https://hip.phila.gov/

Here's How to Get Records from Hahnemann A3

Patients seeking their hospital medical records from Hahnemann can call the Health Information (Medical Records) Department at 215-762-7680 or fill out the authorization to release patient health information form and mail it to Hahnemann University Hospital, MS-511, 230 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102. Patients will also need to provide a copy of their Driver's License or other Photo ID.

To get a copy of Hahnemann physician practice plan medical records, fill out this form and mail it to Hahnemann Physician Practices, 230 N. Broad Street, Mailstop 300, Philadelphia PA 19102. You can also fax it to 215-762-6805.

And to request a copy of records from a Drexel physician, go to: https://www.drexelmedicine.org/

HHS Announces Guide for Tapering or Discontinuing Long-Term Opioid Use A4

The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published a new guide for clinicians on reducing or discontinuing long-term opioid analgesics.

HHS says that patients and the public in general benefit when opioids are prescribed only when the benefit of using opioids outweighs the risks. And once patients are on opioids for a prolonged period of time, any abrupt change in the patient's regimen may put the patient at risk of harm. HHS emphasizes that change must take place only after a thorough, deliberative case review and discussion with the patient.

Click here to review the HHS Guide for clinicians who want to initiate a change in opioid dosage.

It's Medicare Open Enrollment Time A5

Medicare's open enrollment period started on October 15. Beneficiaries have until December 7 to sign up for Medicare or make any changes to their coverage. They could, for example, switch to or drop Medicare Advantage or prescription drug coverage plans.

The Pa. Dept. of Health offers a free health insurance counseling program, APPRISE, through its local Area Agency on Aging. At those locations, specially trained APPRISE staff and volunteers are available to give free, easy-to-understand information. They can help patients understand Medicare eligibility, enrollment, financial assistance programs and coverage options.

For more information, call the toll-free APPRISE Helpline at 1-800-783-7067, Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm or visit the APPRISE web page.

REAL ID Deadline Less Than One Year Away A6

You have until October 1, 2020, to get your REAL ID. The federal government will require a REAL ID driver's license or identification card or a U.S. passport/passport card or a military ID, to board a commercial flight, including domestic flights or to visit a secure federal building that requires ID at the door.

REAL ID became available in Pennsylvania in March 2019. Since then, 400,000 Pennsylvania residents have chosen to get the new form of identification. PennDOT is expecting about 1.3 million state residents to get a REAL ID by the deadline.

Click here for information on how to get a REAL ID.

President Trump Wants to Expand Enrollment in Medicare Advantage Plans A7

The president has issued an executive order (EO) that aims to expand enrollment in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, by making them more attractive to seniors than the traditional fee-for-service plan. The EO states that it is designed to protect and improve Medicare for seniors. The administration also hopes the move would make the service for seniors more cost-effective.

The EO wants the Secretary of Health and Human Services to find ways to ensure that fee-for-service plans are not promoted over MAs; promoting more telemedicine services; allowing providers to spend more time with patients.

The AMA sees some concerns in the EO, including possible reduction in physician payments and expansion of scope of practice. The AMA plans to provide significant input into the regulatory process as work on these policy proposals progresses.

You can read the EO here.

CMS Issues Proposed "Patients Over Paperwork" Rule A8

CMS has issued a proposed rule to modernize and clarify regulations for the Medicare physician self-referral law (the Stark Law).

The proposed rule supports the CMS initiative to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens on physicians and other health care providers, while reinforcing the Stark Law's goal to protect patients from unnecessary services.

Public comments on the proposed rule must be submitted by December 31.

To read the proposed rule, click here.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month A9

Breast cancer is second only to skin cancer, as the most common cancer among American women. October is a good time to remind your patients about the importance of breast cancer screening.

Medicare covers many preventive services at no cost to patients. Encourage your patients to take advantage of preventive services that help find diseases early, when treatment works best.

For a list of Medicare preventive services available, click here.

Medicare also offers an education tool for coding, coverage requirements and patient cost-sharing. You can find this tool here.

Medicare also offers articles on Medicare-covered preventive services here.

You can also find Medicare provider resources here.

Calendar of EventsCalendar

19 - Zelda Therapeutics' Medical Marijuana and Autism Symposium

Date: Saturday, October 19
Time: 7:45 AM - 5:00 PM
Place: Quorum at the University City Science Center, 3675 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Zelda Therapeutics will be holding a Medical Marijuana (MMJ) and Autism Symposium at Quorum at the University City Science Center on October 19, 2019. Major figures in the MMJ industry, including Rachel Levine, Ethan Russo, Dustin Sulak and Bonni Goldstein will be speaking. Athena Zuppa will be sharing outcomes of CHOP's study as well.

25 - House of Delegates

Date: October 25-27
Place: The Hershey Lodge, 325 University Dr., Hershey, PA 17033

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. (Registration is closed)

28 - Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition Statewide Conference

Date: October 28-29
Place: Sheraton Harrisburg, 4650 Lindle Rd, Harrisburg, PA 17111

Advocates, clinicians, professionals, and community leaders will be coming together for a 2-day statewide conference on October 28th and 29th in Harrisburg to discuss cutting edge research and evidence-based solutions to the opioid epidemic.

1 - 2nd Annual New Jersey Neurovascular Symposium: Innovations and Updates in Assessment, Treatment and Care

Date: Friday, November 1
Time: 7:45 AM - 3:30 PM
Place: Crowne Plaza - Cherry Hill, 2349 Marlton Pike W, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

The Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience of Jefferson Health is holding the 2nd Annual New Jersey Neurovascular Symposium on November 1. This annual conference looks at stroke management from a systems of care perspective, from pre-hospitalization to endovascular and neurosurgical interventions. It focuses on early recognition and determination of severity, as well as the latest advances in treatment and the importance of individualized care in the hospital setting.

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