The PULSE of The Physician Alliance
Friday, Oct. 25, 2019
Diabetes prevention program can help patients change lifestyle
More than 80 million Americans are at risk for developing pre-diabetes. There are many opportunities to help patients lower their risk, including a diabetes prevention program. Engaging patients in their health outcomes can be a major factor in successfully lowering their risk for diabetes.
The attached list highlights upcoming local prevention program classes . Practices are encouraged to share this information with patients who can benefit from a diabetes prevention class.
The Physician Alliance created materials to educate patients on diabetes prevention and management. Posters, action plans and more can help initiate conversations with patients on these important health topics. Click here to view.
Educate patients on improving vitamin D without testing
Over the past decade, reports linking low vitamin D levels to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and a variety of other health issues led many doctors to routinely test this vitamin level in healthy patients. But numerous healthcare councils, including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), report there is no good reason to do that.

The councils found it isn’t helpful for most people to know their vitamin D level, there isn't one agreed upon meaning for low vitamin D and most vitamin D tests aren’t standardized or reliable. Additional vitamin D testing also significantly increases healthcare costs with little value or outcome. Medicare spent $337 million on vitamin D tests for seniors in 2015, up from $323 million the previous year.

The Physician Alliance participates in the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Resource Stewardship Initiative to help decrease over-utilized services. Vitamin D testing is a target quality metric to improve (decrease use). The current TPA rate for this metric is 9.4% (lower is better). After reviewing best practice rates in southeast Michigan, TPA has a benchmark goal of 7.4% for annual vitamin D testing.

TPA created an education poster to help practices initiate conversations with patients about improving vitamin D levels through lifestyle changes and more. Download the poster or order copies via our online order form .
Get tips on improving diabetic care and retinopathy metrics
The Physician Alliance creates a variety of clinical and coding tip sheets to help our physician members improve quality metrics, incentive dollars and patient care. The new CPT II codes went into effect October 1, 2019. TPA recently released new tip sheets that can help with HgA1c and retinal eye exam.

Click here for CPT II Coding Updates for Diabetic Patients tip sheet
Click here for Ophthalmology-Retinopathy Coding tip sheet

Click here to view other tip sheets.
CMS seeks input on future oncology payment model
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is developing a potential new payment and service delivery model for the Oncology Care Model (OCM). CMS is seeking engagement from stakeholders on these changes and will host a public listening session on Monday, Nov. 4 from 1-4pm to gather feedback on a future oncology payment model.

Click here to register for this listening session. CMS will release additional information prior to this session.
Learn tips for mitigating risk in documentation
Join The Physician Alliance and Coverys for a special seminar addressing specific challenges and risk management strategies for the use of electronic and hybrid medical records.

Documentation Challenges and Opportunities
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019; 8-9:30am

Highlights of the seminar*:
  • Define the purposes and essential elements of documentation.
  • Discuss necessary steps to ensure accurate and defensible record documentation.
  • Review strategies for reducing risk and improving communication and documentation in clinical areas.
  • Recognize challenges of using various medical record formats.
  • Outline the limitations, risks, and benefits of EMR technologies, and how to mitigate risk by implementing systems and processes related to documentation.

Presenter : Judy Recker, MHA, RPh, CPHQ, CPHRM, risk consultant, Coverys
Location: Ascension Macomb Oakland Hospital, Oakland Education Building, 27321 Dequindre Road, Madison Heights, MI

Download a flyer for more information.

*Continuing education credit available to attendees who document patient care. See flyer for details.
10 tips to prepare for tax season
As the end of the year rolls closer, you can prepare tax time with these helpful tips:

1. Determine eligibility for itemized deductions : Year-end planning is required to determine if capped itemized deductions still exceed the modified standard deduction.
2. Consider accelerating income into 2019 or delay income until 2020 . Some people may benefit from lower tax brackets.
3. Max out your employer-sponsored retirement plan contributions . The deadline for funding 401(k), 403(b) or 457 plans is Dec. 31.
4. Evaluate the benefits of converting your Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA . Traditional IRA contributions are tax-deductible (the same year of contribution), and qualified Roth IRAs distributions are tax-free – current and anticipated future tax brackets and other considerations are a factor.
5. Use highly appreciated securities for charitable contributions . If you are able itemize tax deductions, you can leverage your charitable gifts by limiting any capital gains tax you otherwise would absorb.
6.  Harvesting of capital losses.  If you have investment losses in a taxable account, you can sell them to offset gains from this year. If you have more losses than gains, you can deduct up to $3,000 against ordinary income; and if you have more than $3,000, you can carry over that amount to future years.
7.  College savings 529 plans . You can invest up to $15,000 in 2019, tax-free, without incurring a federal gift tax, and many states offer state tax deductions for the contributions.
8.  Use your gift tax exclusion . You can give up to $15,000 to as many people as you wish in 2019, free of gift or estate tax. If you combine gifts with a spouse, you can give up to $30,000.
9. Take required minimum distributions . Uncle Sam requires that you withdraw money from retirement accounts after you turn 70 ½. (IRS rules are complicated, so please consult  for more specifics). Withdrawals must occur by Dec. 31. Failure to make these results in a whopping 50% penalty on the amount that should have been withdrawn and wasn’t.
10.   Seek advice when you “know not.” If you don’t know where to start – seek reliable advice. Helping to optimize tax burdens is an area credible professionals can make a difference.

Source: Hollander & Lone is a member of TPA’s Affiliate Partners Program , offering personal and business financial planning services to TPA members at a preferred rate .
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. The Physician Alliance, Hollander & Lone LLC, and LPL Financial are separate entities.Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Please consult your tax advisor regarding your specific situation. The Roth IRA offers tax deferral on any earnings in the account. Withdrawals from the account may be tax free, as long as they are considered qualified. Withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ or prior to the account being opened for 5 years, whichever is later, may result in a 10% IRS penalty tax. Future tax laws can change at any time and may impact the benefits of Roth IRAs.
News You Can Use
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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. - (586) 498-3555