Weekly Roundup: In Case You Missed It

April 29, 2022

MICRA Modernization 2022

A historic agreement to modernize MICRA has been reached. Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP) and the Consumer Attorneys of California have announced a consensus on legislation to modernize the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). The modernized approach to MICRA—introduced as Assembly Bill 35 in the legislature and jointly authored by Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Reyes and Senator Tom Umberg—will extend the long-term predictability and affordability of medical liability insurance premiums, while keeping MICRA’s essential guardrails solidly in place for patients and providers alike. Once passed and signed by the Governor, this legislative framework will preclude a costly ballot measure that was set to appear on the November ballot. Click here to read more from CMA. 

COVID-19 Therapeutics Widely Available

Contra Costa County Public Health released a provider health alert, stating that there is no short supply or scarcity of COVID-19 therapeutics. Click here to access the full health alert with additional treatment guidelines and resources. The CDC also issued a health advisory this week regarding the use of therapeutics. Note that Total Infusion will no longer be able to provider monoclonal antibody therapy after Friday, April 29. The CDC recommends that physicians use the NIH’s treatment guidelines to stay up to date on any changes. Visit our COVID-19 webpage to access two locators that can help you and your patients get access to treatment.

HHS Files Notice to Appeal Ruling in NSA Dispute Resolution Process

The Department of Health and Human Services filed a notice to appeal a February ruling that affects the dispute resolution process in the No Surprises Act (NSA). HHS and other departments filed the notice on Friday in U.S. District Court in Texas opposing a summary judgment issued February 23 in favor of the plaintiffs in the case. While the federal government has given notice of its intent to appeal, three major medical associations said they would continue to press their challenge to block the implementation of parts of the NSA Interim Final Rule: The American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Radiology and the American Society of Anesthesiologists. 

CalAIM Population Health Management Strategy Open for Public Comment

The draft Population Health Management (PHM) Strategy and Roadmap is available for public comment. The PHM program, set to launch in January 2023, will establish a cohesive, statewide approach that ensures all Medi-Cal members have access to coordinated and equitable access to services that address their physical, behavioral, developmental, dental, and long-term care needs throughout their lives. Written comments must be submitted to CalAIM@dhcs.ca.gov by 5 pm on Monday, May 16.

CDPH Urges Physicians to Increase Gonorrhea and DGI Testing

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is urging health care providers to expand testing for gonorrhea and Disseminated Gonococcal Infection (DGI) following a surge of new infections over the past few years. CDPH suspects the increase in cases is due to a decrease in STD screening, testing and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, CDPH reported a roughly doubling of DGI cases versus the previous year. In 2021, those cases continued to increase and included four deaths that were likely attributed to DGI. Read the full letter from CDPH with recommendations for increased screening. 

DHCS Receives Funding to Strengthen Crisis Call Center Services

On April 19, the Department of Health and Human Services, through its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), awarded the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) nearly $14.5 million to improve response rates, increase capacity, and ensure calls are quickly routed to local call centers for people in need. DHCS may also use the funding to build the workforce necessary for enhancing local text and chat response, working with the California Lifeline call center network. This grant funding is in advance of the July 2022 launch of the 988 dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

California Opens Medi-Cal to Older Unauthorized Immigrants

On Sunday, unauthorized immigrants over age 49 who fall below certain income thresholds will become eligible for full coverage by Medi-Cal. An estimated 235,000 people will become eligible as a result. Under current law, all unauthorized immigrants who feet the financial criteria can get limited Medi-Cal coverage. When they sign up for full Medi-Cal, they get comprehensive coverage that includes primary care, prescription drugs, mental health care, dental and eye care, eyeglasses, and much more. DHCS is working with county officials, consumer advocates, and Covered California to reach eligible immigrants. Learn more here

PHC Collecting Donations to Support Relief Efforts in Ukraine

To support the citizens of Ukraine, millions of whom have been forcibly displaced, the California Medical Association and its foundation, Physicians for a Healthy California (PHC), are raising funds to support the International Medical Corps.  As recently as last week, this organization has directly reached 2.8+ million children, women and men and distributed 41 tons of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals to 11 health facilities—supplies that can serve more than 1 million people for the next three months. Donate here

Nominate an Outstanding Psychiatrist for the J. Elliot Royer Award

Last year, ACCMA’s very own Dr. Robyn Young was awarded the J. Elliot Royer Award for Neurology designated for a community-based physician. This year, two recipients will be chosen for the cash award: one academic psychiatrist and one community-based practitioner. The award alternates each year between the two specialties. The J. Elliot Royer Award recognizes two psychiatrists or neurologists active in the medical field in San Francisco, Alameda or Contra Costa counties who during the year have made the most significant contribution to the advancement of psychiatry or neurology. The nomination deadline is Friday, June 3 at 5 pm. Click here to learn more.



Leadership Reading and Discussion Group 
Wednesday, May 4 | 6:00 to 7:30 pm  
FREE | CME Available | Online  
Physicians are free to join any meeting of the Leadership Reading and Discussion Group; reading the book is not required. Doctor Hilary Worthen, course director of the Physician Leadership Program, facilitates the discussion group that is held on Zoom. “The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life,” by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.

Email Mae Lum, Deputy Director, at mlum@accma.org to get the Zoom/videoconference link. 
Thursday, May 5 
FREE | Hosted by Physicians for a Healthy California 
The GME Leadership Summit aims to develop and sustain new GME programs in medically underserved areas and specialties by convening subject matter experts and thought leaders to provide insight and expertise. All GME champions are invited to attend, especially physician workforce development leaders and those looking to start new GME programs, as well as newly designated institutional officials, program directors and program coordinators. 
Register here

Protecting Mental Health in Disasters: COVID-19 and Beyond

Wednesday, May 11 | 10:00 am to 11:00 am

FREE | Hosted by AMA

COVID-19 is the most far-reaching and long-lasting disaster in generations, with a long "tail" of expected mental health effects impacting patients, providers, and their families. Understanding the range of mental health effects and aspects of risk and resilience are critical to effective response and recovery. In this AMA STEPS Forward™ webinar, speaker Joshua C. Morganstein, MD, CAPT, discusses how the use of evidence-based early interventions by individuals, organizations, and leaders can reduce distress, foster resilience, enhance operational sustainment, and help treat psychiatric disorders that may emerge.

Register here.

34th Annual Virtual Conference on Physicians’ Wellbeing

Friday, July 15 | 8:00 am to 12:15 pm 

CME Available 


Presented by Riverside County Medical Association, this program is designed to assist hospitals and health care organizations comply with Title 22 Regulations on matters related to health and wellness, addiction, mental illness and behavioral issues of physicians and other health care providers. This event is endorsed by CMA. Registration is $169, with a discounted price of $50 for residents and medical students. 


Register here

ACCMA's On-Demand Library

To access all on-demand programs, go to https://www.pathlms.com/medical-society/courses 


Please contact ACCMA at 510-654-5383 or accma@accma.orgwith any questions or concerns you have.