Weekly Roundup: In Case You Missed It
COVID-19 By the Numbers (as of 10/02/20)

Governor Gavin Newsom Signs AB 890 into Law
AB 890 authorizes two newly created types of nurse practitioners (NPs) who would be allowed to perform certain functions without standardized procedures. Significant provisions of AB 890 are ambiguous, necessitating additional clarification and guidance from regulators. Though the bill was signed into law, full implementation and training of these new categories of NPs will not take effect until 2023. The California Medical Association (CMA) and ACCMA will be closely involved in the implementation of AB 890, monitoring and advocating during the regulatory process at the Board of Registered Nursing and at the Medical Board of California, as necessary.

Here is a fact sheet from CMA outlining some of the significant provisions that require further guidance to make them actionable. For more information about AB 890 and its effect on health care, please review the AB 890 Talking Points document.

Save the Date for the 152nd Annual Meeting of the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association !  

Please mark your calendars and join us on Thursday, November 5th from 5:30 – 6:30 PM for the 152nd Annual Meeting of the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association (ACCMA). Although we are unable to gather together in person, we will still convene virtually on YouTube. We have a very fun and entertaining program planned.
This event is FREE for all ACCMA members and guests. No registration or RSVP is needed. Simply join us on YouTube on November 5th at 5:30 PM. The YouTube link will be distributed before the event. 

If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Mullins, Education and Events Associate, at (510)654-5383 or jmullins@accma.org.
Two New Laws Include Tax Provisions for Physician Practices
Earlier this month, Governor Gavin Newsom signed two California Medical Association (CMA)-supported bills, AB 1577 and SB 1447, aimed to help small businesses as they recover from financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Physician practices may be eligible for these tax credit and tax forgiveness provisions if they scaled employment down and up in response to COVID-19 or if they received support from the federal Paycheck Protection Program. CMA recommends you consult your tax professional if you believe your practice may qualify.


Tell Congress to Oppose Cutting Medicare Payments During a Pandemic
As the country’s physicians continue to fight on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is scheduled to cut Medicare payments by double digits starting January 1, 2021. The California Medical Association (CMA) is urging all physicians to contact their members of Congress to tell them that this is unacceptable. Payment cuts of this magnitude will surely strain a health care system that is already stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic and could jeopardize patient access to medically necessary services.
County News

Starting October 1, Contra Costa County will begin offering free flu shots to people who come in for COVID testing at several testing sites in Contra Costa.  Making flu shots available at COVID testing sites is part of the County's larger effort to get more people vaccinated before flu season arrives. Contra Costa Health Services will also be hosting a series of free one-day flu vaccination clinics in October.

Effective Friday, January 1, 2021, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) will change how the Medi-Cal pharmacy benefit is administered. The new program will be called “Medi-Cal Rx.” The Alameda Alliance for Health (Alliance) team has put together a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to share information about this change. Please reference pages 8-10 from Alameda Alliance for Health's newsletter for the list of FAQs.
In Other News
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it will be disbursing another $20 billion in CARES Act Provider Relief Funds. Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, physicians that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments may apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. Physicians will have from October 5, 2020 through November 6, 2020 to apply for Phase 3 General Distribution funding

The Wall Street Journal reports the U.S. federal government will stop distributing remdesivir turning over control to the drug’s manufacturer Gilead Sciences. Therefore, hospitals can now buy the drug directly from Gilead and its distributor.

Starting Oct. 1, several private health insurers, including Anthem and UnitedHealthcare, will no longer fully pay for virtual visits under certain circumstances — effectively reinstituting costs for patients reliant on the virtual care that has been heralded as a lifeline at a time when Covid-19 is still killing more than 700 Americans each day.

Physicians who participated in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in 2019 have until Monday, October 5 to request a targeted review from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The performance feedback and final MIPS score are posted on the Quality Payment Program (QPP) website. The payment adjustment a physician will receive in 2021 is based on this final score. A positive, negative or neutral payment adjustment will be applied to the Medicare paid amount for covered professional services furnished under the Medicare physician fee schedule in 2021.

Lastly, the New York Times reports that on Monday, President Trump announced a plan to distribute 150 million rapid coronavirus tests purchased by the federal government to states, tribes and other jurisdictions in the coming months.
What We're Reading - COVID-19 Resources and Guidance
WEBINARS & EVENTS

Innovation is a cornerstone at Cleveland Clinic, allowing nearly a century of world-class patient care and inspiring the one-of-a-kind Medical Innovation Summit.

The Summit is where influential investors, entrepreneurs, clinicians, and industry professionals collaborate to drive healthcare change according to its most pressing priorities, including the growing need to make health practice more efficient, transparent, value-based, and connected, with a focus on virtual care and other digital health initiatives.

FREE |Wednesday, October 7, 2020 | 12:15 - 1:15 PM

Presented by California Medical Association
This webinar will provide educational background for the telehealth section of the 2020 House of Delegates (HOD) Major Issue report “The Future of Medical Practice Post COVID.” The report and recommendations focus to a large extent on telehealth, with a particular emphasis on education for physicians, medical students and residents, as well as access to telehealth for older adults and rural populations.  

CME Available |Thursday, October 08, 2020 | 11:00 - 12:00 PM

Presented by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Influenza remains a serious threat to children due to its potential to cause severe illness and death. Nearly 200 flu-associated deaths in children were reported to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the 2019–2020 influenza season. Clinicians play a critical role in immunizing children, the children’s family members and caregivers, and themselves. While early use of antiviral drugs in children can reduce the duration of symptoms and prevent serious complications, immunization remains the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications, including death. Immunization is particularly important during the severe COVID-19 pandemic.,

FREE |Tuesday, October 13, 2020 | 12:00 - 1:30 PM

Presented by California Medical Association

Best practices in COVID-19 treatment have rapidly evolved from the “wild west” of April, and this webinar focuses on the latest clinical practices and decision-making processes. Participants will also learn about  state initiatives around the management and allocation of scarce resources, including remdesivir as a case study, as well as California's convalescent plasma donation initiative.
This event will be moderated by Kimberly Newell Green, M.D.

FREE CME for Members |Thursday, October 15, 2020 | 12:15 - 1:30 PM

Review some of the most critical privacy and security standards in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. In this one-hour webinar with expert practice management consultant David Ginsberg, you will receive important updates on current changes due to the COVID-19 emergency, risks associated with telehealth, who is covered, what information is protected, how you can stay secure in the Information Age, and how to avoid costly mistakes.


As the picture of COVID continues to develop, it is ever more essential to meet the needs of physicians, their families and their patients. The webinar, “When you’re going through hell, keep going,” builds on and extends the first ACCMA Wellness webinar presented by RENEW in April.

Save the Date :152nd Annual Meeting of the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association
Thursday, November 5th | 5:30 - 6:30PM

Please mark your calendars and join us on Thursday, November 5th from 5:30 – 6:30 PM for the 152nd Annual Meeting of the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association (ACCMA). Although we are unable to gather together in person, we will still convene virtually on YouTube. We have a very fun and entertaining program planned.
This event is FREE for all ACCMA members and guests. No registration or RSVP is needed. Simply join us on YouTube on November 5th at 5:30 PM. The YouTube link will be distributed before the event. 
 
If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Mullins, Education and Events Associate, at (510) 654-5383 or jmullins@accma.org.
Saturday & Sunday, November 7 & 8 | 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Presented by UCDavis Health: Center for Advancing Pain Relief

This two-day event will feature expert presentations, 20-minute hot topic talks, and engaging panel discussions on the latest issues in pain management. Primary care clinicians and all other health sciences professionals with an interest in pain management are encouraged to attend. This event will be held exclusively online. Zoom information will be provided closer to the date.

ACCMA's On-Demand Library
FREE | Available On-Demand | CME Available
Do coping strategies and self-care interventions seem to be failing you? Are you finding yourself with more work, but feeling less productive? Listen to the 3rd session of SCMS/NCMS’ Guide to Resilience series to learn about “Stress First Aid for Physicians During Unprecedented Times,” presented by Gabriela Bronson-Castain, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in the Bay Area and co-chair of the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland Medical Staff Wellbeing Committee. The session is free for members (includes CME), and knowledge of the previous sessions is not necessary to enjoy the webinar.

FREE | Available On-Demand | CME Available
This one-hour, on-demand webinar led by Angela Trapp  MSW, ACC, focuses on self-care and understanding self-preservation. Most of us were taught that being self-centered is an undesirable trait. What if the opposite was true? Could being a little more self-centered improve your well- being and restore resiliency? This presentation identifies the importance of putting SELF first and practicing the 3S Model: Self-Compassion, Self- Awareness and Self Care to continue on the pathway to well-being.

FREE | Available On-Demand
On June 13, the ACCMA hosted its first Virtual Telehealth Vendor Fair. Telehealth vendors from across California and the Nation showcased their products and services so members can evaluate what solutions will work best in their practice. Vendors include Decoded Health, Doctorgram, TigerConnect, Updox, and VSee.

FREE | Available On-Demand | CME Available
This one-hour, on-demand webinar led by Linda Hawes Clever, MD, MACP, offers practical, creative, and effective remedies to deal with the crush on personal and professional lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. It contains strategies, resources, and suggestions for handling physician wellness, as well as addressing questions and answers, as we listen and see the ingenuity, guts, and devotion with which we are addressing the harrowing challenges we all face as a profession, community, and nation. Discover how to reduce personal stress and learn healthy ways to contend with the impact of COVID-19. 

FREE | Available On-Demand | CME Available
Telehealth services are expanding rapidly during the COVID-19 crisis. In partnership with Bay Area medical associations, the ACCMA teamed up with experts to develop a comprehensive webinar series to help physicians swiftly ramp up their telemedicine capabilities, from technology to practice implementation to coding. Experts discuss choosing a telemedicine platform; compliance; privacy and security considerations; billing and payment; policies, procedures, and workflow; informing your patients; and malpractice. Physicians who have experience practicing telemedicine share their practical reflections.

FREE | Available On-Demand
Medical offices and practices are essential businesses and were not required to close, but many physicians have faced difficulties with staffing, incorporating Telemedicine into their practices, ensuring waiting rooms are safe, etc. Sessions include "Getting Back Up and Running Safely," "HR and Employment Issues," and "Telemedicine and Reimbursement."
CMA On-Demand Library
FREE | Available On-Demand
QUESTIONS/CONCERNS?
Please contact ACCMA at 510-654-5383 oraccma@accma.orgwith any questions or concerns you have.