Weekly Roundup: In Case You Missed It

September 23, 2022

Unvaccinated HCWs No Longer Required to Test Weekly



CDPH is ending COVID-19 policies that required weekly COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated individuals in high-risk workplaces and schools who applied for and were granted an exemption from vaccination requirements. If not exempt, health care workers (HCWs) must continue to comply with all required primary series and booster doses. Facilities should continue to track workers’ vaccination or exemption status, as well as maintain testing capacity in the event of an outbreak or future requirement. Find a Q&A for HCWs from CDPH. 

CDPH Eases Masking Recommendations as Conditions Improve



Effective September 23, CDPH has changed its masking recommendations to reflect current levels of community transmission and impact on the healthcare system. When community spread is low, people may now wear a mask based on personal preference. Masks are still required in healthcare settings and long-term care facilities. 

Test to Treat Grant Application Period Closes September 30


CDPH has allocated up to $59 million to the “Test to Treat” grant program, which over the next 10 months will support safety-net providers to operationalize access to clinically appropriate COVID-19 therapeutics in a timely manner with a focus on three key expedited elements of COVID-19 assessment and treatment: testing, prescribing and therapeutics. Eligible organizations include, but are not limited to: FQHCs, community clinics, and clinics operated by county/city hospitals or Public Health Care Systems. Click here to apply and learn more. 

HHS Declares Public Health Emergency in Puerto Rico


On September 21, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra declared a Public Health Emergency for Puerto Rico due to the flooding impact of Hurrican Fiona. The declaration follows Biden’s disaster declaration and gives CMS beneficiaries and their health care providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meetings emergency health needs. To find out more about how you can help, this NPR article highlights several charities that are on the ground now and asking for assistance. 

Rules on Information Blocking, Changes Oct. 6


In April 2021, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) rules on information blocking went into effect. Information blocking is defined as practices that are likely to interfere with, prevent, or materially discourage the access, exchange, or use of electronic health information (EHI). Physicians, hospitals, electronic health record vendors, health information exchanges, and health information networks (also known as “Actors”), are all subject to ONC's regulations. Since April 2021, information blocking requirements have been focused on a narrow subset all EHI. However, starting October 6, information blocking requirements shift to the entire set of EHI. Physicians will be responsible for the access, exchange, or use of the full EHI requirement. This document provides an overview of the information blocking regulations, EHI definition, and recommendations for physicians to prepare for the upcoming deadline.

Governor Signs Bill to Protect Patients and Sanctity of the Physician-Patient Relationship



Governor Gavin Newsom signed CMA-sponsored bill, AB 1636, on Thursday. This bill preserved the integrity of the medical profession by ensuring physicians convicted of sexual misconduct with a patient lose their license with no ability to reinstate it. Currently, a person can petition the medical board for reinstatement three years after having their license revoked or surrendered for unprofessional conduct. This bill removes the discretion from the medical board to give or reinstate a physician who lost their license. 

HHS Releases Roadmap for Behavioral Health Integration


In an effort to advance President Biden’s Strategy to Address our National Mental Health Crisis, HHS has released a roadmap for increasing access to behavioral health services. In the roadmap, they address key barriers and identify policy solutions to overcome these barriers as well as emphasize that integrated care plays an important role in the three pillars of the strategy: 1) Strengthen System Capacity, 2) Connect Americans to Care, and 3) Support Americans by Creating Health Environments. HHS will advance the Connect Americans to Care pillar through reform to behavioral healthcare financing agreements, including changes to Medicare and Medicaid and increase reimbursements. Click here to read the full brief from HHS. 

MediCal Rx: Physician Administered Drug Policy Updates



DHCS announced an update to Physician Administered Drug (PAD) policy, effective immediately. Pharmacy claims for PADs not typically approved for and dispensed by pharmacy providers will deny with Reject Code 816 – Pharmacy Drug Benefit Exclusion. An exception for pharmacy benefit approval may be considered via prior authorization request and may be covered as a pharmacy benefit. Pharmacy providers and prescribers are encouraged to assess their business processes and workflows to account for the PAD policy update.  

Not a member? Join Now and Get Three Months Free


New members who join and pay in full for the next year will receive the remaining months of this year for free. Visit CMAdocs.org/join or call (800) 786-4262 to join today. 

WEBINARS & EVENTS

Therapeutics Webinar Series for Providers 

Monday, September 26 | 12:00 to 1:00 pm 

Hosted by CDPH 

 

This bi-weekly webinar series features CDPH subject matter experts who will provide updates, resources, and answers to providers’ questions. The webinar series will continue through at least the end of the year. 

 

Register for the whole series here.  

Climate and Health Advocacy Bootcamp

Thursdays, September 29-October 27 | 12:00 to 1:30 pm 

Hosted by the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health 

 

Health professionals are the most trusted voices in society and our collective voices are needed to prepare communities to effectively respond to the climate crisis. Through this 5-week bootcamp, you will grow your network by joining colleagues around the country to learn strategies to effectively channel your voice and action as a health professional to address the “greatest health threat” of the 21st Century. 

 

Register here.

AB 35: Truth and Impact 

Thursday, October 6 | 12:00 to 1:00 pm 

FREE | Hosted by the Cooperative of American Physicians (CAP) 

 

A likely surge in medical malpractice claims frequency and severity are expected to occur when Assembly Bill (AB 35) goes into effect on January 1, 2023. Learn more about how this legislation impacts your medical professional liability and what you can do to protect your practice. This webinar will help physicians identify the most impactful changes to MICRA contained in AB 35 that increase physicians’ liabilities for claims of medical negligence, understand the increases in noneconomic damage caps and attorney’s fees, formulate specific steps to ensure patient safety, and prepare for the medical professional liability landscape in 2023 and beyond. 

 

Register here. Even if you can’t attend, you can register and receive the recording after the event. 

Unconscious Bias in Healthcare: Policy, Practice, and the State of the Science Symposium 

Friday, October 14 | 9:00 am to 5:00 pm 

FREE | Presented by Sutter Health’s Institute for Advancing Health Equity 

 

Join health equity experts, researchers and change agents for a day of focused discussion and problem-solving around how to effectively mitigate unconscious bias in healthcare settings. The insights and strategies explored during this one-day event will inform evidence-based recommendations and a framework to guide the development and implementation of effective, measurable unconscious bias mitigation strategies. This event is co-sponsored by CMA, Physicians for a Health California, and the California Primary Care Association. 

 

Register here

Understanding the Climate Health Crisis and How California Physicians Can Make an Impact 

Friday, October 21 | 2:00 to 4:00 pm 

Hybrid: Virtual and In-person at L.A. Live 

 

This free event will be an engaging two-part panel discussion that will explore the health impacts of climate change in California and the opportunities for California's physicians to advance policy-level climate solutions with enormous public health co-benefits. Sponsored by Climate Health Now and the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy (CFEE) in coordination with CMA. 

 

Register here.

Advanced Burn Life Support Course

Tuesday, October 25 | 2425 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento 

Hosted by the American Burn Association & UC Davis Health 

 

UC Davis Health Burn Team in conjunction with Shriners hospital is offering a course called the Advanced Burn Life Support Course (ABLS) at Shriners Children’s Hospital Northern California. This is a nationally recognized course and is only taught through burn centers. ABLS is a course given through the American Burn Association and provides knowledge for immediate care of the burn patient up to the first 24 hours post-injury. ABLS programs also support emergency and mass casualty preparedness focusing on triage, burn survivability, patient transportation, and patient treatment. The course will be taught by the four burn surgeons which include both directors of the burn center here at UCD and Shriners. 

 

Email kmsloan@ucdavis.edu if interested in attending.

Harm Reduction and Treatment Strategies for People Who Use Fentanyl

Wednesday, October 26 | 10:00 to 11:00 am 

Hosted by the National Overdose Prevention Network 

 

Many people use fentanyl, whether by choice or by accident. With overdose-related deaths continuing to rise, how do we keep people safe? This first session in our webinar series on fentanyl will focus on harm reduction strategies and treatment options for people who use fentanyl. We will hear from a harm reduction expert and a clinician on key strategies and opportunities to center people who use drugs and save lives. 

 

Register here.

CMS Medicare Updates 2023 

Tuesday, November 8 | 12:15 to 1:15 pm 

FREE | Hosted by CMA 

 

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Regional Chief Medical Officer Ashby Wolfe, M.D., will provide an update on CMS policy for the 2023 calendar year. Information presented will be relevant to practicing clinicians, including an overview of the updates to the 2023 Physician Fee Schedule. 

 

Register here

NSMS's On-Demand Library


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

 

QUESTIONS/CONCERNS?

Please contact NSMS at grogers@napasolanodocs.org or (707) 255-3622with any questions or concerns you have.