Weekly Roundup: In Case You Missed It

August 12, 2022

Monkeypox Updates


The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the JYNNEOS vaccine, allowing healthcare providers to use the vaccine by intradermal injection for those 18 and older who are at high risk for monkeypox infection and by subcutaneous injection for those younger than 18 years old. Find updates and information from the CDC here.

COVID-19 Therapeutics


The National Institute of Health updated their COVID-19 treatment guidelines on August 8. The updates include considerations of immunocompromised patients, clinical management of children, minor revisions to the use of kinase inhibitors, and more. 

Senate Passes Bill That Would Reduce Drug Costs, Extend ACA Benefits

 

The U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act last Sunday, which would reduce Medicare’s unsustainably high prescription drugs costs, extend premium tax credits to ensure the continued availability of affordable ACA coverage for millions of low-income Californians, and aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, partly through incentives for clean energy and technology. The bill now moves to the House. You can read the CMA letter to California Members of Congress, urging them to support the Inflation Reduction Act.

Help Promote School Vaccinations


Visit the www.ShotsforSchool.org CDPH page for information on immunization laws and required vaccinations for students in California. Families that are having difficulty obtaining required immunizations prior to the start of school can contact their local health department for help in finding a place to get needed immunizations. Additional resources are available in the #DontWaitVaccinate toolkit to educate Californians about the importance of staying up-to-date on vaccinations and routine screenings. 

KidsVaxGrant 2.0 for Providers Serving Pediatric Populations: Application Open



KidsVaxGrant 2.0 will help medical practices with 200 physicians or fewer serving pediatric populations administer COVID vaccines to their infant and toddler pediatric patients. Administered by Physicians for a Healthy California (PHC), CDPH is investing approximately $10 million to fund the KidsVaxGrant 2.0. Individual practices may be eligible for up to two grant opportunities – awards between $10K-25K. Providers serving pediatric populations that were previously awarded a KidsVaxGrant are eligible to apply for KidsVaxGrant 2.0. Click here to learn more and apply today. If you have any questions, attend PHC’s webinar on Tuesday, August 9 at 5 pm.

Learn How to Design a Physician Well-Being Program


If you are a wellness leader at your physician organization, join the Bay Area Physician Wellness Collaborative! Our bimonthly convenings bring together wellness leads from all types of physician organizations to get guidance, tools, and resources; share experiences and best practices; and support each other in this work. Virtual office hours offer small group discussions with Paul DeChant, MD, our program director. 

 

The guest speaker for the September 13 convening is Gaurava Agarwal, MD, CWO at Northwestern Medicine and a leader in CWO development nationwide. Dr. Agarwal and Dr. DeChant will discuss how smaller medical groups might create a position that approximates a formal CWO position. This collaborative is by invitation only; please click here to indicate your interest in joining the collaborative.

Prior Authorization Reform: Support SB 250


Senator Richard Pan, M.D., introduced SB 250 to reduce administrative burdens in physician practices so physicians can spend more time dedicated to patient care. SB 250 will reform the prior authorization process in a comprehensive way. The result will be less clinical time spent on administrative work, increased access to necessary care for patients and a restoration of the physician-patient relationship in medical decision making. SB 250 will be heard soon in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Contact your Assemblymember today

Hold Medi-Cal Claims for Monkeypox Tests


DHCS released guidance regarding a new CPT code created to streamline the reporting of orthopoxvirus. Once DHCS has updated its systems, physicians will be able to bill CPT code 87593 as a Medi-Cal benefit. Physicians are advised to hold the claim for submission until the system has been updated. Click here to learn more about two new CPT codes for monkeypox vaccines.

CMS Suspends PA for Certain Orthopedic Devices


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it has suspended prior authorization requirements for spine and knee braces prescribed under urgent or special circumstances. Updates to prior authorization initiatives can be found here. Your local county medical society and CMA are pushing for bipartisan legislation (S3018 – Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act) that would streamline the Medicare Advantage (MA) prior authorization process in the wake of reports that MA organizations sometimes delayed or denied MA members’ access to services even when the requests met Medicare coverage rules.

UnitedHealthcare Begins Update of Commercial Fee Schedule


UHC recently issued a notice to 3,500 physicians tied to the UHC 2008 commercial fee schedule advising providers of the transition to a new fee schedule effective October 15. Please be aware that fee schedules will transition automatically and no action is required on your part. If you have any questions or would like to confirm if your practice will be affected, please contact UHC’s Network Account Manager at west_physician_contracting@uhc.com.

Podcast on Post-Roe America


The Nocturnists have released a podcast with family medicine physician and abortion provider Alison Block, M.D., who recently published an Op-Ed in The New York Times called "Why I Learned to Perform Second-Trimester Abortions for a Post-Roe America." In this conversation, Dr. Block speaks beautifully about the reality of abortion care on the ground, and the challenges we’re up against as we work to reinstate the right to choose for people across America. This is the first podcast of a storytelling project – The Nocturnists: Post-Roe America – to document the ramifications of Roe v. Wade’s repeal on the lives and practices of health care workers. 

WEBINARS & EVENTS

Medi-Cal Rx Reinstatement: A Phased Approach

Wednesday, August 18 | 2:00 to 3:00 pm 

FREE 

Hosted by CMA, California Primary Care Assocation, and Magellan 

 

This webinar will help physicians understand the DHCS phased implementation plan for Medi-Cal Rx. They will also highlight the current NDC/CDL list and the CoverMyMeds platform. 

 

Register here

Therapeutics Webinar Series for Providers 

Monday, August 29 | 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.  

Addressing Adult Suicide Ideation in the Primary Care Setting 

Thursday, September 1 | 10:00 to 10:45 am 

Hosted by AMA STEPS Forward 

 

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Building off the Practical Strategies for Managing Suicidal Ideation & Reducing Risk, this pre-recorded webinar focuses on how primary care practices can address suicidal ideation within their adult patient population. 

 

Register here.

Leadership Reading and Discussion Group 

Wednesday, September 7 | 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 book selection for September 7 is “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back” by Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD. This book describes how the flawed system of health insurance and delivery has failed patients in the US, and proposes solutions for far-reaching reform. 

 

Register here

Dismantling Stigma for All: Addressing Physician and Patient Mental Health Including Suicide Risk 

Thursday, September 8 | 10:00 to 11:00 am 

Hosted by AMA STEPS Forward 

 

As part of National Suicide Prevention Week, this live, interactive forum will connect attendees with industry experts on suicidal ideation and physicians with lived experience to discuss solutions for dismantling the stigma around seeking mental health treatment. 

 

Register here.

Ballots & Brews 

Mare Island Brewing Co., Vallejo | Friday, Sept. 9 | 6:30 to 9:00 pm 

Free for members | $50/person for non-members 

 

Bring the family to Mare Island Brewing Co.'s "Whaleboat Room" to enjoy good food and good company. Sip some suds and learn about the biggest health care issues on the November ballot or eat some free food and play games outside (e.g. cornhole, giant Jenga, foosball, or bring your own from home!) with waterfront views. Micah Scheindlin, CMA Associate Vice President of Political Operations, will present on how 2022 ballot measures could impact you and your patients.  

 

Register here.

Bay Area Physician Wellness Collaborative 

Tuesday, September 13 | 6:00 to 8:00 pm 

FREE | CME Available | Online 

 

The Bay Area Physician Wellness Collaborative aims to bring together medical group leaders, chief wellness officers, wellness committee chairs, and others who have been charged with “fixing the physician burnout problem” from across the East Bay. Participants will: 

  

  • Receive a highly structured road map to make substantive changes over a three-year period that can fundamentally change the practice environment in your organization 
  • Learn from wellness experts who will provide curated information and implementation tools that they can bring back to their organizations 
  • Become part of an online community to share information and experiences 
  • Create a network of peers to support each other in this work 

 

The guest speaker for the September 13 session is Gaurava Agarwal, MD, CWO at Northwestern Medicine and a leader in CWO development nationwide. This collaborative is by invitation only; please click here to indicate your interest in joining the collaborative.

Drug Testing 2022 

Thursday, September 22 | 12:00 to 1:30 pm 

Hosted by CPPPH and CSAM 

 

This 90-minute session will be the first of two videoconferences based on the new CPPPH/CSAM guideline, “Drug Testing of Health Care Professionals: What to Test For, When, Why and How.” Participants will be able to: explain the reason why a medical staff may request or require the drug and/or alcohol testing of the members of the medical staff, describe the difference between a screening test and a confirmatory test, list 5 analytes included in a health care professionals panel, and describe the role of a Medical Review Officer (MRO) and explain why review by an MRO is required.  

 

Register here. Registration fee is $145 for the first person and a reduced fee for up to two additional persons from the same hospital/institution registering at the same time on this form.

NEPO Summit: Beyond Unconscious Bias to Health Care Equity 

Thursday, October 6 | 9:30 am to 4:00 pm 

Hosted by PHC and NEPO | $50 for members & non-members 

 

The Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO) is a network of diverse physicians and patients that convene annually to advocate for community health, encourage physician leadership development, and promote cultural and linguistic competency in patient care. The summit will be virtual and cover topics critical to diverse physicians and patients including reproductive and maternal health outcome disparities, women physician well-being, and practice transformation. The NEPO Summit will also include the presentation of the Physicians for a Healthy California 2022 Leadership Awards. These awards are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate individuals or organizations who are champions of health equity. Nominations are open through July 18. 

 

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.