Weekly Roundup: In Case You Missed It

September 2, 2022

FDA Authorizes Moderna, Pfizer Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine for Use as Booster 

On August 31, the FDA amended the EUA of Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to authorize bivalent formulations of the vaccine for use as a single booster dose at least two months following primary or booster vaccination. This new bivalent vaccine differs from the monovalent vaccine administered to millions since December 2020 in that it contains two mRNA components of SAR-CoV-2 virus: one of the original strain and one of the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the omicron variant. Read more from the FDA press release here.

Time-limited PSLF Opportunity


For a limited time, borrowers may receive PSLF credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF. This current one-time waiver will allow individuals to rectify their federally held student loans and qualify for PSLF if they are working for a qualifying employer and apply before Oct. 31, 2022. This issue is critically important for medical students, residents and young physicians, as well as underrepresented populations of physicians who tend to hold more student loans.

Biden Admin Issues Final Rules on No Surprises Act

Last week, the Biden Administration issued Final Rules addressing several provisions of the payment process for out-of-network care under the No Surprises Act (NSA). The most prominent concern raised by medical societies was the removal of the rebuttable presumption that the Qualifying Payment Amount (QPA) is the appropriate out-of-network rate. The Final Rules remove the vacated provisions and the requirements on the arbiter to presume that the QPA is the appropriate out-of-network rate—a significant step in the right direction toward a more balanced IDR process. Click here to read more.

Bill to Protect Physician-Patient Relationship, Puts Patient Well-being First

SB 1419 provides physicians the opportunity to respect patient privacy and wishes when releasing health information. It would allow physicians time to interpret potentially life-changing test results before releasing them to the patient electronically, provide additional protections in law for sensitive data (i.e. teen mental health and reproductive data), and clarift that clinical notes are part of the medical record.  This CMA-sponsored bill passed the State Senate on a vote of 31 to 9.

ACCMA's New On Demand Webinar – Work RVUs Calculation and Compensation

Work RVUs are increasingly becoming the compensation method of choice for hospital foundations, universities, private equity, and medical groups. Work RVUs are a measure of physician productivity without regard for insurance payor reimbursement rates or collections revenue. It is crucial for physicians to understand how to calculate WRVUS if joining an organization or being acquired. It is also imperative that physicians understand the compensation methodologies, how to negotiate dollars per WRVU and how monitor the recordation of WRVUs so compensation is accurate. Access this on demand webinar offered in three on-demand sessions and presented by Debra Phairas, President & Liability Consultants, LLC. 

Overdose Awareness

August 31st was International Overdose Awareness Day. For resources on how you can help prevent overdoses and substance abuse in our local community, be sure to check out the ACCMA’s East Bay Safe Prescribing Coalition

CMS Reduces Regulatory Burden, Discontinues Certain Forms Starting 2023

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is discontinuing the use of Certificates of Medical Necessity (CMN) and Durable Medical Equipment Information Forms (DIFs). This change will go into effect January 2023 and is a step by the federal government toward reducing administrative burdens. Click here to see which forms are included in this change and steps on how to prepare.

COVID-19 Therapeutics for Uninsured Group Covered by Medi-Cal

DHCS reminds providers that COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics are a covered Medi-Cal Rx pharmacy benefit for CA residents who do not have insurance or currently have private insurance that does not cover COVID-19 therapeutics, and do not qualify for any Medi-Cal programs. Click here to learn more about the COVID-19 Uninsured Group (UIG) program. 

CDC Provides Updates, Recommendations on Variant Influenza Virus Infections

The CDC has issued a health advisory to provide update on the recent variant influenza virus infections and summarize its recommendations for the identification, treatment and prevention of the virus infection for Summer and Fall 2022. You can read the full advisory here.

AB 2223 Aims to Put an End to Pregnancy Criminalization

California lawmakers sent Gov. Gavin Newsom a bill Tuesday that would shield pregnant people from criminal and civil liability in the event of a self-induced abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth. Assembly Bill 2223, authored by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, was part of a package of reproductive health-related bills championed by the California Future of Abortion Council. Newsom has until the end of September to sign the measure into law or veto it. 

AB 2098 Will Lead to Consequences for Physicians Spreading Misinformation

The California legislature has approved a bill that will allow the state medical board to discipline physicians who spread misinformation about COVID-19. The legislation, AB 2098, finds "the dissemination of misinformation or disinformation related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, or 'COVID-19,' as 'unprofessional conduct.' The Federation of State Medical Boards warned last year that physicians who spread misinformation were at risk of disciplinary action by medical boards, but no states have codified that policy. California would be the first. 

2021 MIPS Feedback Now Available, Targeted Review Period Open

CMS released Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) performance feedback and final scores for the 2021 performance year, which determine whether a physician will receive a positive, neutral or negative payment adjustment on Medicare services furnished in 2023. Physicians can view this information on the Quality Payment Program (QPP) website using their HCQIS Access Role and Profile (HARP) credentials. In response to advocacy from the American Medical Association, CMS implemented several flexibilities to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 which are reflected in the 2021 MIPS final scores. If a physician believes there was an error in the calculation of the MIPS final score, he or she should request a targeted review by Oct. 21, 2022. 

Participate in Developing AMA Racial Justice and Equity Impact Tool

The AMA, together with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is developing a tool to measure the impact of racial justice and equity education on concrete behavioral changes and actions. They are recruiting volunteers to participate in a validation study. Participants will be asked to review the RJEI tool and provide feedback in a 60-minute interview. Participants will receive a $50 VISA gift card as a token of appreciation. Click here to communicate your interest in participating in the study or email Kristina Hancock (AMA Program Manager) at kristina.hancock@ama-assn.org.


Monkeypox: Diagnosis, Treatment, & Prevention

On Demand | CME Available

ACCMA, in concordance with representatives from Alameda County, Division of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention (DCDCP) and Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), present this on demand program that covers the nature of monkeypox, clinical manifestations, viral transmission, signs and symptoms, vaccinations and treatment, and public health measures that are underway.

Access the webinar 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.

Monkeypox Management: A Patient-Centered Approach

Friday, September 9 | 12:00 to 1:00 pm 

Hosted by the Pacific AIDS Education & Training Center 


Join speakers from San Francisco Department of Public Health and Lifelong Medical Care for this virtual webinar addressing the local epidemiology and clinical manifestations of monkeypox, approaches to evaluating and discussing monkeypox with patients, and barriers to health-seeking behaviors using patient-centered techniques. Access the flyer and distribute it with your networks.  


Register here

Therapeutics Webinar Series for Providers 

Monday, September 12 | 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

Virtual Grand Rounds: COVID-19 Updates and Cardiac Manifestations of Long COVID 

Tuesday, September 13 | 12:00 to 1:00 pm 

Hosted by CMA | FREE 


After a massive summer surge of COVID-19, with many Americans having had COVID-19 more than once, we are still grappling to understand the epidemiology, causes and manifestations of long COVID. After an update on the current status of COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases including monkeypox (MPX) from Erica Pan, M.D., MPH, we will be hosting Donald Grandis, M.D., a UC San Francisco cardiologist who will discuss the cardiac manifestations of long COVID.   


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.

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.

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.

ACCMA's 154th Annual Meeting

Friday, November 4 | 6:00 pm

The Claremont Hotel, Berkeley

Join us back in person for the 154th ACCMA Annual Meeting this November! Enjoy a lively reception, formal dinner, and presentation featuring our 2023 ACCMA President, Edmon Soliman, MD, and a very special guest speaker. Keena Turner, Legendary #58 and 4-time super bowl champion for the SF 49ers, will join us to discuss sportsmanship, teamwork, the championship mindset, and what it took to win and sustain dominance during his eleven-year professional football career. Now, Vice President and Senior Advisor to the General Manager, Keena will highlight his "Team of the Decade", the future of today's Niners, and successful leadership tools and qualities. 

Reserve your spot 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.

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.