Weekly Roundup: In Case You Missed It

May 12, 2023

Take Action for Prior Authorization Reform


Please contact your Members of Congress today and encourage them to sign a “Dear Colleague” letter, urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to promptly finalize its proposed prior authorization rules and hold big insurance companies accountable for the undue burden their policies put on physicians and patients. The deadline to sign is May 19, 2023.

DEA Extends Telehealth Flexibilities for Controlled Substances


The ability to prescribe controlled substances based on telehealth patient visits was set to expire when the COVID-19 PHE ended on 5/11. The DEA has decided to extend the same policies that have been in place during COVID for an additional 6 months, until November 11, 2023. 

COVID No Longer a Global Emergency


The World Health Organization declared the end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency, reporting that the situation has markedly improved with less mortality and increased immunity against the virus. In similar news, the CDC announced that it plans to scale back the data the agency will report about COVID-19; one of the biggest changes being that the CDC will no longer regularly track and release the new number of infections.

Addressing Substance Use in Primary Care Settings


Access a toolkit from UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine’s Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, including quick tips for clinical providers and videos to address patient stimulant and fentanyl use in primary care.

Grant Opportunity: Attend a Virtual Town Hall to Learn More



California Health and Human Services has allocated up to $47 million for the Data Sharing Agreement Signatory Grant Program, which will provide direct support to health care entities as they implement the Data Exchange Framework (DxF). There will be two grant options—onboarding grants and technical assistance grants. Join a two-hour town hall on May 16, 2023, at 10 am to provide an overview on the grant program, including details on program requirements, the application process and how to use the grant portal. 

New FDA Approvals



  • Yesterday, the FDA approved Rexulti (brexpiprazole) oral tablets for the treatment of agitation associated with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. This is the first FDA-approved treatment option for this indication. 
  • Also approved yesterday was Veozah (fezolinetant), an oral medication for the treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms, or hot flashes, caused by menopause. Veozah is the first neurokinin 3 (NK3) receptor antagonist approved by the FDA to treat moderate to severe hot flashes from menopause. 
  • On May 3, the RSV vaccine was approved for use in the U.S. Arexvy is approved for the prevention of lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV in individuals 60 years of age and older. 

CMS to Rollout PECOS 2.0 this Summer


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it will roll out an update to the Provider Enrollment Chain and Ownership System (PECOS) in the summer of 2023.  PECOS is Medicare’s online system allowing users to securely submit and manage Medicare enrollment information. Some of the updated features for PECOS 2.0 include: one application can create multiple enrollments, streamlined data entry, tailored application process, ability to manage group members more efficiently, revalidation reminders, rapid application reviews, and real-time status tracking. 

MIPS Hardship Exception App Open


Physicians may now apply for an Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances hardship exception to avoid an up to 9% penalty in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). The penalty would apply in 2025 based on the 2023 performance period. The exception will not be automatic, and interested physicians and groups must actively request reweighting of one or more MIPS performance categories due to the COVID-19 PHE. Requesting reweighting of all four MIPS performance categories will avoid a MIPS penalty in 2025. Applications can be submitted through Jan. 2, 2024. 

Join a CMA Council or Committee


CMA is seeking recommendations for physicians who are interested in and willing to serve on its standing Councils and Subcommittees for 2023-2024. All current appointments expire at the conclusion of the CMA House of Delegates (HOD) in October 2023. New appointments will begin their terms at that time, with the new terms expiring at the conclusion of the 2024 HOD. Councils and committees meet as needed, with up to four meetings per year. Please note that current members who are eligible for reappointment must submit an application for the 2023-2024 term. Even if you previously submitted an application and there are no changes, you must complete the online form

CalMedForce Application Opens This Summer



The next CalMedForce application cycle will open on August 1, 2023. CalMedForce, in partnership with the University of California, administers annual grants to fund new residency positions at graduate medical education (GME) programs throughout California. GME programs in California are encouraged to apply. Click here for eligibility information.

WEBINARS & EVENTS

Protecting Patients from Inappropriate Scope of Practice Expansions 

Wednesday, May 17 | 9:00 to 10:00 am 

Hosted by the American Medical Association 

 

Patients deserve care led by physicians—the most highly educated, trained and skilled health care professionals. Through research, advocacy and education, the AMA vigorously defends the practice of medicine against scope of practice expansions that threaten patient safety.  

Join us for a webinar to hear more about the importance of these issues to organized medicine from the AMA, the Medical Association of Georgia and Washington State Medical Association. We’ll discuss the unique challenges states encounter when facing multiple scope bills, how to overcome these issues and ways physician advocates can get involved. 

 

Register here

The 2023 NSMS Awards Gala & Casino Night

Friday, May 19 | 6:00 to 9:00 pm

Eagle Vines Golf Club, American Canyon


Join over a hundred physicians, health care leaders and special guests for an evening of entertainment as we celebrate the following individuals:

  • Haroon Mojaddidi, M.D. - Physician of the Year (Solano)
  • Colleen Townsend, M.D. - Physician of the Year (Napa)
  • Karen Relucio, M.D. - Professor Emeritus
  • Eugene Eisenberg, M.D. - Lifetime Achievement



Stay after the awards ceremony to try your hand at blackjack, poker, craps and more. Gamble with complimentary chips, then turn them into raffle tickets for a shot at great prizes. Past raffle prizes have included hot air balloon rides, SF Giants and Golden State Warriors memorabilia, wine train dinners, golf rounds, and more. This event is free for NSMS members +1 guest.


Register here.

Health IT: Powering Value-Based Care 

Monday, May 22 | 9:00 am to 4:00 pm 

Sacramento, CA | Free for CMA members 

 

Save the date for CMA’s first annual healt IT conference. The conference will bring together thought leaders from across California and the nation to explore the intersection of technology and payment reform. CMA expects a diverse set of attendees that will include physicians, medical groups and IPAs, health plans, health information organizations (HIOs) and others who will take the learnings from this conference to change how care is delivered in this state. 

 

Register here

Virtual Narcan Training 

Saturday, May 27 | 1:00 pm

Hosted by Drug Safe Solano

 

Learn about opioids, the epidemic as it relates to Solano County, and how to identify overdose and save a life. Participants will receive a certificate of completion and free Narcan. Share this opportunity with your colleagues and the community. 

 

Register here.

Suffer in Silence No More 

Wednesday, May 31 | 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Hosted by Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services

 

Speakers Dr. Russel Jeung, PhD and Dr. Seeba Anam, MD will facilitate this webinar to help participants understand sources of anti-Asian racism and reflect on its impact on the community, identify barriers to mental health treatment in Asian American communities, and discuss strategies for culturally informed approaches to address and advocate for mental health. The session also offers practical clinical interventions for working with the AAPI community on racial trauma and stress. 

 

More information and registration link 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.