Weekly Roundup: In Case You Missed It

September 16, 2022

Gov. Newsom Signs Climate Change Legislation in Vallejo

California Gov. Gavin Newsom stopped by Mare Island on Friday to sign a sweeping package of climate change legislation that has helped the state take "the most aggressive action on climate our nation has ever seen," Newsom said. The signing ceremony included bills on carbon neutrality, protecting communities against oil drilling, establishing a pathway toward clean energy, removing carbon pollution, and more.

NSMS and CMA were represented by several members at the event, including NSMS Board Member Dr. Bonnie Hamilton (see accompanying photo). To view the governor's press release, click here.

Physician Suicide Awareness and Prevention Resources

Today is National Physician Suicide Awareness Day (#NPSADay), a reminder and a call to action to make time to talk – and to act – so physicians’ struggles don’t become mental health emergencies. Tragically, physicians have one of the highest suicide rates of any profession, and the past two and a half years of the COVID-19 pandemic have taken a further toll on physicians’ mental health. Although help is available, many physicians are not aware. Click here for more information and available resources from NSMS. 

Prior Authorization Reform Bill Moves to Senate

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act (HR 3173) which provides comprehensive reform of the Medicare Advantage prior authorization process by streamlining the health plan bureaucracy to help Medicare patients get the care they need, when they need it. The bill now moves to the Senate. ACCMA strongly supports this bill which would reduce administrative burdens and improve access to care. Make your voice heard now

Retention Bonuses Coming Soon, FAQ from DHCS

In an effort to stabilize and retain California’s health care workforce and recognize the sacrifices health care workers (HCW) have made over the course of the pandemic, Governor Newsom signed into legislation a bill which authorizes HCW retention bonuses. Physicians who provide patient care in hospitals or work as a member of the patient care team during the qualifying work period (July 30-October 28, 2022) will be eligible for a $1,000 bonus. The application submission period will be open for about one month, likely November 29 to December 30. For more information, see the DHCS FAQ which will be updated regularly. 

Reinstated Yesterday: PAs for 11 Drug Classes

As a reminder, Medi-Cal reinstated prior authorizations (PAs) for new start medications in 11 drug classes effective Friday, September 16. These include: diuretics; lipotropics; hypoglycemics; coronary vasodilators; cardiovascular agents; anticoagulants and antiplatelets; and niacin, vitamin B and vitamin C products. Please see the DHCS PA Reinstatement Reference Guide for more information. 

Bill Introduced in Congress to Stabilize Medicare for Physicians and Patients

HR 8800 (Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2022) was introduced in Congress by physician Congressmen Ami Bera, M.D., (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN). This bill would stop 4.42% of the cuts related to budget neutrality adjustments in the Medicare Fee Schedule. It includes an essential commitment to long-term Medicare payment reform to help physicians move to value-based care models to safeguard timely access to care and improve health equity. California patients are facing serious access to care challenges and California is projected to have one of the largest physician shortages in the nation over the next decade due to today’s Medicare payments. Congress must reverse these trends to help patients get the care they need. Take action now.

CMA Publishes Guide for Patients Impacted by Wildfires


Under a law enacted in 2018, health plans and insurers are required to act quickly to ensure patients in areas affected by wildfires and other disasters have continued access to care. Plans and insurers operating in counties affected by an official state of emergency must within 48 hours of the emergency declaration notify DHC about the actions the plan has taken or is in the process of taking to ensure that the health care needs of its enrollees are met. CMA has published a guide to help patients navigate these services. This guide includes phone numbers to call if patients are experiencing difficulty refilling prescriptions, replacing medical supplies or obtaining access to care, as well as links with more information about other services each payor is offering. 

AMA webinar: A time-limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Waiver 

On Oct. 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced a temporary change to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program rules as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. For a limited time, borrowers may receive credit for past periods of repayment that otherwise would not qualify for PSLF. This one-time waiver will allow individuals to rectify federally held student loans and qualify for PSLF if they are working for a qualifying employer and apply before Oct. 31, 2022. AMA and the ED are hosting an AMA Advocacy Insights webinar on September 20 at 3 pm to discuss the PSLF Program and answer your questions about the limited-time waiver. Registrants who are unable to attend the live session will receive a link to view the recording. Register now.

California Launches Abortion.ca.gov

As part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s pledge to make California a sanctuary for people seeking abortions, a publicly funded website was launched on Tuesday to promote the state’s abortion services, listing clinics, linking to financial help for travel and lodging and letting teenagers in other states know they don’t need their parents’ permission to get an abortion in the state. Abortion.ca.gov also includes a map showing the 166 abortion clinics statewide. 

2023 CPT Code Set Released

The AMA has released the 2023 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code set. Modifications to the E/M codes for inpatient and observation care services, consultations, emergency department services, nursing facility services, home and residence services, and prolonged services are among 393 editorial changes in the 2023 CPT code set, which includes 225 new codes, 75 deletions and 93 revisions. 

Submit your Provider Relief Fund Period 3 Report before Sept. 30

As a condition of accepting Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments exceeding $10,000, physicians must complete reporting to HRSA. For physicians who received more than $10,000 in the aggregate from January 1, 2021, to June 30, 2021 (Reporting Period 3) the PRF Reporting Portal is now open and will close after Sept. 30, at 8:59 p.m. 

AMA 2022 Overdose Epidemic Report Shows Worsening Epidemic

The AMA last week issued its 2022 Overdose Epidemic National Report, which showed a worsening epidemic and called for an all-hands approach—physicians, policymakers, public health experts, educators, faith leaders and employers—to help save lives. The report highlighted that while physicians and other health care professionals have decreased opioid prescribing by nearly 50% nationally since 2012, used state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) more than 1.1 billion times in 2021, and have increased prescriptions for medications to treat opioid use disorder and naloxone—more than 107,000 Americans died of a drug-related overdose in 2021, mainly due to illicitly manufactured fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine. 

Emergency Dept. Funding: Behavioral Health Navigator Program

CA Bridge is administering the CalBridge Behavioral Health Navigator Program to support EDs to become primary access points for the treatment of substance use disorders (SUD) and co-occurring mental health conditions. The program supports EDs to hire/maintain an ED-based navigator, link patients to SUD treatment, educator providers about medication-assisted treatment, and navigate patients with co-occurring mental health conditions to outpatients treatment. Submit an application by September 30. In Napa and Solano counties, the following hospitals have been awarded funds as of July 15: Providence Queen of the Valley Medical Center and Sutter Solano Medical Center. 

Public Comment Open for AMA Guides – Nervous System Chapter

A proposal to update the nervous system chapter of the AMA Guides® is being considered by the AMA Guides Editorial Panel for adoption, with an effective date of January 1, 2023. Proposals build upon the update to the sixth edition issued in 2022. Interested parties and organizations who utilize the AMA Guides are invited to participate in the process to comment on the proposed changes to the medicine and impairment ratings. The deadline to request a copy of the proposal is September 29 and the public comment period is open now until October 3. Click here for more information on how to participate and to begin the request process. 


Work RVUs: Calculation and Compensation

On Demand | Free for members

Hosted by NSMS

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. This webinar is offered in three on demand sessions and presented by Debra Phairas, President & Liability Consultants, LLC. 

Access this on demand webinar.

Private Practice Solutions: Recruitment 

Thursday, September 22 | 8:00 to 9:00 am 

Hosted by AMA


The AMA has launched a new learning collaborative opportunity for private practice physicians designed to help quickly implement actionable changes within their practice. 

In this free four-week mini-session, the Private Practice Simple Solutions series will focus on a single topic: recruiting physicians into your private practice. This course will help attendees identify the top reasons to join their practice, explore creative ways to connect with potential interviewees, recognize private practice recruitment qualifications, and counter recruitment competition. 


Register here

Demonstrating the Value of Virtual Care 

Friday, September 23 | 8:00 to 10:00 am 

Hosted by AMA 


Leveraging the AMA's Return on Health Framework, practices across the nation are measuring the value of virtual care in their organizations. In this session, a variety of practices will have the opportunity to take the mic and share real-world examples of how virtual care has impacted one or more of the following value streams: (1) clinical outcomes, quality, safety, (2) access to care, (3) patient, family, and caregiver experience, (4) clinician experience, (5) financial and operational impact, and (6) health equity.  


Register here

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.

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 [email protected] if interested in attending.

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 



Please contact NSMS at [email protected] or (707) 255-3622with any questions or concerns you have.