Weekly Roundup: In Case You Missed It
January 21, 2022
COVID-19 Updates

  • Each household can now order 4 free at-home COVID tests from the government 

  • Free N95 masks to be available at pharmacies and community health centers starting late next week, program fully up and running by early February  

  • Solano County reports that 69% of the total population is fully vaccinated, and 41.2% have received a booster as of January 19.  

  • Napa County reports that 73.8% of the total population is fully vaccinated, and 45% have received a booster as of January 20. 
U.S. Extends Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra renewed the determination that a public health emergency (PHE) exists due to COVID-19 on January 16. This PHE will remain in effect until at least April 16, meaning that telehealth and other waivers and flexibilities will remain in effect until then.
Medi-Cal Managed Care Plans Inappropriately Denying Claims for Physician Administered Drugs

The Department of Health Care Services has received reports of denial or impeded access to physician administered or infused drugs (including chemotherapeutic agents, anti-rejection medications for organ transplants, and long-acting contraceptives) since the transition to Medi-Cal Rx January 1. If your practice is experiencing problems billing for physician administered drugs under the Medi-Cal managed care program, contact CMA at (800) 786-4262 or economicservices@cmadocs.org
Board of Pharmacy Issues Guidance on Written Scripts

NSMS has received reports of pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions not transmitted electronically since the electronic prescribing mandate took effect January 1, 2022. The Board of Pharmacy (BOP) has clarified that pharmacists can fill a legally valid written, oral or faxed prescription if the only issue is that the prescription was not received electronically. Click here to learn more and find BOP’s guidance. 
AMA Guidance to the No Surprises Act 

The American Medical Association’s published a free toolkit on the No Surprises Act that focuses on three operational challenges that physicians will need to address immediately in order to be compliant with the new requirements in place since January 1: 
  • Disclosures for when care is provided by out-of-network clinicians at in-network facilities 
  • Rules pertaining to emergency services and post-stabilization care at hospitals and free-standing emergency departments 
  • Obligations to provide good faith estimates for self-pay and uninsured patients.
E-Prescribing Mandate Update

NSMS has received reports of pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions not transmitted electronically since the electronic prescribing mandate took effect January 1, 2022. The Board of Pharmacy (BOP) has clarified that pharmacists can fill a legally valid written, oral or faxed prescription if the only issue is that the prescription was not received electronically. Additional guidance can be found on the NSMS website.
Tell Your State Assemblymember to Vote No on AB 1400

NSMS is meeting with local state assemblymembers and needs your help in urging them to vote “No” on AB 1400 (Kalra) when it comes up for an Assembly vote next Friday, January 28. The bill as written lacks the policy and constitutional protections necessary to ensure an efficient, physician-led health care delivery system. Go to https://www.cmadocs.org/ab1400 to send an email to your State Assemblymember. 
WEBINARS & EVENTS
Wednesday, January 26 | 12:15 to 1:15 pm 
Free | Presented by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 
 
CMS Regional Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ashby Wolfe, will provide an overview of current CMS policy as outlined in the 2022 Physician Fee Schedule. She will focus on key updates related to telemedicine, evaluation and management services, and the agency COVID-19 response.

Register here.
Part 1: Tuesday, February 1 | 12:00 to 1:00 pm 
Part 2: Tuesday, February 15 | 12:00 to 1:00 pm 
 
This two-part webinar series hosted by Physicians for a Healthy California helps health care leaders interested in starting a GME program understand the critical components of the strategic and business planning process. Part 1 will highlight the feasibility of GME participation and part 2 will cover the fundamentals of ACGME accreditation. 
 
For more information and to register, click here
Leadership Reading and Discussion Group 
Wednesday, February 2 | 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 on the first Wednesday evening of the month. Our next group meets on February 2 to talk about “The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations,” by Robert Livingston.

Email Mae Lum, Deputy Director, at mlum@accma.org to get the Zoom/videoconference link. 
Wednesday, March 23 | SAFE Credit Union Convention Center 
Registration fee $349 | 20% Discount for CMA Members 
 
The 2022 Northern California State of Reform Health Policy Conference convenes 350 senior health care executives and health policy leaders to address the most pressing health care policy issues. For more information, access the event flyer here. This is an in-person event held in Sacramento. Secure your spot by registering here or call (425) 361-2118 if you are having trouble registering. Save 20% with promo code CMA20. 
NSMS's On-Demand Library

To access all on-demand programs, go to learning.accma.org.

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