december 5, 2017
Congress Must Hear From You IMMEDIATELY on Taxes
Several provisions considered in the federal tax cut debate would significantly harm California family physicians and their patients. Please call your House Representative IMMEDIATELY and say you will oppose his or her re-election unless he or she votes to remove these provisions:
- The elimination of the individual mandate, which would raise the uninsured rate by 13 million people, increase premiums for those who have insurance and reduce access to care.
- The automatic 4 percent reduction in Medicare payments to physicians beginning in 2018 (through sequestration) and slashing of other Medicare funding to pay for the tax cuts.
- The repeal of the State and Local Tax deduction (SALT), which hurts California more than most other states. SALT provides critical funds for local infrastructure, schools and health care.
- The repeal of the Student Loan Interest Deduction that family medicine residents and students rely on to help finance their education.
- Tax increases on millions of middle and lower income families.
Don’t Forget to Complete the CAFP Member Demographic Survey
Have you completed our survey yet? It will take less than three minutes of your time, but the information you provide will help us better serve you. The survey will remain open through December. You will need your AAFP ID number to complete the survey; contact us if you need assistance.
Member of the Month Christine Navarro Deleon, MD
Congratulations to our December Member of the Month, Christine Navarro Deleon, MD! Dr. Navarro Deleon is a graduate of David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and completed her residency at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles, where she practices currently and serves as a core member of the residency program. A member of CAFP and the Los Angeles Chapter for more than a decade, Dr. Navarro derives her greatest membership value from “the sense of community and learning with my peers. There is an honest pursuit of knowledge and advocacy for the health of our patients and communities. We are able to stay true to the rigor of science and the human need for balance and a sense of purpose in our chosen profession.”
Remember to Report Your Quality Measures for MACRA 2017!
This is the first year that physicians must report on quality measures under the new Quality Payment Program (QPP) from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to avoid a 4 percent payment penalty in 2019. During this 2017 transition year, CMS will allow physicians to ensure they will not incur the 4 percent payment penalty if they select one of three “pick your pace” participation options. While the deadline to report 90 days of data (or partial participation) has passed, physicians may still participate in the “testing the program” option, which requires physicians to report on only one measure for one patient. For more information on QPP, CAFP also has developed a QPP playbook webpage to help you understand MACRA, be aware of the available tools and resources and to review personal accounts from CAFP members in small and rural practices.
On This Day in History: December 5
1848: President James Polk confirms the discovery of gold in California in an address to Congress. It is estimated that approximately 90,000 people will arrive in California in 1849 to get in on the gold rush.
1955: The Montgomery Bus Boycott begins, days after Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus. The boycott continues for a year, after which the U.S. Supreme Court rules that laws requiring segregated buses are unconstitutional.
2017: Dozens of CAFP members go online to renew membership for 2018, which enables the Academy to continue advocating and developing resources for family medicine physicians, patients and the specialty. Thank you!
CAFP's Quality Payment Program Physician Profile
As family physicians continue to prepare for the required measurement and reporting to Medicare, CAFP wants to ensure small, solo or rural practice physicians have the support necessary to make the transition successfully and avoid any future negative payment adjustments. To this end, CAFP introduced our Quality Payment Program Physician Profile series to give physicians a glimpse into their peers’ stories and a first person perspective on some of the inevitable challenges they may face. Our last profile was on a family physician from Eureka who, amidst rapid changes in the health care landscape, made the decision to give up his small practice to work for his local hospital. This week, CAFP is excited to introduce our third profile on a direct primary care family physician, Patrick R. Yassini, MD from Coronado. While his practice does not accept traditional insurance, it does accept Medicare. Medicare patients, in fact, comprise about 70 percent of his panel. His story will tell you of his major concerns and thoughts on technical assistance moving forward. If you would like to contribute your own story, please contact Sonia Kantak at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 345-8667 to set up an interview.
Register for the 2018 Coding Teleconference Today!
Ensure you and your staff know every intricacy of the new, edited and deleted Current Procedures Terminology (CPT) codes for 2018 so you are paid fully and fairly for the care you provide. “Strategies for Coding and Reimbursement: 2017 CPT Updates,” CAFP’s popular teleconference with coding and practice management expert Mary Jean Sage, will be held Wednesday, January 24, 2018 from 12:15 to 1:45 pm. The goals of this event are to:
We also will make available a copy of our coding supplement with new content for 2018. Registration is $49 for CAFP members and $79 for non-members. Additionally, all participants will receive 1.5 hours of Prescribed credit. Sign up online today or contact Sonia Kantak at email@example.com or 415-345-8667 for more information.
FP-PAC Donor of the Month and iPad Raffle
The Family Physicians Political Action Committee (FP-PAC) is only $1,819 away from breaking its all-time yearly fundraising record, and FP-PAC President Carla Kakutani, MD has announced a big incentive to help us hit the mark before the end of 2017. Anyone who contributes to FP-PAC at the Gold Level ($250) or above before the end of the year will be entered in a raffle to win a special edition FP-PAC iPad or Apple Watch! Support FP-PAC today and you could be the next winner!
Speaking of winners, FP-PAC makes it a priority to acknowledge and thank individuals who go above and beyond to advocate for family medicine. Each FP-PAC Donor of the Month has shown continued support for our efforts by making contributions and participating at local FP-PAC events. Find out more about how December’s outstanding FP-PAC Donor of the Month, Natasha Fine, MD, has contributed to our efforts and why she believes FP-PAC is so vital to family medicine.
CAFP-Supported Medi-Cal Pay Increases Begin
CAFP was a dedicated supporter of Proposition 56 (2016) which increased taxes on tobacco products and directed the revenue to improving access to care through augmented Medi-Cal provider payment. While the Governor sought to redirect all of Prop 56 revenue to other purposes, CAFP worked with a coalition of stakeholders and the Governor in intense negotiations to reach a compromise on how Prop 56 funds would be spent. The final agreement ensured that the vast majority of funds will be used to increase the program’s dismal payment rates in the following ways (each of these amounts are to be matched by the federal government):
- $325 million for physician provider payments
- $140 million for dental provider payments
- $50 million for family planning providers
- $27 million for care for the developmentally challenged
- $4 million for HIV/AIDS care
The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) recently received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for payments for dental providers, intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled, Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment (PACT) providers (including two abortion CPT billing codes: 59840 and 59841), and approval for an amendment to the HIV/AIDS waiver, which includes increased payment rates for attendant care, enhanced case management, non-emergency medical transportation, nutritional counseling, psychotherapy and skilled nursing services. DHCS continues to work with CMS to obtain approval of supplemental payment increases for physician services rendered from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, including new and established patient office/outpatient visits, psychiatric diagnostic evaluations, psychiatric diagnostic evaluation with medical services and psychiatric pharmacological management services.
Restoration of Adult Dental Services
In addition to the payment increases, DHCS submitted a State Plan Amendment seeking federal approval for restoring adult optional dental benefits, which will include all services previously eliminated in 2009 and not restored in 2014. Effective January 1, 2018, optional adult dental benefits for beneficiaries ages 21 and older with full-scope dental coverage will be restored, including laboratory-processed crowns, posterior root canal therapy and periodontal services and partial dentures (including denture adjustments, repairs and relines).
HOV4T Resource Library Update
The Highlight on VACCINATIONS 4 TEENS (HOV4T) Resource Library was developed to help you and your care team educate teen patients and their families about the importance of receiving Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended vaccinations. The materials were updated recently to reflect new national teen vaccination statistics. Access the Resource Library – which includes appointment reminders, videos, posters and more – at www.aafpfoundation.org/vaccinations4teens.