By Jonathan Nelson
Want some extra cash and a chance to help refine and validate a Medicare quality measure? Check out this email we recently received from Shari Glickman, a program analyst with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
By TMF Health Quality Institute
Eligible clinicians participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System who plan to report MIPS quality measures using claims should be aware that some claims codes have changed for the 2018 performance period. Following are answers to common questions about the claims-based reporting.
Question: We noticed some of the 2018 Quality Data Codes for claims submissions have changed. If my practice submits claims using the previous codes, will they count toward our MIPS quality measure submission for the 2018 period?more
By Perdita Henry
Leaders aren’t born, they are made. Good leaders know how to listen, they know how to communicate, they practice what they preach, and they know how to encourage their team members to utilize their unique talents. They also know how sharing their values through storytelling can inspire others to join their mission. The American Academy of Family Physicians, Family Medicine for America’s Health, and Primary Care Progress recognize the importance of leadership training, which is why they joined forces to create the Primary Care Leadership Collaborative.
“Building on the unique strengths of each of the partner organizations, this yearlong learning collaborative will provide structured teaching, coaching and support to enable teams of Family Medicine Interest Group participants to have significant impact on the state of primary care delivery and education at their local institutions and in their communities,” the PCLC stated in a frequently asked questions document distributed to participants.more
By TMF Health Quality Institute
Clinicians participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) path of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) must report their 2017 data to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) between Jan. 2 and March 31, 2018. (The data submission window for clinicians using the CMS Web Interface is Jan. 22 to March 16.) Following are answers to common questions about the reporting process.
Question: How many MIPS measures and activities do I need to report for the 2017 performance year?more
Answer: For the 2017 transition year, clinicians may report using the test, partial-year or full-year option. Those who go beyond the test option can earn a positive payment adjustment. Minimum reporting requirements for each are:
Each year, AAFP holds the National Conference of Constituency Leaders and Annual Chapter Leader Forum together in Kansas City, Missouri. NCCL representatives and ACLF attendees from across the nation gather to discuss various issues, suggest policies and programs to AAFP, and receive leadership training. In 2018, the conferences will be held April 26-28 and TAFP is looking for members to serve on the delegation or apply for scholarships to attend.
TAFP opportunities for NCCL
Spots are available for five TAFP members to represent each of the five constituencies: new physicians (physicians who have been out of residency for seven years or fewer), women, minorities, international medical graduates, and LGBT. TAFP reimburses up to $1,200 for expenses for each delegate. In addition, TAFP offers two other opportunities to attend NCCL with funding. These scholarships will be awarded to one third-year resident and one minority physician.
If you are interested in being considered for one of the delegate slots, please send a current curriculum vitae and/or a statement of intent to Jonathan Nelson at email@example.com by Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. Be sure to let him know which constituency or constituencies you would like to potentially represent.more
By Perdita Henry
In 1988, Jeff Cain, MD, and Glenna Pember, of the Hall of Life and Doctors Ought to Care, had an idea about keeping kids away from tobacco products. They would go on to create Tar Wars, an educational program for fourth- and fifth-grade students. In the 30 years since the first class, Tar Wars has reached more than 10 million children across the globe. The program was eventually bought by AAFP and it became an opportunity for local family physicians, residents, and students to visit classrooms and discuss the health risks associated with smoking, the financial costs of the habit, and the sneaky ways advertisers market their product to young people. In the last few years, the program hasn’t seemed to bring the passion and excitement that it once did. The TAFP Commission on Public Health, Clinical Affairs, and Research wants to see that change.
At a number of commission meetings, members have reminisced about visiting children in their community and teaching them the importance of remaining tobacco free. Visiting schools with the Tar Wars message, by all accounts, seemed to bring joy to students and participating physicians alike. “I loved those mornings at school,” says John Carroll, MD. “I had five classrooms to visit and I spent 35 to 40 minutes with each. We flew through the discovery of being targeted by the second largest public advertising campaign.” After spending time with their local physician, the kids had the opportunity to create their own posters featuring their personal brand of tobacco-free messaging. Those posters were then submitted to state chapters and one would be chosen as the state winner. The Texas winner would receive the prize of hotel and airfare to present at the Tar Wars National Poster competition.more
By Student Dr. Kendra
Step 1, the rite of passage for every medical student. It seems like torture to get to and go through, but it’s the one thing that can affect the trajectory of your whole career in medicine. It’s a daunting task but it seems like everyone — for the most part — has gotten through it pretty well. The journey to it and through it can be ugly, but hopefully, I can offer you some preparation tips that will successfully get you where you want to be. It can seem overwhelming, but focusing on your schedule and the resources available to you can help get past. I will outline my schedule, the resources I choose, and the review techniques that worked best for me.
A few things to note first:more
By Jim Rickards, MD, MBA
Back in 2011, the state of Oregon was facing a massive budget deficit, primarily driven by rising Medicaid costs. Medicaid is government-supported health insurance for economically disadvantaged individuals earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. About 25 percent of Oregon’s population, nearly 1 million individuals, are currently enrolled in Medicaid. This is a similar percentage to what is seen nationally. Not only did the deficit substantially impact the state’s overall budget for health care funding, but the potential impact on the lives of many Oregonians also weighed heavy on the medical community.
Typically, when states try to manage deficits related to Medicaid, they employ a combination of three strategies. For one, they will decrease reimbursement rates to hospitals and providers. This does not work very well because, ultimately, clinics will need to limit the number of Medicaid members they see since they are not financially viable, in turn creating access issues for patients. Second, the number and types of covered services can be restricted by the state. In Oregon, we had already employed the Prioritized List of Health Services for more than 20 years, which served as an evidence-based approach to prioritizing and limiting the availability of health care services. Limiting what was already on the list would not have been possible without denying many essential services. Finally, a state can decrease the number of individuals enrolled in Medicaid. This was not an option either, as Oregon was going to be an expansion state under the Affordable Care Act and would see its Medicaid population grow from 600,000 to a little over 1 million members within just a short time.more
By Travis Bias, DO, MPH, DTM&H
In his commencement address at Kenyon College in 2005, the late author David Foster Wallace told the story of two young fish swimming along. They pass an older fish swimming the other way who greets them: “Morning boys. How’s the water?” As they swim on, one of the younger fish responds to the other: “What the hell is water?”
Feeling and appreciating your body of water takes experience, maturity, and occasionally someone else making you aware of your daily surroundings. It was not until a few years into my career as a family medicine physician that I realized the furious pace at which American physicians learn to swim, insulated in a system that operates in stark contrast to that of other countries around the world.more
Janet Realini, MD, MPH
As is often the case in Texas politics, there was little agreement during the 85th Legislative Session on which steps are necessary to address the state’s many health care challenges. One area that did see agreement, though, was the recognition that far too many mothers in Texas get sick or die during pregnancy or within a year of a pregnancy ending. Unlike the decline of mortality rates internationally, U.S. maternal mortality rates have been increasing, and Texas’ maternal death rate infamously doubled between 2010 and 2012.
Thankfully, the Legislature moved during special session to extend the state’s Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, which plays an important role in identifying and addressing the core issues contributing to maternal death and severe illness.more