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SlitLamp provides illuminating e-news for Colorado ophthalmologists. It keeps you in the know on the evolving Colorado health care scene by detailing the latest legislative and regulatory happenings. It also spotlights the information and resources you need for your practice.

 

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Top tags: advocacy  health plans  2014 legislative session  Avastin  practice management  AAO  Coffman  compounding  CSEPS Connect  FDA  health advisory alert  HIPAA  IPAB  legislator  MACRA  Medicaid  Medicare  member meeting  mergers  pay issues  payer issues  payment reform  PDMP  QPP  reimbursement  repackaged drugs  US Congress 

Repealing IPAB: The fight continues

Posted By Chet Seward, Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The ongoing existence of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) provision of the Affordable Care Act has hung like a Sword of Damocles over the heads of ophthalmologists and other physicians for years. CSEPS has remained part of the fierce and focused fight to repeal IPAB, which is a panel of presidential appointees with the ability to arbitrarily enact payment cuts to physicians and other providers if Medicare's growth rate exceeds a statutory threshold.

The latest advocacy push was by a group of more than 700 organizations, including CSEPS and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, opposed to IPAB. Using a co-signed letter, the group pressed members of Congress to support existing, bi-partisan legislation to repeal IPAB.

While the Medicare Board of Trustees recently released a report that per capita Medicare spending did not exceed the statutory threshold that triggers IPAB provisions this year, the threat is very real next year

CSEPS will continue the fight to repeal IPAB in order to continue to ensure access to care for patients. Watch for action alerts in the future.

Tags:  advocacy  IPAB 

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Don't be a QPP laggard

Posted By Chet Seward, Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A recent survey of practicing physicians regarding Medicare’s new Quality Payment Program (QPP) showed that “fewer than one in four physicians feel well prepared to meet its requirements in 2017.” That’s not a very rosy picture given the seismic changes that QPP will have on physician practices. 

While it is true that QPP represents the biggest change to Medicare physician payment in decades, there are things that you can and should be doing to succeed within the program. Most ophthalmologists will participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPs) and AAO has developed an incredible set of resources for your immediate use in EyeNet’s MIPS Manual 2017. Local Colorado resources and information updates, including QPP Fast Facts, can also be found at the Colorado Quality Payment Program Coalition. These changes are too big to dawdle over. Take advantage of these resources today.

Tags:  MACRA  QPP 

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Free small provider HIPAA training

Posted By Chet Seward, Wednesday, August 9, 2017
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Rocky Mountain Region, will be presenting FREE training in Grand Junction and Denver in August and September. The purpose of the presentation - titled "Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules: HIPAA for the Small Provider" - is to help small health care providers that are covered entities understand their regulatory obligations under HIPAA. OCR will cover a number of topics such as an individual's right of access, safeguarding protected health information, the business associate agreement requirement, and risk analysis/risk management.

Grand Junction
Aug. 25, 2017, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Wayne Aspinall Federal Bldg
Conference Room
400 Rood Avenue
Grand Junction, CO

Denver
Sept. 8, 2017, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Byron Rogers Federal Bldg
Aspen/Pine Room, Floor 16
1961 Stout Street
Denver, CO

Space is limited; registration is required and is first-come, first-served. Register by emailing Scott Grayson at Scott.Grayson@hhs.gov or Hyla Schreurs at Hyla.Schreurs@hhs.gov. Please indicate the location of the presentation you will attend as other programs will be held in Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana.

Tags:  HIPAA 

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What’s in it for me? What’s in it for you?

Posted By Chet Seward, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rebecca Braverman, MD, CSEPS AAO Councillor
“What’s in it for me?” was the answer I received when I asked a young physician if they were going to join their state ophthalmological society after graduation. I was shocked by the response. When I was a resident, everyone joined their state societies upon completing their training. Times have changed. Even the AMA struggles with declining membership. Personally, I am grateful for all the opportunities CSEPS has given me including support for participation in the AAO Leadership Development Program (LDP). I felt compelled to dedicate my LDP project to help CSEPS and to answer the question “what’s in it for other CSEPS members?” 

I worked closely with CSEPS leadership and Kupersmit Research to develop an online poll of Colorado ophthalmologists for use by CSEPS to improve our services and inform our strategic planning. Sixty-eight respondents completed the survey and the majority were active CSEPS members (90%). Nearly two-thirds of respondents felt CSEPS had a positive impact on the practice of medicine for ophthalmologists in Colorado. Respondents reported advocacy efforts at the state capital as the most valuable service offered by CSEPS. OMIC risk management discounts, education/communication about the changing healthcare environment and opportunities for social networking were also highly rated. Areas for improvement included interest in more social events, an increased online presence and more opportunities to participate in charitable eye care across Colorado. A summary memo detailing the results of the poll can be found here

So, “what’s in it for you?” as a CSEPS member? A lot!

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The power of one

Posted By Chet Seward, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Niranjan Manoharan, MD
Numbers were running through my head as I walked through the security screen at the Russel Senate Office Building on the way to a meeting with Senator Corey Gardner. Well actually it was a number. I was one of 150 residents and fellows sponsored this year to participate in the AAO Advocacy Day and Mid-Year Forum in Washington, DC in April. I was one of just two residents from Colorado (my colleague Lacey Echalier, MD, joined us for the trip). I was one of the 10-member delegation from Colorado tasked with representing the interests of more than 200 practicing Colorado ophthalmologists. Finally, as a newly minted member of the AAO Advocacy Ambassador Program, I was now one of a growing number of ophthalmologists standing up for their profession. 
Suddenly being “one” seemed a bit nerve wracking.  

It was an eye-opening experience to realize that improving patient care goes beyond the clinic and operating room. But after I got started the nerves quickly went away and the fun began (check out the photos here). Colorado's advocacy representatives met with the offices of Sens. Corey Gardner and Michael Bennett, and Reps. Diana Degette and Jared Polis. We continually honed our talking points and by the last meeting I felt like I was part of well-trained team. The truth is that I was proud to do my singular part in a larger strategy. 

State societies and the AAO are fighting for multiple legislative issues to protect and/or improve patient care (i.e. access to compounded drugs, eye-related research funding, health care reform, etc.). Historically, ophthalmologists have lost some of these battles because legislators just had not heard the important and relevant perspective from the ophthalmologist and patient. That’s why every single visit, connection and relationship with federal and state legislators is important. 

One is a powerful number. Every ophthalmologist can play a role because we need increased advocacy and participation. The Advocacy Ambassador program enables young ophthalmologists to be aware of pressing issues and become involved early in their careers. I encourage all ophthalmologists to learn more about the advocacy process and current issues affecting ophthalmology via the AAO website or even participating in next year's AAO Advocacy Day and Mid-Year Forum.

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Rep. Diana DeGette honored for efforts to preserve access to quality medical eye care

Posted By Chet Seward, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recently honored Colorado Congresswoman Diana DeGette for her important efforts to advocate for enhancing and preserving access to quality eye care in the United States. Rep. DeGette is one of nine 2017 recipients of the Visionary Award for important efforts to advocate for enhancing and preserving access to quality eye care in the United States.

CSEPS leaders were on hand during the award presentation that occurred during the AAO Mid-year Forum. 


From left, CSEPS President Alan Kimura, MD, MPH, and CSEPS President-elect Leo Seibold, MD, share a laugh with Congresswoman DeGette during the Visionary Award ceremony.

Rep. DeGette was instrumental in a bicameral effort to prevent the implementation of a proposal that would have inadvertently jeopardized patients’ access to eye care treatment. Her leadership helped compel the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to reconsider adopting a flawed Medicare Part B drug demonstration as a way to curb rising health care costs. Like AAO, CSEPS is grateful for her leadership.

 

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Having trouble receiving Medicaid payments?

Posted By Chet Seward, Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Health First Colorado (Medicaid) has been live with their new claims processing system a few months now. While many practices are receiving payments, some are still experiencing problems with this vendor change. Health First has published a new known issues webpage so providers can check on the status of some of the widest spread known issues. You can also sign up for a weekly newsletter with information about interchange system updates, claims processing and other pertinent information.

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Get the business insights you need: Benchmark your practice with AAO

Posted By Chet Seward, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Academy’s annual benchmarking tool provides valuable analytics that have helped ophthalmology practices increase revenue per encounter, justify new staff hires and much more. But to provide the same insights to practices like yours, we need more practices to participate. Participation is free, but you must gather and submit detailed practice information by June 15.

How to Benchmark Your Practice
Don’t miss your chance to gain these valuable insights on how your practice compares to others.

Questions?
C
ontact the AcadeMetrics support staff (academetrics@aao.org) or visit aao.org/academetricsfor more information.

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AAO 2017: Get ready

Posted By Chet Seward, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Plan on joining your CSEPS colleagues at AAO 2017 in New Orleans. There will be new inspirations and new solutions. This is a must attend event so be sure to get signed up as soon as registration opens on June 28, 2017. Learn more here.

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Will taxes become more popular in Colorado?

Posted By Chris Howes, Wednesday, May 24, 2017
The Colorado General Assembly found a compromise on a number of topics during the 2017 session. The most notable being the Rubik’s Cube of transportation and hospital funding, known as the “Hospital Provider Fee.” At the beginning of the session, Republicans swore up and down they would stand for lower taxes and refuse moving this fee into an enterprise fund. By May 10, three Republican senators had changed their tunes and voted to fund rural hospitals in their districts with the Democrats’ plan. Will this every spill over into support for even more taxes in the future? Doubtful, but a scathing opinion piece from the executive director of the anti-tax Independence Institute makes for interesting reading on the topic.

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