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December 2015
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A Word from the President


Happy December, and welcome to the last issue of NAMSS Gateway for 2015. At the end of this month, my term as President of the Board of Directors will end, and so I would like to take a moment and express my sincere appreciation to all those who have made this past year such a success. Your constant support and commitment to NAMSS has helped the association continue in its mission of educating and empowering Medical Service Professionals as they begin and continue their professional journey, as well as bringing recognition and value to the medical services and credentialing field.

I would be remiss if I did not recognize the many talented board and committee volunteers who have served alongside me, and acknowledge their tremendous contributions to the growth and strategic development of the association. More so, I would also like to recognize you, our association members, whom without, NAMSS would be nonexistent.

Again, it has been a true privilege to serve you as President, and I look forward to the many successes that 2016 has in store. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!

Linda Waldorf, BS, CPMSM, CPCS
NAMSS President
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Headlines


News From NAMSS
2016 NAMSS Education Summit
Renewal Reminder
Forgot to recertify? It’s not too late!
Social Corner
Monthly Discount

Industry News
"1 Doctor Leads Challenge to How Physicians Are Evaluated"
"Why Burnout Hits Emergency Docs, Hospitalists So Hard"
"Exchange Considering Ways to Improve Doctor Directories"
"Tennessee Doctors Want Malpractice Payout Limits in Constitution"
"Medical Credentials Questioned at VA Hospitals"
"Hospitalists Are Changing Care Both in And Outside the Hospital"
"Five Charged in Alleged Spinal Surgery Kickback Scheme"
"Doctors Debate Safety of Their White Coats"
"Doctors Who Spend More on Patients Face Lower Malpractice Claim Risk"


News From NAMSS


2016 NAMSS Education Summit

Steer clear of the cold this winter and head to Orlando, Florida for the NAMSS Education Summit, taking place March 11–12, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. Spend your days engaged in our interactive workshops and preparing for certification, while spending your evenings out and about in Orlando’s International Drive resort area, offering world-class attractions, non-stop entertainment, fine dining, and high-end shopping.

Choose from three two-day workshops, each designed to prepare you for certification and your role as a medical services professional (MSP), including Credentialing Specialist (CPCS) Certification Preparation Course, Medical Services Management (CPMSM) Certification Preparation Course, and Credentialing 101.

Register before the early bird deadline of January 29, 2016 and save $50 on registration

Visit the NAMSS website for more information about the NAMSS Education Summit including registration, course descriptions, and hotel and travel information.
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Renewal Reminder

Have you renewed your dues for 2016 yet? All NAMSS member dues expire on December 31, 2015. Renew your membership by January 31, 2015 and receive a gift from NAMSS – a coupon to use for a complimentary session recording from the 2015 Annual Conference, worth 1.5 CE credits! Coupons will be emailed to you within two weeks of your renewal.

Log in to your account and then click on “My Profile” under the Membership tab to view, print, or pay your renewal invoice (you will see it listed on the right hand side).
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Forgot to recertify? It’s not too late!

Those due for recertification in 2015 can still submit an application with an additional $50 late fee. All applications must be received by December 31, 2015. A list of those due for recertification in 2015 can be found here.
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Social Corner

Make Lasting Connections on LinkedIn

Have you created a LinkedIn profile? LinkedIn is a great resource for staying connected with your co-workers and professional contacts. Use this social channel to find the contacts you made at the NAMSS Educational Conference and Exhibition! You can also connect with NAMSS on LinkedIn through the NAMSS company page and group page.


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Monthly Discount

This holiday season, NAMSS is offering huge discounts on all NAMSS Online Education.* Log in to www.namss.org, fill your shopping cart with valuable education and CE credits, and take 35% off of your order by using the following code during checkout: HOLIDAY15

Recorded Webinars, Conference Recordings packages, Synergy Quizzes, and online Certification Preparation resources are included. Take advantage of all NAMSS has to offer and earn valuable CE credit, all at a discount. This offer is good until December 31, 2015.

*This sale does not include the 2012 Conference Quizzes
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Industry News


1 Doctor Leads Challenge to How Physicians Are Evaluated
San Diego Union Tribune (11/15/15) Sisson, Paul

In less than two years, Dr. Paul Teirstein of San Diego has led a coalition in convincing the powerful American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) to apologize for, and ultimately suspend, unpopular certification rules that would have affected more than 200,000 physicians nationwide. Not content with that success, he and a group of other doctors affiliated with organizations such as Harvard University and the Mayo Clinic have launched their own competing nonprofit to issue board certifications. To date, the San Diego-based National Board of Physicians and Surgeons (NBPS) has issued board certifications to over 2,700 practitioners. Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said while the fledgling organization remains tiny compared to the ABIM, it has the potential to make real change. He comments, "I'm glad that they are there, and by offering credible competition to ABIM, the NBPS can make everyone better. It will force ABIM to more clearly articulate its value to physicians." Only 18 hospitals currently accept the new board's certifications for the purposes of granting privileges to do surgeries and other treatments, but that number is rising.
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Why Burnout Hits Emergency Docs, Hospitalists So Hard
Fierce Healthcare (11/30/2015) Budryk, Zack

Burnout among healthcare workers continues to be a serious issue, with emergency physicians and hospitalists being hit particularly hard. MedPageToday cites a 2012 study, which found that 45.8 percent of healthcare workers reported burnout. The research, though, showed that emergency physicians experience burnout at a rate of more than 60 percent. The reason for the higher rate is because emergency medicine represents the intersection of numerous factors that contribute to burnout, according to Shay Bintliff, a retired emergency room doctor. Not only do such professionals work in high-demand, low-control settings, they lack the autonomy of doctors who run their own practices. The risk is especially pronounced for hospitalists, because "the work of hospital medicine is really intense. Dr. Vineet Arora, a hospitalist on the faculty of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, explained, "You're always on. It's like working ER shifts for 7 days in a row."
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Exchange Considering Ways to Improve Doctor Directories
Baltimore Sun (11/23/15) McDaniels, Andrea K.

The board overseeing Maryland's online health insurance marketplace is considering ways to improve the accuracy of its doctor directories. Advocacy groups for mental health and maternity care criticized the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange earlier this year for its outdated directories. The exchange is proposing to require insurers to form a plan to improve the directories and create a way to allow consumers to report inaccuracies. Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer Jr., who sits on the exchange board, says it is up to the insurance companies to get accurate information from doctors and other providers. "There has to be accountability for providing an accurate directory, no matter how they do it," he says. The requirements for provider directories are part of the certification process insurance companies must undergo each year to be listed on the exchange.
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Tennessee Doctors Want Malpractice Payout Limits in Constitution
Chattanooga Times Free Press (11/25/15) Sher, Andy

Concerned that Tennessee courts could eventually strike down a 2011 law capping jury awards in medical malpractice lawsuits, doctors plan to prod lawmakers to protect the statute through amending the state's constitution. The Tennessee Medical Association wants legislators to put before voters new constitutional language clarifying that the General Assembly has authority to establish caps on such non-economic damages as pain and suffering in cases involving medical malpractice liability. The plan is for lawmakers in the current Republican-majority 109th General Assembly to approve the proposed amendment next year and then getting their successors in the 110th General Assembly to pass it by a two-thirds majority. If it wins approval, it would go before Tennessee voters on the 2018 ballot to decide.
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Medical Credentials Questioned at VA Hospitals
KARE 11 (Minneapolis) (11/09/15) Lagoe, A.J.; Eckert, Steve

Records show that Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals in Minnesota and Wisconsin have been providing misleading information about the qualifications of some of their physicians, according to a new investigation by KARE 11. The NBC affiliate in Minneapoilis-St. Paul has uncovered examples on the VA's own website where doctors are listed as having medical specialty certifications they don't actually have. The Minneapolis VA has acknowledged the problem, issuing a statement that read: "We became aware of issues regarding the accuracy of board certification data that appears on the Minneapolis VA's Our Doctors website." The Minneapolis VA is now in the process of researching what may have caused these errors and has requested help from VA Headquarters. The VA Medical Center in Tomah, Wis., is one of the other facilities involved. As of press time, VA officials in both Minneapolis and Tomah refused to go on camera and answer questions.
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Hospitalists Are Changing Care Both in And Outside the Hospital
Managed Care Magazine (11/15) Stefanacci, Richard G.

As part of a concerted effort to improve outcomes, more hospitals are utilizing hospitalists in a variety of ways. In fact, the percentage of hospitals using hospitalists has increased substantially from just 29 percent in 2003 to 72 percent last year. Many of these professionals are taking on duties and responsibilities outside of their historical role as providers focused on inpatient care. Many of the hospitals hiring hospitalists are part of larger health care systems that are looking ahead to when revenue will be based more on overall management of care instead of volume of admissions. Those health systems that utilize hospitalists are expected to be most successful with bundled payment. Furthermore, the most success may come when hospitalists work across settings, not just in inpatient care. Hospitalists today are becoming managers of population health rather than hospital-centric providers, devoted to inpatient care, maximizing "heads in beds" and decreasing length of stay, or LOS.
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Five Charged in Alleged Spinal Surgery Kickback Scheme
Los Angeles Times (11/24/15) Branson-Potts, Hailey

Two surgeons and a former hospital executive are among five people charged in a series of kickback schemes in California. Thousands of patients were illegally referred for spinal surgeries, federal officials announced late last month. The long-running schemes involved tens of millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks to dozens of doctors, chiropractors, and other medical professionals, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Due to the alleged kickbacks, more than 4,400 patients were referred to the now-defunct Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, where they underwent spinal surgeries that generated upwards of $580 million in claims fraudulently submitted from 2005 to 2013, officials said. Many of them were paid by California's workers' compensation system and the U.S. government. According to prosecutors, some of the patients lived hundreds of miles away from the facility and were closer to other qualified hospitals. In a second conspiracy, prosecutors charge that physicians received kickbacks for spinal surgery referrals to Tri-City Regional Medical Center in Hawaiian Gardens.
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Doctors Debate Safety of Their White Coats
Boston Globe (11/19/15) Freyer, Felice J.

Although the white coat has long been a symbol of the medical profession, some doctors and facilities are abandoning them for the sake of cleanliness. Some studies suggest that the coats are full of microbes picked up in patient rooms, but some physicians are concerned that a focus on clothing will distract from proven safety measures, such as hand-washing. Surveys do indicate that the white lab coats are not washed often enough. A survey of 183 physicians and medical students at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond found that only 1 percent wash the coat every day, 39 percent once a week, and 17 percent said they had never washed their coats. No study, however, has demonstrated that the coats transfer germs or increase hospital-acquired infections. Some hospitals now require doctors to leave their arms bare below the elbows, which may encourage hand-washing and reduce the spread of germs. Research shows that some patients believe the white coat inspires confidence and willingness to share information.
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Doctors Who Spend More on Patients Face Lower Malpractice Claim Risk
USC News (11/04/15) Gersema, Emily

According to a new study by researchers at USC, Harvard University, and Stanford University, physicians who spend more money and resources conducting tests and procedures for patients are less likely to be sued for malpractice. The research team also gave special attention to Caesarean deliveries due to ongoing concerns that many C-sections are performed mainly because of doctors' malpractice concerns. The findings raise legitimate concerns that malpractice risk could be an impediment to health care reform. For its results, the study used data from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation for the years 2000 to 2009. The databases included more than 24,600 physicians with a role in an estimated 19 million hospital discharges and 4,342 malpractice claims. Researchers found an inverse correlation: As adjusted hospital spending per physician year rose, the malpractice rate dropped.
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