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January 2015

 

A Word from the President


Welcome to the first edition of NAMSS Gateway in 2015! We will continue to provide you with industry news and information, as well as helpful articles to encourage your professional growth. With inevitable changes in our environment, staying informed is important. This month, we look at the watch list released by The Physicians Foundation siting significant changes that could impact practicing physicians and their patients. Could a major change this year include the proposed interstate compact, which would expedite multistate licensing? Iowa has joined medical societies in Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota who are pursuing the legislation.

I hope you enjoy this month’s issue. We have a lot to look forward to in 2015!

Linda Waldorf, BS, CPMSM, CPCS
NAMSS President
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Headlines


News From NAMSS
The NAMSS Certification Exam Applications Have Moved Online
Attention State Association Leaders!
Remember to Renew Your Dues for 2015!
NAMSS Educational Summit 2015
Have Feedback on SYNERGY? We’re Listening!

Industry News
"Iowa Legislature to Weigh New Medical Licensure Pathway"
"The Physicians Foundation Releases 2015 Physician Watch List"
"Battle to Find Docs May Be a Regional--Not National--Problem"
"Feds Step Up Review of Complaints From Patients Who Say They Were Harmed"
"Medicare Cuts Payments to 721 Hospitals with Highest Rates of Infections, Injuries"
"Work Hour Limits for Doctors in Training Don't Improve Patient Safety, Studies Show"
"4 Hospital & Health System CEOs Define Challenges and Resolutions for 2015"


News From NAMSS


The NAMSS Certification Exam Applications Have Moved Online

We’ve gone digital! CPCS and CPMSM exam applications are now available electronically on the NAMSS website. To access the online applications, please visit the appropriate link:

CPCS
CPMSM
Paper applications will be accepted through the spring 2015 testing window only.

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Attention State Association Leaders!

As the 2014 calendar year comes to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you to contact the Executive Office with any leadership changes that are slated to take effect in 2015, as well as your local conference dates for 2015. Please refer to this page on the NAMSS website to double check who we have on file as your President and President-Elect. Any and all changes should be by email to Andrew Miller at amiller@namss.org.
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Remember to Renew Your Dues for 2015!

NAMSS Members – It’s that time of the year again! Renew your NAMSS dues by logging into your account on the NAMSS Website and selecting “Renew your NAMSS Membership.” Maintain your membership in a network of over 5,000 MSPs across the country and, for renewing, you will also receive a special giveaway! If you require a paper renewal invoice to submit a personal or facility check, you can move through the renewal process online and select the “pay by check” option at checkout.
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NAMSS Educational Summit 2015

Save the date! The NAMSS 2015 Educational Summit will be held from March 13-14, 2015 at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta, Georgia. Live preparatory courses will be held for the CPCS and CPMSM Exams, as well as our popular Credentialing 101 course. Click here for more information.
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Have Feedback on SYNERGY? We’re Listening!

We invite NAMSS members to complete the 2015 SYNERGY reader survey to share feedback on how NAMSS can keep improving this important communication from NAMSS. Click here to complete the survey.

Please complete the survey by February 20, 2015.

The survey takes about 10-15 minutes to complete.
We will use your feedback to help improve SYNERGY in 2015 and beyond. Your feedback is important as NAMSS strives to ensure SYNERGY meets your needs. We value your input and appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

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Industry News


Iowa Legislature to Weigh New Medical Licensure Pathway
Sioux City Journal (IA) (01/07/15) Butz, Dolly A.

If Iowa adopts legislation to establish a compact with other state medical boards, physicians with flawless records could receive a state medical license more quickly. More than a dozen states, including Iowa, are expected to work with their legislatures in the new year to introduce and enact the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. Medical societies in such Midwestern states as Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are also pursuing legislation. The compact was developed by representatives of state medical boards under the guidance of the Federation of State Medical Boards. It aims to simplify and improve the licensing process, creating a universal standard that if met and maintained by a physician in a participating state will streamline the licensing process in other compact states. The compact will be administered by a commission comprised of two representatives from each member state if adopted. Around 22 percent of actively licensed physicians nationwide are licensed in more than one state, with 55 percent of Iowa's doctors holding multiple state licenses.
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The Physicians Foundation Releases 2015 Physician Watch List
The Physicians Foundation (12/15/2014)

The Physicians Foundation has identified five areas that will affect physicians and patients in 2015. Increasing consolidation among hospitals and health systems will push smaller medical practices into larger systems, which could reduce competition and boost the emphasis on valued-based payment models. Half of the respondents to the foundation's 2014 Biennial Physician Survey said that ICD-10 will cause severe administrative problems in their practices, and 75 percent said it will unnecessarily complicate coding. As the lack of transparency regarding medical costs and billing practices becomes more frustrating, policy makers, payers, and providers may have to coordinate a system around cost-of-care transparency that is understandable for both patients and physicians. The survey also found that 44 percent of physicians plan to take actions that would reduce access to their services, such as cutting back on the number of patients, retiring, reducing their hours, or closing their practices.
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Battle to Find Docs May Be a Regional--Not National--Problem
Fierce Healthcare (01/06/2015) Small, Leslie

Recent reports suggest that the possibility of a looming physician shortage may not be a national problem, but a local one. A suspect doctor shortage could have serious consequences for the healthcare industry, Becker's Hospital Review states. Not only could training a myriad of extra doctors to make up for a perceived shortfall add substantial costs to the healthcare industry, it could also make it more difficult for existing doctors to maintain private practices. With regards to market-specific shortages, they are an especially big threat in rural areas. "In many non-metropolitan markets, I see a workforce of physicians that is aging, increasingly restricting their practices and hospitals and health systems that are struggling to meet the demands of the market they're in," states Randy Gott, senior vice president of consulting and management services at The Advisory Board Company. One expert recently told RadioIowa that he expects an "extreme shortage" of doctors in the Hawkeye State will likely be exacerbated by retirements. In Indiana, meanwhile, medical and academic groups hope to introduce legislation in 2016 to increase the number of medical residencies. Similar initiatives in South Dakota -- chiefly the Frontier and Rural Medicine program and the Rural Experiences for Health Profession Students program -- also seek to draw healthcare providers to underserved communities.
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Feds Step Up Review of Complaints From Patients Who Say They Were Harmed
The Indy Channel (01/04/15) Freedberg, Sydney

A 2015 federal work plan reveals that the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is stepping up scrutiny of oversight "gaps" that allow medical errors to hurt or even kill people. Chiefly, the country's top health watchdog is examining who is getting care, who isn't, and what the repercussions are. The agency has approximately 1,500 auditors, criminal investigators, inspectors, and attorneys who track fraud and abuse at HHS. They cover 100 million Americans – roughly one in three citizens -- at an annual cost of $1 trillion. Specifically, the Inspector General's Work Plan for 2015 calls for "turning up the heat" on how HHS supervises hospitals, nursing homes, physicians, and other health care providers. "We want to make sure people are getting the right services and the right quality," concludes Christi Grimm, chief of staff for the inspector general's office.
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Medicare Cuts Payments to 721 Hospitals with Highest Rates of Infections, Injuries
Kaiser Health News (12/18/14) Rau, Jordan

The federal government is reducing payments to 721 hospitals for having high infection rates and other patient injuries. Medicare payments will be 1 percent lower for the fiscal year ending Sept. 2015, and penalties are estimated to total $373 million, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis. Dr. John Bulger, Geisinger Medical Center's chief quality officer, says hospitals must spend more time reviewing Medicare billing records because that is what the government uses to evaluate patient safety. He cautions that these efforts could take time away from efforts to ensure coding is accurate and making other improvements. These penalties are in addition to the fines Medicare levied against 2,610 hospitals for having too many patients return within a month of discharge. According to Harvard School of Public Health Professor Ashish Jha's analysis, 32 percent of the hospitals penalized had the sickest patients, 12 percent had the least complex cases, and the hospitals with the poorest patients were more likely to be penalized.
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Work Hour Limits for Doctors in Training Don't Improve Patient Safety, Studies Show
Dubuque Telegraph Herald (12/09/14) Kaplan, Karen

A couple of studies published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined the effects of new work rules that limit the number of hours interns and residents can spend caring for hospital patients. In the two studies, researchers found little to no evidence that patients fared better or worse after the controversial rules were enacted four years ago. The first was led by experts from the University of Pennsylvania and compared the treatment of nearly 2.8 million Medicare patients who went to 3,100-plus hospitals nationwide for a variety of conditions. The second study, led by researchers from the American College of Surgeons and Northwestern University, focused on 535,499 patients who had surgeries in 131 hospitals. Set by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the rules were designed to reduce the risk of medical errors by overworked and tired residents and interns. In 2003, an initial set of ACGME reforms capped the workweek at 80 hours. The 2011 modifications cut the maximum number of hours a trainee could work consecutively from 30 to 16 (for interns) or 24 (for residents). They could stay for up to four additional hours to ensure their patients were properly handed off to physicians on the next shift.
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4 Hospital & Health System CEOs Define Challenges and Resolutions for 2015
Becker's Hospital Review (01/06/15) Rosin, Tamara

Four health system and hospital CEOs -- Michael Dowling, president and CEO of North Shore-LIJ Health System; David Grauer, CEO of Intermountain Medical Center in Utah; Christine Schuster, president and CEO of Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass.; and Presence Health President and CEO Sandra Bruce from Chicago -- recently shared their New Year's resolutions, anticipated challenges, and goals for 2015 and essential leadership qualities with Becker's Hospital Review. Dowling lists the biggest challenge ahead as "managing the multiplicity of continuous change that's going on, while at the same time preserving that which we shouldn't change. We need to get all of our employees to understand why change is important and necessary." For Schuster, this means managing the shift from inpatient to outpatient, "and with that, innovating and staying ahead of the curve." Bruce states that Presence will be looking to "move the ball forward" on clinical integration and creating greater access points for patients that will serve them in new ways. "We’re squarely focused on building new bridges to a whole range of constituencies including the public sector and community groups, which will be key to treating the whole patient," she added. Finally, Grauer looks forward to continue being "chief cheerleader" for his hospital.
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