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July 2015
In this Issue
  • Top ISMS Headlines July 24, 2015

    LEGISLATION

    ISMS Legislative Victory:
    Reporting Requirements for Concealed Carry Law Revised

    An initiative of ISMS and the Illinois Psychiatric Society, legislation (S.B. 836) recently became law that changes the mental health reporting requirements under Illinois' 2013 concealed carry law.

    Under the new law, if a physician, clinical psychologist or qualified examiner determines that a person 14 years or older is developmentally disabled, that health care professional must report the patient's condition to the Department of Human Services.

    Previously, the reporting requirement included a child up to age 18. The age threshold was updated because 14 is the age when developmental and intellectual disability conditions generally stabilize and, therefore, can be sufficiently evaluated.

    The bill also alters the timeframe for such reporting to within seven days, instead of 24 hours.

    Access ISMS' newly updated medical legal guideline, Concealed Carry of Firearms - Mandatory Reporting, which reflects changes in the new law.

    Questions? Please call 800-782-4767 ext. 6485 or send an email.


    Dear Governor: Give these Bills the Ink

    While the Springfield budget deadlock drags on with no end in sight for adjournment of the 99th General Assembly Spring Session, several ISMS-backed bills recently made their way to Governor Rauner's desk.

    ISMS is urging the governor to sign into law several ISMS initiatives, which cleared the General Assembly due to the diligent efforts of your legislative team:

    Biosimilars - S.B. 455 would impose restrictions and requirements on pharmacists when they substitute "biologics, biosimilars and interchangeable products" for biological products. Biologics, biosimilars and interchangeable products are very complex drugs derived from living cells, which makes it impossible to produce a "generic" form of the drug. While similar to biological products, they are still therapeutically different and should not be treated as generic drugs. Read letter.

    Retired Status for Online Physician Profile - S.B. 1205 would allow retired physicians who maintain active licenses to note on their state-mandated physician profiles that they are retired and no longer see patients; this would replace the current protocol of leaving the address and practice fields blank. Read Letter.

    Out-of-State Athletic Team Physicians - S.B. 785 would grant temporary license waivers for health care professionals who travel with their teams to Illinois for athletic events. Read letter.

    ISMS will keep you informed about these bills and other legislative news via Physician Advocate and the Legislative Action Hub.


    Bad Legislation Has Docs' Ears Ringing

    ISMS joined 120 other state and national medical organizations in a communique to urge Congress to oppose legislation (H.R. 2519) that would:

    • Provide audiologists unlimited direct access to Medicare patients without a physician referral.
    • Amend the Social Security Act to define an audiologist as a "physician."

    Sidestepping a physician evaluation and referral could lead to misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment with lasting, and expensive, harm to patients.

    A physician-led team with coordination of services is the best approach for providing the highest quality care.


    REGULATION

    New Law Clears a "Fast-Track" for IL Docs to Obtain Medical Licenses in Other States

    states

    But implementation may be two years out

    Earlier this week, Governor Rauner signed ISMS-backed legislation authorizing Illinois' entry into a multi-state medical licensure compact (H.B. 3680). Illinois is now the 11th state partner to join.

    What is the compact?

    Under the lead of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), the multi-state compact affords physicians the opportunity to obtain expedited medical licenses in other states, but only from states participating in the compact.

    Although it is expected to take 18 to 24 months before the compact is fully functional, the program will be a welcome relief for physicians who expect to practice across certain state lines or utilize telemedicine.

    FSMB received a grant to help states create the compact governance, which will launch in the near future. So far the only Illinois neighbor to officially join is Iowa, but our neighbor to the north is moving toward sign-on.

    View an update on participating states thus far.


    ADVOCACY

    Avoid Payment "Dings" for PQRS, VBM Reporting 

    Physicians and group practices remain at risk for rising penalties if they fail to successfully report quality measures under the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS).

    Remember, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) uses a two-year "look back" period for reporting. For example, actions taken two years ago affect payment rates today. And, just the same, actions taken today in 2015 will impact payment rates two years from now, and so on.

    With CMS phasing in the Value-Based Payment Modifier (VBM), potential payment cuts from VBM could add to penalties already occurring under PQRS. In other words, a "double ding."

    Learn compliance tips by accessing ISMS' new Issue Brief, Medicare Quality Reporting: Top 10 for 2015 and Beyond.

    Questions? Call your ISMS Advocacy Team at 800-782-4767 ext. 1470 or send an email.


    UPDATE: What Does Budget Stalemate Mean for Illinois Medicaid?

    On July 1, Illinois slipped into its Fiscal Year 2016 - with no state budget. So how should doctors proceed regarding Medicaid patients?

    The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IDHFS) previously announced that Medicaid payments for services on or after July 1, 2015, would be paid retroactively once lawmakers enact a new budget.  

    But last week, a U.S. District Judge in Chicago ruled that IDHFS must reimburse those health care professionals who provide medical treatment to children, or to both children and adults. Health care professionals who only treat adult Medicaid beneficiaries will still likely experience payment delays.

    This ruling applies to care delivered in Cook County only.

    Once lawmakers enact a budget, physicians will be reimbursed for all pending claims - just no guarantee as to when.

    Read IDHFS’s Informational Notice.


    MEMBER IN THE NEWS

    Congratulations, Dr. Bone!

    DrBone
    Ernst C. Bone, MD, (seated) speaks with ISMS Trustee Ronald L. Johnson, MD, on June 9 at the Morgan-Scott County Medical Society's meeting.

    Ernst C. Bone, MD, celebrated his 100th birthday at the Morgan-Scott County Medical Society's meeting last month. ISMS Trustee Ronald L. Johnson, MD, presented Dr. Bone with a plaque from ISMS and a letter from ISMS Board Chair Paul H. DeHaan, MD, recognizing Dr. Bone's long career and wishing him a happy birthday.

    Other centenarian ISMS members include:

    • Alice C. Ferdinand, MD, of East Peoria - Peoria Medical Society

    • William Rosenberg, MD, of Wilmette - Chicago Medical Society

    • Bernard J. Schaffer, MD, of Lincolnwood - Chicago Medical Society

    • Philip J. Stein, MD, currently of Rochester, New York - Chicago Medical Society

    • Albert G. Weiss, MD, of Chicago - Chicago Medical Society

    Frank R. Johnson, MD, of Woodstock (DuPage County Medical Society) will reach his milestone birthday of "centenarian status" this fall.




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