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  • News from Springfield: Your Legislative Wrap-Up

    For the second year in a row, Illinois’ regular spring legislative session took place in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenging times, your ISMS legislative team fought hard to help pass important bills for medicine. Here’s a summary of key bills that impact your profession: 

    Your Care Can’t Wait!

    The ISMS-initiated Prior Authorization Reform Act (House Bill 711) passed the General Assembly unanimously. This legislation does not seek to eliminate prior authorization; instead, the goal is to realign what has become a very broken system by requiring transparency, appropriate peer-to-peer review, medically appropriate timelines for both urgent and non-urgent care, and ensuring continuity of care.

    Medical Practice Act Extension

    Lawmakers passed legislation (House Bill 806) that extends the Medical Practice Act for five years until sunsetting again in 2027. It is significant to note that this is the first time in 15 years that this Act has been extended for more than two years, bringing physicians in line with the renewal cycle of other professions. The bill also merges the Medical Licensing and Disciplinary Boards into one board with 17 members.

    Expanded Insurer Coverage for Telehealth Services

    The General Assembly unanimously approved House Bill 3308 to expand commercial insurance coverage for telehealth services to ensure that it is provided post-pandemic. In addition, the bill provides that health professionals are to be reimbursed at the same rate as in-person visits; however, this section of the bill sunsets at the end of 2027 except for mental health and substance use disorder telehealth services. 

    These bills now head to Governor Pritzker’s desk.

    If you have questions, please contact ISMS Senior Vice President of State Legislative Affairs Erin O'Brien by email.

  • Yes, Already! It’s Time to Prepare for the 2021-22 Flu Season

    This past flu season was not a typical year

    A recent study in the Journal of Hospital Medicine revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with substantial reductions in encounters for respiratory diseases for children due to public health interventions. Currently, the number of children in the United States who died of the flu this 2020-21 season remains at the number of one. The typical range for the number of flu deaths among kids is between 100 and 200 per year.

    Looking ahead at the 2021-22 flu season year, the spring is still the best time to pre-order influenza vaccines to ensure that your medical office will have the appropriate stock – even amidst these uncertain times! Manufacturers determine the quantity of influenza vaccine they will produce based on orders they receive this time of year.

    If your regular vaccine supplier hasn't reached out to you yet, be sure to contact them now.

    Questions? Please contact the ISMS Health Policy Research and Advocacy team by email.

  • Discounted Translation Services for Members – Available for Telemedicine Services or In-Person Visits

    Effective communication is key to providing quality patient care

    Language Link, one of your many ISMS Benefit Partners, offers interpretation and translation services at a discount for you.

    These services can be delivered via conference call, remote video or by on-site personnel.

    If you have hearing-impaired or non-English-speaking patients, providing effective communication is not only necessary for securing an accurate diagnosis and developing a treatment plan, it is also required by law. 

    ISMS members receive a 30% discount on per-minute fees, with no monthly minimum and no sign-up fee.

    Check out Language Link.

  • Regrettably, Governor Pritzker Signs Prejudgment Interest Bill into Law

    The prejudgment interest bill, Senate Bill 72, was signed into law by Governor Pritzker last Friday afternoon preceding the Memorial Day holiday weekend. This legislation was fast tracked by the democratic leadership with it being introduced and passed in mid-March. 

    ISMS is very disappointed in this outcome. Thousands of physicians and concerned patients sent messages to the governor and the members of the General Assembly. It is unfortunate that our concerns were not heard.

    “This is a system designed to badger defendants and line the pockets of plaintiffs’ attorneys instead of seeking fair resolution to medical liability claims,” said ISMS President Regan Thomas, MD. “The new law will inflict deep harm on Illinois’ already challenged medical liability climate by adding a prejudgment interest penalty at the rate of 6% that starts to accrue on the date an action is filed.” 

    ISMS intends to pursue all available legal options to mitigate the new law’s impact on the patients and physicians of Illinois.

    If you have questions, please contact ISMS Senior Vice President of State Legislative Affairs Erin O'Brien by email.

  • Attention Rural Health Clinics: Grant Awards Available!

    Apply by June 23

    Grant awards are now available to all eligible Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) by applying through the Rural Health Clinic Vaccine Confidence (RHCVC) Program

    Rural Health Clinics may use the grant funding to:

    • Create initiatives to help increase confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine
    • Improve healthcare in rural areas
    • Reinforce key messages about prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases

    RHCs that are interested should review the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and start the three-step grant registration process. The application deadline is June 23, 2021.

    The grants are being provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP).

    Questions? Please contact the ISMS Health Policy Research and Advocacy team by email.

  • June 8 Virtual Event: Hear from the Experts on Building Equitable Communities

    CME available 

    Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) and the Southern Illinois University (SIU) Medicine Department of Population Science and Policy are proud to present the 21st Annual SIH/SIU Health Policy Institute: 

    The COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Impact on Health Policy: A Renewed Focus on Healthy and Equitable Communities

    This virtual event will take place on June 8, 2021, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. CDT. 

    You’ll hear from local, state and national experts in the fields of health, public policy and law pertaining to building equitable communities. Participants will be able to select from a variety of breakout sessions, attend a virtual networking session and learn about improving equity in the wake of COVID-19.

    ISMS is proud to be a co-sponsor of the program.

    View the event flyer, which also includes the various registration fees.

    Register here.

    Questions? Contact the Office of Continuing Professional Development by email.

  • Illinois’ ACA Marketplace Special Enrollment Period Extended through August 15!

    Patients can sign up for insurance or change their health plans

    Illinoisans who do not have health insurance can enroll in an ACA Marketplace health plan during a special open enrollment period happening now.

    The Special Enrollment Period (SEP)is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and now runs through Aug. 15, 2021.

    Those who have lost their job-based health coverage or who are uninsured for any reasoncan enroll in an ACA Marketplace health plan. In addition, Illinois residents currently enrolled in an ACA Marketplace health plan will be allowed to change plans.

    If your patients are interested in obtaining this health insurance or want to make changes to their existing plan, direct them to www.getcoveredillinois.gov.

    Questions? Please contact the ISMS Health Policy Research and Advocacy team by email.

  • Get 2.49% Flat-Rate Pricing When Patients Swipe the Card!

    Also receive a free credit card terminal

    Are you paying too much for “swipe fees,” which banks charge when your patients use a credit or debit card?

    Now you can shrink those fees and start getting 2.49% flat-rate pricing when you switch to TSYS, an ISMS Benefit Partner

    In addition to the flat-rate pricing, your medical office will also receive a FREE payment terminal valued at $399.

    Contact TSYS today and begin saving! 

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