Medicare Changes Annual Enrollment Process
This year, Highmark Medicare Services will not mail CDs to Medicare providers alerting them to the open enrollment period and providing other information. Instead, Highmark will mail post cards. Read more.
Five-Minute Survey on Palliative Patient/Family Interactions & Pain/Symptom Management
Palliative medicine, a relatively new and growing medical subspecialty, is focused on improving quality of life–and quality of care–for seriously ill patients and family caregivers from the time of diagnosis, during aggressive treatments and beyond. Aging baby boomers are expected to double the approximately 90,000,000 Americans now living with serious and life-threatening illness over the next 25 years. While there were almost no palliative care programs in U.S. hospitals just 10 years ago, the Center for the Advancement of Palliative Care (CAPC) reports that, “In the last five years alone, access to palliative care in our nation′s hospitals has more than doubled.”
MSNJ & Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice Survey have teamed up to poll physicians on their confidence level in addressing these issues. Click here to take the five-minute survey
The next Policy & Strategy Panel (PSP) meeting is scheduled for Thursday June 23 at 4:30 P.M. at the Medical Society of New Jersey Conference Center, located at 2 Princess Road in Lawrenceville, NJ. The PSP is a joint meeting of MSNJ’s administrative councils and committees that meets approximately six times per year to develop organizational policy on topics important to the health and healthcare in New Jersey. The physician members of the PSP investigate issues and topics in healthcare and recommend specific policy statements or actions to the MSNJ Board of Trustees. The PSP is co-chaired by the first vice president and president-elect of MSNJ.
The June 23rd agenda includes:
- “Safety Features for High School and Collegiate Football: A Plan to Alter or Eliminate Kickoffs,” presented by Vincent K. McInerney, MD, Chair, MSNJ Committee on the Medical Aspects of Sports, with a special appearance by former New York Jets quarterback, Ray Lucas
- Discussion of determinations of physician scope of practice by health insurers
- E-prescribing principles and pending eRx legislation
- Update on legislation
Licenses Expire on June 30; Physicians Urged to Renew Online
Members are urged to follow the directions in letters sent to them to renew on-line and to participate in a physician workforce survey. Licenses expire on June 30, 2011, unless renewed. Read more.
Blue Shield of California Pledges to Limit its Net Income
This week, Blue Shield of California announced that it will limit its annual net income to no more than 2% of revenue. The company’s CEO stated that the commitment “is rooted in [its] longstanding commitment to universal coverage” and the belief that healthcare reform, alone, is not enough. “This commitment doesn’t solve the affordability problem, but it does represent a paradigm shift for a health plan.” [Press Release of Blue Shield of California (June 7, 2011)]. The commitment will be applied retroactively to 2010 and will amount to $180 million. The money will be distributed three ways; premium credits to members; funding hospitals and physicians groups to participate in accountable care organizations; and, funding local non-profits that provide healthcare to low income residents. Blue Shield of California is an independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association a not-for-profit health plan with 3.3 million members.
Mary O’Dowd Sworn in as New Jersey Health & Senior Services Commissioner
On June 9, Mary O’Dowd took the oath of office as the new NJ DHSS Commissioner, replacing Poonam Alaigh, MD, who left office earlier this year. Prior to her appointment by Governor Chris Christie, Commissioner O’Dowd served as Deputy Commissioner and chief of staff. She has been part of the department for more than three years. Read more.
MSNJ Joins the Fray over CMS’ Proposed ACO Rule
This week, MSNJ joined the chorus of organized medicine against CMS’s proposed rule on a Medicare shared savings plan under Medicare, better known as the accountable care organization (ACO) rule. MSNJ filed comments that focused on the fundamental payment risk shift (downside financial loss), rather than shared savings, and the significant start-up costs that effectively preclude solo and small practices from participation. We expressed concern that the savings would not be achievable under the proposal. Notably, even those entities with significant experience in coordinated care agree. For example, while the Cleveland Clinic generally supports the concept of ACOs, it objected to the proposal concluding “that the shared savings component is structured in such a way that creates real uncertainty about whether applicants will be able to achieve success.” Read Cleveland Clinic’s comments and the Health Affairs blog on accountable care organizations.
Read a Kaiser Health News op-ed by the Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute.
There is also concern that the FTC & DOJ’s proposed antitrust enforcement policy with respect to ACOs will not be adequate legal protection and will deter ACO participation. Read AMA’s comments; MSNJ’s comments; and those of the American Hospital Association.
5-Minute Survey on Physician Confidence with Palliative Patient/Family Interactions and Pain/Symptom Management
Palliative medicine, a relatively new and growing medical subspecialty, is focused on improving quality of life–and quality of care–for seriously ill patients and family caregivers from the time of diagnosis, during aggressive treatments and beyond.
Aging baby boomers are expected to double the approximately 90,000,000 Americans now living with serious and life-threatening illness over the next 25 years.
While there were almost no palliative care programs in U.S. hospitals just 10 years ago, the Center for the Advancement of Palliative Care (CAPC) reports that, “In the last five years alone, access to palliative care in our nation′s hospitals has more than doubled.”
MSNJ & Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice Survey have teamed up to poll physicians on their confidence level in addressing these issues.
Chicago – The American Medical Association (AMA) today named James L. Madara, M.D., as its new Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Madara will assume leadership of the nation’s oldest and largest physician group on July 1.
Dr. Madara, 60, is an accomplished academic medical center physician, medical scientist and administrator who served as Timmie Professor and Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine before assuming the Thompson Distinguished Service Professorship and deanship at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, where he was the longest serving Pritzker dean in the last 35 years. Subsequently, he added the responsibility of CEO of the University of Chicago Medical Center, bringing together the university’s biomedical research, teaching and clinical activities. As CEO, he engineered significant new affiliations with community hospitals, teaching hospital systems, community Federally Qualified Health Centers on Chicago’s South Side, as well as with national research organizations including the Janelia Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Bethesda and the Ludwig Foundation of New York.
“The AMA is a venerable institution, and I am honored to lead it during this challenging and exciting time,” Dr. Madara said. “The AMA has been at the forefront working to improve public health, physician practice, patient care and our American health care system for the past 164 years. Today more than ever, America’s patients and physicians need a strong and vibrant AMA to tackle the many challenges facing them. I look forward to leveraging my skills and experience to help the AMA succeed and fulfill its core mission to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.”
While at the University of Chicago from 2002-2009, Dr. Madara oversaw a significant renewal of the institution’s biomedical campus, including the Comer Children’s Hospital, the Gordon Center for Integrative Science, a new adult hospital pavilion, and the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery. His deanship also extended to the University’s renowned Biological Sciences Division.
“The American Medical Association is thrilled to have a proven medical leader like Dr. Madara serve as our next EVP/CEO,” said Ardis D. Hoven, M.D., chair, AMA Board of Trustees. “Dr. Madara is a strong strategic thinker and planner who has a track record of bringing people together to accomplish significant, ambitious, health-related goals and projects. Having overseen a $1.6 billion integrated academic medical center, Dr. Madara understands many of the complex clinical, academic and business-related issues confronting medicine and health care today. His insight and perspective will be invaluable in helping the AMA tackle its agenda.”
Dr. Madara is a noted academic pathologist and an authority on epithelial cell biology and on gastrointestinal disease. He has published more than 200 original papers and chapters, making important contributions to understanding the biology of the cells that line the digestive tract. His work has garnered both national and international awards.
Dr. Madara has served as President of the American Board of Pathology, as Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Pathology, has received a prestigious MERIT Award from the NIH, has been elected to membership in the Association of American Physicians, and recently received the Davenport Award for lifetime achievement in gastrointestinal disease from the American Physiological Society.
Most recently, Dr. Madara served as senior advisor with Leavitt Partners, a highly innovative health care consulting firm started by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt.
Dr. Madara earned his medical degree from Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia. He completed his internship and residency at New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston. He subsequently completed a fellowship in anatomy and cell biology at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston (now Brigham and Women’s Hospital). Following his fellowship, Dr. Madara joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School where he rose to a full tenured professor and served as director of the Harvard Digestive Diseases Center.
Dr. Madara is married to Vicki M. Madara. They have two children: Alexis and Max.