The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) takes the issue of physician discipline quite seriously. In fact, the MSNJ Judicial Council resolves many disputes and complaints each year filed against physician members.
We appreciate the attention brought to this issue each year by Public Citizen and Dr. Sidney Wolf. Public Citizen regularly releases the same report year after year and we respond the same way each year. As we understand the methodology, the report does not include private letter agreements represent a significant amount of the disciplinary activity in NJ. Under a private letter agreement, prosecutors defer a formal license action in lieu of fines and additional training for certain infractions or first time issues or cases where a prosecutor has limited evidence, but enough to proceed against the licensee. The nature of a private letter agreement is that it is non-disclosed, thus not available for researchers to count. This gives NJ a lower ranking.
Don’t be fooled into thinking a private letter agreement is not a significant penalty or does not work to protect the public. For example, under a garden variety private letter agreement the disciplinary action may include fines, mandatory additional training (at the physician’s expense) and hiring a practice monitor to comply with the terms of the discipline. In addition, competency evaluations and personalized educational programs may also be ordered. Finally under a private letter agreement if any of the conditions are not met by the physician within the specified time frames an automatic license suspension can result.
If the researchers had actually interviewed state boards and factored this type of discipline into the report, Public Citizen might have produced a more accurate and useful study.
MSNJ and CMS urge physicians to take steps now to avoid the 2013 e-prescribing (eRx) penalty. You may need to take action before June 30!
To avoid the 2013 eRx payment adjustment, individual eligible professionals would have had to have been a successful electronic prescriber in 2011 or will need to report the G8553 code via claims for at least 10 billable Medicare Part B PFS services provided January 1, 2012 through June 30, 2012. For more information on individual and eRx GPRO reporting requirements, view the MLN Article SE1206. A hardship exemption can be filed.
- The eligible professional is unable to electronically prescribe due to local, state or federal law, or regulation.
- The eligible professional has or will prescribe fewer than 100 prescriptions during a 6-month reporting period (January 1 through June 30, 2012)
- The eligible professional practices in a rural area without sufficient high-speed Internet access (G8642)
- The eligible professional practices in an area without sufficient available pharmacies for electronic prescribing (G8643)
To request a significant hardship exemption, EPs and group practices must submit their hardship exemption requests through the Quality Reporting Communications Support Page on or between March 1 and June 30, 2012. View an AMA tip sheet. For more information, visit the CMS eRx Incentive Program webpage.
CMS has posted the names, business phone numbers, and business addresses of Medicare eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) that have successfully achieved meaningful use and received a payment as of March 2012. CMS posted this information in two file formats: a searchable PDF, and CSV file. The CSV file can be opened in many common spreadsheet programs and call also be used to sort information about recipients, for example, by medical specialty of the state in which they practice.
By Larry Downs, MSNJ CEO & General Counsel
I would like to welcome Mary F. Campagnolo, MD, MBA as the 220th president of MSNJ. Dr. Campagnolo’s role as an advocate for patient care and quality improvement, coupled with her dedication as a family physician, make her the perfect choice to lead our organization. She is focused on issues important to members. These issues include the integration of medical practices, advancing women in medicine and building equity and payment reforms to increase the public’s access to physicians.
Dr. Campagnolo practices family medicine at Virtua Lumberton Family Physicians in Lumberton, N.J., and is chief of the Department of Family Medicine at Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mt. Holly. She also cares for nursing home and subacute rehabilitation patients at Virtua Health and Rehabilitation Center and serves as medical director for primary care at Virtua Medical Group in Marlton.
Dr. Campagnolo will be a regular contributor to the MSNJ blog.