Current Healthcare Issues

ISMA e-Reports

The unprecedented happened. Physician organizations united like never before - hundreds of them from across the nation - working on your behalf, advocating for change. Something else was unprecedented. The U.S. Congress acted during April in bipartisan manner to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula that threatened physicians since it was enacted in 1997. Thus, an 18th patch will not be needed.
Posted: April 29, 2015, 8:00 pm
If you are a dues-paying ISMA member in one of the counties listed here, you need to know that your county medical society currently has no officers and no delegates appointed to attend convention this September.
Posted: April 29, 2015, 8:00 pm
Last February, Steven Herbst, MD, of Muncie completed his 10th medical mission trip. With the support of the ISMA's Medical Mission Scholarship, he traveled to Guatemala where he and other Indiana physicians performed 113 surgeries on 76 patients over four days.
Posted: April 29, 2015, 8:00 pm
Now is not the time to stall your preparation to transition to ICD-10. You should continue to move forward with the next step no matter where you are.
Posted: April 29, 2015, 8:00 pm
Almost 1,500 Hoosier patients are waiting for an organ transplant and you can help, according to Tim Taber, MD, chief medical officer for the Indiana Donor Network, formerly the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization. An individual on the transplant waiting list may receive an organ transplant from a deceased donor or, in the case of a kidney recipient, a deceased or living donor.
Posted: April 29, 2015, 8:00 pm
New research provides good news for physicians who practice in Indiana, as well as for those looking to relocate. According to a study by WalletHub, the state provides a great environment for medical practice.
Posted: April 29, 2015, 8:00 pm
We live in challenging times --- HIV, Ebola, tax scams and identity theft. Stay current by making sure you can get information quickly. Provide the ISMA with your email address - and notify us when that address changes.
Posted: April 29, 2015, 8:00 pm
The Indiana Immunization Coalition (IIC) is urging pediatricians to participate in the HPV: Don't Wait. Vaccinate! project. The goal of the program is to increase the first-dose HPV vaccine rate for eligible females and males ages 11 to 21 by 25 percent during a six-month period.
Posted: April 29, 2015, 8:00 pm
If you practiced in Pennsylvania in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2014, you may be eligible for a refund from the Mcare Fund that provides excess medical liability coverage for physicians and certain other health care professionals. It is funded by assessments on those covered.
Posted: April 29, 2015, 8:00 pm
Following years of advocacy and no less than 17 short-term, last minute fixes, the U.S. Senate on the evening of April 14 passed a bill to immediately repeal the SGR formula.
Posted: April 15, 2015, 8:00 pm
The outbreak of HIV cases in Scott County prompted Executive Order 15-05 declaring a public health emergency. Both Gov. Pence and State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, issued a strong caution when they visited the area.
Posted: April 15, 2015, 8:00 pm
The March 26 meeting of the Medical Licensing Board (MLB) of Indiana was one of the longest - from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm - but provided several lessons for physicians. Board members faced an agenda of administrative hearings, rules updates, personal appearances, presentations, and one petition for summary suspension. The ISMA Physician Assistance Program testified in support of one physician.
Posted: April 15, 2015, 8:00 pm
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) is transitioning your Care Select patients to the new Hoosier Care Connect program. All patients should be transitioned by July 1. However, wards of the state, foster children, former foster children or those receiving adoption assistance not currently enrolled in Care Select may voluntarily enroll in Hoosier Care Connect beginning May 1.
Posted: April 15, 2015, 8:00 pm
HealthBridge, one of the nation's largest health information exchanges (HIE), has merged with the Greater Cincinnati Health Council and the Health Collaborative, effective March 30. To customers outside of Greater Cincinnati, the merger represents no change other than a new name, The Health Collaborative.
Posted: April 15, 2015, 8:00 pm
Have you checked the state's online Children and Hoosier Immunization Registry Program (CHIRP) lately?
Posted: April 15, 2015, 8:00 pm
The rapidly changing market and the regulatory environment seems to encourage practice integration. But if you're not sure that's the right move for your solo or small practice, a new in-depth look at competition and integration may help you decide.
Posted: April 15, 2015, 8:00 pm
After the House passed bipartisan legislation March 25 to change Medicare reimbursement for physicians and kill the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, the Senate left for spring break without taking its turn to vote on the bill.
Posted: April 1, 2015, 8:00 pm
The failure of two major bills during this legislative session illustrates one of the most important reasons why your ISMA membership is valuable. SB 55 and HB 1043 would have greatly impacted your medical malpractice premiums and threatened access and quality of care for thousands of Hoosiers.
Posted: April 1, 2015, 8:00 pm
Indiana became the first state in the nation to implement the mandatory electronic death registry system (IDRS) on Jan. 1, 2011. As with most new things, the IDRS has exposed some challenges, and you may have struggled with how to certify cause of death in some cases with limited information.
Posted: April 1, 2015, 8:00 pm
Patients may get approval for needed care a little faster, thanks to a newly created standardized prior authorization (PA) form. The document is the result of a partnership involving the ISMA, the Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI), Anthem and other insurers.
Posted: April 1, 2015, 8:00 pm
Here's a fact you may not know: The most visited section of the ISMA website is our Membership Directory.
Posted: April 1, 2015, 8:00 pm
No one needs to tell you about the increasing costs of prescription drugs. The March 16, 2015, issue of Business Insider, however, noted that last year, prescription drug costs increased 13.1 percent, "largely because spending on specialty drugs increased 30.9%, the highest increase ever recorded. Traditional drugs saw an increase in spending of 6.4%, roughly double the increase in 2013."
Posted: April 1, 2015, 8:00 pm
Indiana's efforts to improve Hoosier's health by reducing tobacco use are failing, according to a new report from the American Lung Association (ALA). The 13th annual "State of Tobacco Control" report gave Indiana poor grades for its tobacco policies. However, Indiana was one of two states praised for offering comprehensive cessation benefits for Medicaid patients.
Posted: April 1, 2015, 8:00 pm
Legislators joined ISMA members for breakfast March 11 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. The event provided an opportunity to discuss issues affecting patient care and the practice of medicine. Afterwards, many physicians ventured to the Statehouse to testify on various bills.
Posted: April 1, 2015, 8:00 pm
Remember last year's tax season? Early in 2014, fraudulent 2013 federal and state income tax returns were filed using physician names, addresses and Social Security numbers. The ISMA issued several alerts early in the year about the income tax scams impacting members.
Posted: March 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
Doctor, can you survive a 21 percent cut to your Medicare reimbursement? Since 2003, Congress has enacted 17 patches to stop physician payment cuts, creating uncertainty for patients. It's time to say ENOUGH!
Posted: March 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
Approximately one in 10 Hoosier children has asthma, yet less than half of all these patients have received a management plan from their physicians or schools. Indianapolis primary care pediatrician Mary McAteer, MD, is working to change that.
Posted: March 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
When seeing HIP Basic members with cost-sharing responsibilities, medical offices are required to charge the appropriate co-payments to HIP Basic members on the date of service after services are rendered.
Posted: March 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
Q. When employing a scribe, what guidelines should I follow to minimize risk?
Posted: March 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
Now is the time to start identifying the top 20 codes that your office uses. Run a report to see what those codes are in your organization, then cross walk them with the General Equivalence Mapping (GEM) files.
Posted: March 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
Participants gathered last month at the West Baden Spring Hotel in French Lick for learning, skill building and networking. Hosted by the ISMA Women in Medicine Committee, the event offered an educational session on effective communication presented by Butler University faculty.
Posted: March 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
Perhaps you know someone who has impacted the medical community in a positive way. Please nominate them for one of three ISMA awards!
Posted: March 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
If you're concerned with the health and well-being of people in your community, the health care workforce will be of interest to you. A recent survey and policy report, derived from 2013 data, offers a glimpse of the practicing physician workforce in any Indiana community.
Posted: March 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
If you are a Medicaid and HIP provider, you'll likely be busier in the coming months. Numbers show Hoosiers are embracing the recently approved Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) 2.0. In the first two weeks since the announcement by Gov. Pence, approximately 180,000 immediately enrolled, and 24,150 phone call inquiries were received. Enrollment is expected to grow because 24,000 notices were mailed to marketplace members; also an advertising campaign and enrollment events are getting underway.
Posted: March 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
State Representative and ISMA member Tim Brown, MD, R-Crawfordsville, was presented with the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service during the AMA's National Advocacy Conference Feb. 24 in Washington, D.C.
Posted: March 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
Indiana health officials have issued an alert about an HIV outbreak in southeastern Indiana, and encourage you to test patients for the virus as well as hepatitis C.
Posted: March 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
ISMA practice advisors have been receiving calls concerning reimbursement for consultation codes. As a reminder, consultation codes are no longer covered by Indiana Medicaid, including CPT codes 99241-99245 and 99251-99255. The new rule took effect Feb. 1, 2015.
Posted: March 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
How prepared is your physician group to practice under value-based (quality)-reimbursement contracts?
Posted: March 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced it will extend the meaningful use attestation deadline for Medicare to March 20, 2015, for the 2014 Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program reporting year. The original deadline was Feb. 28, 2015. However, the extension does not affect the deadline for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.
Posted: March 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
Atlantic offers ISMA members the lowest prices for immunizations and can help you best prepare for flu season with an extensive range of Sanofi's Fluzone products.
Posted: March 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
Here's a fact worth considering: You have a 3-in-10 chance of suffering a disability that prevents you from working for three months or more at some point in your lifetime, according to the nonprofit Life Happens.
Posted: March 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
The ISMA's Committee on Family Violence offers resources, to help you counsel and refer patients who might be victims of domestic violence.
Posted: March 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
Since taking office last October, Indiana Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, MD, M.P.H., remains impressed with how many citizens around the state are involved in and dedicated to public health.
Posted: February 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
Rep. Tim Brown, MD, R-Crawfordsville, was selected by a panel of judges to receive the AMA's prestigious Dr. Nathan Davis Award at a ceremony Feb. 24 in Washington, D.C. Rep. Brown will be the recipient in the category Outstanding Member of a State Legislature.
Posted: February 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) has announced it will extend the meaningful use attestation deadline to April 30, 2015. Originally, the final date to submit was Feb. 28 for traditional attesters - with an alternate deadline of April 30 for those using the meaningful use flex option.
Posted: February 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
As of Feb. 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 121 cases of measles in 17 states, including Illinois and Michigan.
Posted: February 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in a national coverage determination earlier this month advised that Medicare will cover lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography, effective immediately.
Posted: February 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
With another tax-filing season, the ISMA reminds you to be alert for fraud and to contact the ISMA for assistance if you have been victimized by a tax scheme. Last year, scammers filed fraudulent federal and state income tax returns using physician names, addresses and Social Security numbers.
Posted: February 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
ISMA member Pam Galloway, MD, represented the ISMA during a press conference Feb. 9 at the Indiana Statehouse. Dr. Galloway spoke in support of SB 536 that would require only persons convicted of a drug crime to obtain a prescription for pseudoephedrine (PSE) for seven years.
Posted: February 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
If you are like most doctors, you have patients who become noncompliant because they cannot afford their medications. As drug costs soar, the problem has increased, but there are solutions. One of those you should be aware of is the Indiana Drug Card.
Posted: February 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
This month, consider reviewing changes in your documentation requirements and educating your staff by looking at frequently used ICD-9 and new ICD-10 codes. As a resource, the 2015 CMS ICD-10-CM files can be downloaded at no cost. They contain information on the new diagnosis coding system.
Posted: February 18, 2015, 8:00 pm
Gov. Mike Pence announced Jan. 27 that the state received approval from the federal government to use an updated version of the consumer-driven Healthy Indiana Plan or HIP 2.0, instead of Medicaid to offer health care access to uninsured Hoosiers. The Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) is now taking applications; coverage began Feb. 1.
Posted: February 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
Psychiatrist John J. Wernert, MD, was elected and planned to become the next ISMA president, but in June 2014 Gov. Pence tapped him to head the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA). After six months at the FSSA, Dr. Wernert wants his ISMA colleagues to know, "This is a new day. We have a governor who is committed to improving Hoosier health and willing to change things, but we need your help with solutions."
Posted: February 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
Beginning April 1, the surcharge rates on medical malpractice insurance for the Patient's Compensation Fund (PCF) will reflect an increase for physicians of 3.1 percent. Hospitals will see a 15.9 percent increase, according to the Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI).
Posted: February 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
For the first time in history, the federal Medicare program has set a timeline for reimbursement change, alerting physicians and other providers about an impending shift to payments based on value, not volume.
Posted: February 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
While the new year is still fresh, remember that 2015 brings a major shift for providers moving to Stage 2 meaningful use of their electronic health records (EHRs). 2015 is also the first year of payment adjustments based on program year 2013 meaningful use performance, and it's a full-calendar-year reporting period for all providers past their first participation year.
Posted: February 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
An issue brief from The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) offers a fact check that may change your thinking about Medicaid patients who use the ED (emergency department) around the nation and in your community.
Posted: February 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
Do you know the ISMA offers useful tools for you and your patients?
Posted: February 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
The Indiana Supreme Court on Jan. 26 approved the ISMA's request to appear as an amicus party (friend of the court) in the prescribing case Preferred Professional Insurance Company v. West, which was discussed in the ISMA Reports Jan. 26 cover story.
Posted: February 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
Marilyn Carter has joined the ISMA as director of Communications. She began her duties Jan. 26.
Posted: February 4, 2015, 8:00 pm
On Jan. 15, the ISMA requested permission from the Indiana Supreme Court to appear as an interested party in the case of Preferred Professional Insurance Company v. West.
Posted: January 26, 2015, 8:00 pm
Indiana's new opioid prescribing rule went into effect Nov. 6, 2014. As a reminder, tramadol (trade names include UltramR and UltracetR) is not yet addressed by the rule. Although tramadol became a federally scheduled drug on Aug. 18, 2014, the prescribing rule specifically states that tramadol has to be classified as a controlled substance under Indiana law before it will fall under the rule.
Posted: January 26, 2015, 8:00 pm
The ISMA extends all best wishes to ISMA Communications Director Adele Lash who retired Jan. 16 after 30 years of service to our physician organization. Adele's commitment and dedication in managing ISMA's convention, publications and media relations will be sorely missed by members, as well as her co-workers on staff.
Posted: January 26, 2015, 8:00 pm
The number of influenza deaths reported in Indiana this year has been higher than the total number of deaths reported for each of the past 10 years, and the flu season is only halfway through.
Posted: January 26, 2015, 8:00 pm
I'm seeing patient hospital stays referred to as "the customer experience." What do I need to know about patient satisfaction?
Posted: January 26, 2015, 8:00 pm
New data from the Indiana Department of Insurance indicate that payments from the Patient's Compensation Fund (PCF) increased from last year.
Posted: January 26, 2015, 8:00 pm
If you think of Hawaii as an ideal place to practice medicine, think again. A newly released report from Physicians Practice, an online practice management journal, lists the Aloha State as one of the worst for physicians to practice. New York, Maine, New Hampshire and Maryland also were among the worst.
Posted: January 26, 2015, 8:00 pm
Now is the time to consider your internal system design and test the reliability of your documentation and coding. Testing with vendors and getting timely feedback on the claims submitted are effective steps toward achieving success with your ICD-10 implementation goals.
Posted: January 26, 2015, 8:00 pm
Over the past year, the ISMA was busy protecting you from legal and regulatory pitfalls. Members tell us they rely on the state's largest physician organization to serve as their ally. As one member put it, "Right now, doctors need all the friends they can get!"
Posted: January 26, 2015, 8:00 pm
While you may not be interested in politics or public policy, you are interested in the well-being of your patients. The ISMA offers opportunities this time of year to preserve lives and improve health by talking to legislators about issues, just as members discussed epinephrine autoinjectors last session.
Posted: January 7, 2014, 8:00 pm
Every day, you make a difference in the lives of your patients and in the community in which you live. But as a volunteer for the Physician of the Day program at the Indiana Statehouse, you make a difference by increasing physician presence and influence among legislators.
Posted: January 7, 2014, 8:00 pm
Patients recovering from prescription and nonprescription drug abuse risk relapse when faced with surgery or other major medical procedures. In response, two physicians and a pain management clinician offer a tool to facilitate communication between the patient and physician.
Posted: January 7, 2014, 8:00 pm
If you are screening your patients for drug and alcohol use, make sure you include adolescents.
Posted: January 7, 2014, 8:00 pm
In February, Muncie orthopaedic surgeon Steven Herbst, MD, will join a group of health care providers on a medical mission trip to Guatemala. They will teach local physicians while providing hip, knee, foot and ankle reconstruction for people suffering from joint disease.
Posted: January 7, 2014, 8:00 pm
Authors of a recent Annals of Internal Medicine article urge doctors to make the Triple Aim into a Quadruple Aim this year by first improving their own work life. "Health care is a relationship between those who provide care and those who seek care, a relationship that can only thrive if it is symbiotic, benefiting both parties," they said.
Posted: January 7, 2014, 8:00 pm
The Indiana Health Coverage Programs (IHCP) is changing how member cards for individuals enrolled in Hoosier Healthwise are issued. Each managed care entity (MCE) will assume responsibility for supplying Hoosier Healthwise member ID cards for newly eligible Hoosier Healthwise members enrolled under a health plan, with changes coming in phases.
Posted: January 7, 2014, 8:00 pm
A little-known provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers good news for your patients who want to quit smoking. Under the ACA, non-grandfathered private health plans are required to cover tobacco-cessation counseling and intervention.
Posted: January 7, 2014, 8:00 pm
The ISMA Commission on Sports Medicine presented Fort Wayne physician Eric Jenkinson, MD, the 17th annual Team Physician of the Year award. The presentation was made in Indianapolis during the Athletic Trainers Association banquet.
Posted: January 7, 2014, 8:00 pm
Consider giving back to your community by donating time in one day to help high school athletes during sectionals.
Posted: January 7, 2014, 8:00 pm
High school students (junior, senior levels) and college undergrads interested in hands-on experiences in cancer research are invited to apply for the 2015 Summer Research Program at IU's Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.
Posted: January 7, 2014, 8:00 pm
Some Anthem-insured patients and their doctors faced serious issues during October and early November. Maybe your practice is among those that contacted the ISMA for assistance.
Posted: December 10, 2014, 8:00 pm
Starting in 2015, the ISMA Medicare/Medicaid Coalition will move to an annual meeting format, instead of every other month. The meeting will now occur during the ISMA Coding Symposium held each spring.
Posted: December 10, 2014, 8:00 pm
You can begin today to offer your uninsured and underinsured patients up to 75 percent off the retail price for FDA-approved brand and generic prescription medications. As residents of Indiana, your patients have access to a statewide Prescription Assistance Program, started in 2009, called the Indiana Drug Card.
Posted: December 10, 2014, 8:00 pm
The AMA held its 2014 interim meeting in November and among the 46 resolutions considered by the AMA House of Delegates were five submitted by the ISMA.
Posted: December 10, 2014, 8:00 pm
In the U.S., 259 million prescriptions were written in 2012 for pain medications, and 99 percent of the world's use of hydrocodone was here in our nation. In addition, diagnoses of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome increased three-fold from 2002 to 2009.
Posted: December 10, 2014, 8:00 pm
Q. What is the best way to avoid a billing dispute?
Posted: December 10, 2014, 8:00 pm
The next step in ICD-10 planning is understanding risk management and what it means for your practice. What is risk management?
Posted: December 10, 2014, 8:00 pm
The 2015 legislative session will soon be underway with opportunities for YOU to be the face of Indiana medicine - for one day.
Posted: December 10, 2014, 8:00 pm
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) announced Nov. 26 that future care for the state's aged, blind and disabled will be serviced by three Medicaid contractors: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, MDwise and Managed Health Services of Indiana. The entities will begin coordinating care starting next year for approximately 84,000 Medicaid recipients who qualify for the new Hoosier Care Connect (HCC) program.
Posted: December 10, 2014, 8:00 pm
An estimated 26 million Americans suffer from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), including at least 16 percent of teens. The ISMA, in response to Res. 14-16, adopted by the House of Delegates, offers a link to a fact sheet that can help you and your patients understand the causes of hearing loss and how to prevent it.
Posted: December 10, 2014, 8:00 pm
The last issue introduced you to ISMA member physicians who are practicing in a way that is different from traditional fee-for-service medicine.
Posted: November 12, 2014, 8:00 pm
The Medicare Physician Fee-for-Service final rules are in the Nov. 13 Federal Register. Read more about these items of note.
Posted: November 12, 2014, 8:00 pm
Copiers, especially newer ones, often have memories. Nancy Lorey, C.P.C., applications specialist with Bloomington's HealthLINC, advised that copiers are not the mindless devices you might have assumed they were.
Posted: November 12, 2014, 8:00 pm
Enrollment for federally facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace plans began Nov. 15. Insurers operating in Indiana jumped from four last year to nine this year; the number of plans the combined insurers offer has grown from 278 to 975. However, not every plan will be available in every county.
Posted: November 12, 2014, 8:00 pm
The transition to ICD-10 will affect nearly every part of your practice. You can let an impact assessment guide you down the path to ICD-10 by first identifying where you currently use ICD-9.
Posted: November 12, 2014, 8:00 pm
While vaccines are generally safe and well-tolerated, some patients may experience side effects. In such cases, the Indiana State Department of Health reminds you that under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, adverse events must be reported in the national Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
Posted: November 12, 2014, 8:00 pm
The 24th Annual Survey of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use by Indiana Children and Adolescents was conducted by the Indiana Prevention Resource Center at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington from January-April 2014, and shows alcohol use by children in grades 6-12 has continued to decline since 1993.
Posted: November 12, 2014, 8:00 pm
While intended to be educational and not legal advice, a recent ISMA-hosted webinar answered many questions about nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs).
Posted: November 12, 2014, 8:00 pm
If you're frustrated by declining reimbursement, complex insurance contracts and reduced time with patients, you may be looking at alternatives to traditional fee-for-service medicine. Perhaps you've considered transitioning to a direct pay, private medicine, concierge practice - or some hybrid model. Doctors coast-to-coast are thinking it over.
Posted: October 29, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nearly 800 people attended the Indiana Attorney General's 5th Annual Prescription Drug Abuse Symposium and that included physicians, law enforcement and other health care providers. With the focus on Indiana's new Opioid Prescribing Rules now in effect, several of your colleagues shared how they are implementing the rules in their own offices and clinics.
Posted: October 29, 2014, 8:00 pm