Congress postpones Medicare physician payment cuts to 2014
A cut in Medicare physician payments of almost 26.5 percent was averted when President Barack Obama signed H.R. 8 the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 on Wednesday. Earlier this week, the Senate voted 89-8 to approve the package, and the House of Representatives approved it by a vote of 257-167. Several health provisions are included in the package, including the extension of current Medicare physician payment rates through December 31, 2013, and a two-month delay of sequestration cuts (reducing Medicare payments by 2 percent and larger cuts to other health programs). Read more.
All 19 groups in Consumer Reports’ ratings
rank above national average
Consumer Reports magazine, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), last week published ratings of 19 medical groups in Wisconsin that voluntarily shared their performance data with WCHQ. All 19 groups ranked at or above the national average in Consumer Reports’ overall score, according to a WCHQ news release. Read more.
Drug monitoring exemptions no longer necessary
The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) is no longer requesting physicians and other health care professionals who do not dispense monitored prescription drugs to submit an exemption application for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). The PDMP and corresponding state law (2009 Wisconsin Act 362) require physicians and other health care professionals who dispense controlled substances II-V and Tramadol to collect and submit data to the PDMP. (The DSPS previously stated that exemption applications were requested by January 31, 2013.) Read more.
WMJ articles focus on obesity, healthy food
Two articles in the current issue of WMJ explore comprehensive approaches to addressing obesity by dealing with the root causes and trying to create or prescribe effective approaches toward healthy solutions. In one, a social-approach to diminish the incidence of overweight and obesity in Hispanic families in Waukesha County is outlined. The other moves the conversation to state-level food policy and efforts to change the economics of food. Read more.
Jan. 31 is deadline for filing electronic medical records credit requests
Physicians and other health care professionals who qualify for the Wisconsin Electronic Medical Records Credit must submit their certification requests to the Department of Revenue (DOR) by January 31. Because of the limited processing time, DOR strongly recommends electronic filing of the certification request (Schedule EM-C). Read more.
Honoring Choices Wisconsin on WCHQ Assembly agenda
Wisconsin Medical Society staff members Tim Bartholow, MD, and John Maycroft, MPP, will introduce Honoring Choices Wisconsin to the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) during its Assembly meeting on Tuesday, January 8. The Society launched Honoring Choices Wisconsin, a major initiative to build system change, advocacy and education around advance care planning, in September 2012. Read more.
Brown County Medical Society sponsoring Doctors in Recital
More than a dozen physicians are scheduled to perform during Doctors in Recital on January 19 in Green Bay. The Brown County Medical Society and Heid Music are lead sponsors of the fundraising event at the Meyer Theater. Read more.