Welcome

David E. Hald, MD
NSMA President 2013-2014

Every Nevadan is affected in some way by the members of the NSMA. They are not only your physicians, but your neighbors, friends and advocates in the health care delivery system.

Nevada physicians organized into a state medical society in 1875. As the state's oldest and largest physician advocacy group, today's NSMA mission remains consistent with those pioneer doctors: to serve the practice and professional needs of Nevada physicians so they can serve the needs of their patients. Our diverse membership includes practicing physicians and surgeons, medical researchers, educational faculty and institutional administrators.

Though this site has information restricted to our membership, there is also much information available for the public and the health care community. Development of this site and available resources will continue to expand, so bookmark the NSMA and come back often!

We are proud to represent organized medicine in Nevada, and proud to be your physicians of the Nevada State Medical Association. Is your physician a member?

New State Laws to Clear up Patient Confusion

Last month two states passed legislation that should provide increased clarity and transparency for patients trying to discern the qualifications of their health care professionals, bringing the total number of states with similar laws to 18.

West Virginia and Utah passed bills requiring clinicians to wear name tags that identify the clinician’s name and license type during direct patient encounters. Both laws, and the 17 others previously passed in other states, were based on AMA model state legislation, part of the AMA’s Truth in Advertising campaign launched in 2009.

Utah’s bill also prohibits deceptive or misleading representations by a health care professional, and makes it unlawful conduct for someone to wear a misleading ID during a patient encounter.

With an ever-growing variety of health care choices, patients deserve to know who provides their health care. Patients strongly support a physician-led health care team, but AMA surveys  demonstrate that many are confused about the level of education and training of the people who provide their care. Currently, patients mistake physicians with non-physician clinicians, and many do not know that certain medical specialists are physicians.

Source: AMA

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Join NEMPAC Today

The NSMA leadership, volunteers and lobby team are developing strategies to defend the practice of medicine and improve the quality of Nevada’s medical care.  Success in the legislature and in regulatory arenas requires the election of legislators and state officers who support physician issues.  Join NEMPAC today to participate in the candidate endorsement process at the annual meeting.

Call the NSMA office at (775) 825-6788 to join and read the NEMPAC Flyer for more information.

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AMA Impact Study

Each physician in the United States supports 13.84 jobs on average and contributes $2.2 million in economic output, underscoring how physicians influence the health of both their patients and the economy, according to the AMA’s new Economic Impact Study. The study, prepared by IMS Health and released this week, focused on the roughly 720,000 physicians who primarily engage in patient care activities, as opposed to those who focus on research or teaching. Nationally, these physicians support $1.6 trillion in total economic output—that’s $2.2 million per physician—and 10 million jobs.

Nevada’s physicians support almost 50,000 jobs across the state!

Source: AMA

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Meaningful Use Exemptions

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has expanded the means of qualifying for  meaningful use exemptions as listed below:

•  The physician’s software vendor is unable to achieve 2014 Edition certification, the most recently added hardship exemption

•  The physician can’t get sufficient Internet access or faces other infrastructure barriers

•  The physician is newly practicing and has not had enough time to establish meaningful use, in which case the physician can apply for a two-year exception

•  The physician is practicing at multiple locations and has no control over the availability of certified EHR technology for more than one-half of patient encounters

•  A natural disaster or other unforeseeable circumstance occurs

•  A physician hasn’t had enough patient interactions to meet the threshold requirements

More information can be found on the AMA’s website: Meaningful Use Exemptions.

Source: AMA

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Free HIPAA risk assessment tool can help ensure compliance

Physicians in small to mid-sized practices can conduct their own risk assessments using a free tool newly available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The security risk assessment (SRA) tool is designed to help practices conduct and document a risk assessment to evaluate potential security risks in their organizations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule. Conducting an SRA also is a core requirement for physicians seeking payment through the federal meaningful use program for electronic health records.

Physicians can watch a tutorial and other videos about risk analysis and contingency planning to provide further context. The assessment tool is available through the Apple App Store (search for “HHS SRA tool”) for use on iPads, and can be downloaded onto computers running Windows operating systems.

HIPAA regulations were updated last year in what were called the “most sweeping changes” since the law was implemented. The AMA offers free resources to help physicians ensure their practices are HIPAA-compliant, including a new HIPAA toolkit and an associated continuing medical education activity.

Source: American Medical Association

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Study on Danger of Home Births

A recently released American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology study examined neonatal mortality rates for births by birth setting and birth attendant (hospital physician, hospital midwife, freestanding birth center midwife, and home midwife). Among the study’s findings:

·         Midwife home births had a significantly higher nearly 4-fold total neonatal mortality risk when compared to those delivered by hospital midwives as well as a significantly higher nearly 7-fold early neonatal mortality risk when compared to those delivered by hospital midwives.

·         Midwife home births of women with a first birth had a significantly higher nearly 7-fold risk of total neonatal mortality than those by hospital midwives and a neonatal mortality over twice that of those with a subsequent birth.

·         Midwife home births ≥41 weeks had a significantly higher nearly 7-fold risk of total neonatal mortality than those delivered by hospital midwives.

·         Midwife home births of women with a first birth had a significantly higher 13- to 14-fold risk of early neonatal mortality than those by hospital midwives and an early neonatal mortality nearly 3 times that of those with a subsequent birth.

·         Midwife home births ≥41 weeks had a significantly higher nearly 10-fold risk of early neonatal mortality than those delivered by hospital midwives

The study also found a higher neonatal mortality rate for hospital physicians when compared to hospital midwives, which the study attributed to the fact that hospital physicians deliver a higher risk population than hospital midwives and deliver patients with complications transferred from the hospital midwifery service to the hospital physician service.

A New York Times article covering the study can be found here: Link.

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Searchable, Physician Specific Medicaid Claims Data

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted searchable, physician-specific Medicare claims data on its web site.  The spreadsheet files show for each physician their NPI, name and address, average charge and Medicare payment amounts, unique beneficiary counts, and other information for the various Medicare services they provide.  This decision was likely made to deal with a tidal wave of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the data that the agency felt could not be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Link to CMS data release web page:

https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Provider-Charge-Data/Physician-and-Other-Supplier.html

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POLST Coalition

The Nevada POLST Coalition, a group representing an array of healthcare providers and patient advocates, after many years of dedicated effort and successful legislation announces the Nevada POLST Program with the introduction of its website: Nevada POLST  (www.nevadapolst.org). The POLST Program is a process  to assure treatment wishes of those with life-limiting, serious illness and frailty are honored. Key to the process is the POLST form. Health care providers discuss the goals of treatment with their patients then complete the POLST form, translating patient treatment goals and wishes into specific medical orders.

POLST, originally introduced in Oregon in 1991, differs from Advanced Directives and is intended for use by the severely ill or frail.  POLST forms may be by ordered by  health care professionals here.

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Annual Meeting

2014 NSMA Annual Meeting

Mark your calendars now for the 110th NSMA Annual Meeting, April 25-27, 2014, at Lake Las Vegas. Room reservations must be made by March 25, 2014.

Please call the local hotel number, 702.567.4700, and specify you are attending the Nevada State Medical Association meeting to reserve your room.  Please do not use online providers or 800 numbers, as those will not count toward the NSMA room block.

Download the program and registration information here.

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Medicare Patch

Last night, the Senate passed H.R. 4302, the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014,” which postpones the 24 percent Medicare physician payment cut for 12 months, until April 1, 2015.  Although many Senators spoke against passing this 17th Medicare payment patch, the Senate vote was 64 to 35.  (Sixty votes were needed for passage.)  The House passed an identical version of the bill by voice vote on March 27, and President Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law.

Over the past year, bipartisan, bicameral policy was developed to eliminate SGR and reform the Medicare physician payment system, which is strongly supported by the AMA and over 600 medical organizations.  The AMA will continue to urge Congress to return to the bipartisan process that produced the unprecedented agreement on Medicare physician payment and delivery system reform.

A summary of H.R. 4302 can be found here.

Source: AMA

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