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Save the Date - Installation Brunch
Legislative Breakfast
Friday, May 8, 2015

VIVA
200 N Park Road
Wyomissing

6:30 am Breakfast Buffet Available
7:00 am-9:00 am
Program

Come out and meet our Legislators !
This event is free to members and friends,but please RSVP
610-375-6555 or email  info@berkscms.org

 

 

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We hope you enjoy this feature article from the latest Medical Record.  For more articles check out the Medical Record here, or read more featured articles online here.

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Legislative Update

Congressional Session Ending without SGR Repeal

The 113th congressional session is coming to an end, and without permanent repeal of the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) Medicare physician payment formula. There will be limited time after the new Congress convenes
next year — with the House only scheduled to be in session
for 37 days — before the current patch is set to expire on
March 31, 2015.

Without congressional action, the SGR formula calls for a 21 percent cut to physician payments when the current short-term patch expires. This is on top of the 2 percent sequestration cut that began in 2013, as well as the various penalties physicians may face for nonparticipation in various Medicare programs.

Earlier this year, Congress came close to passing bipartisan legislation — the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4015/S. 2000) — that would have permanently fixed the SGR crisis. But, despite strong advocacy for permanent repeal from many in the medical community, including PAMED, Congress passed their seventeenth temporary patch to avert the 24.1 percent cut that physicians were facing on March 31, 2014, as a result of the broken SGR formula.

But, once again, Congress failed to take action on the cuts physicians face next year due to the SGR.

“Hopefully, legislators will build on the progress made this year so that medicine can focus on addressing other important health care policy issues,” said the American Medical Association in an email alert.

Congress needs to avert these cuts and eliminate the formula that leads to this annual crisis. Physician payment reform would prevent a loss of $470 million for the care of the elderly and disabled patients in Pennsylvania alone.

Cuts of this magnitude will worsen access problems and make it extremely difficult for physicians to pay for office space and other expenses and avoid staff layoffs. Just in Pennsylvania, the jobs of 161,232 medical practice employees, as well as access to care for 2,350,558 Medicare patients and 168,228 Tricare patients, are at risk due to these cuts.

Check back often, and we’ll let you know how it’s going. As always, you can reach me with questions or comments at (717) 558-7814 or schadwick@pamedsoc.org

Lawmakers Off to a Quick Start

As I mentioned in last week’s post, the 2015-2016 session of the General Assembly technically began on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014, though lawmakers won’t actually meet and be sworn in until Jan. 6, 2015. That will be the first day on which House and Senate members can formally introduce bills.
However, many legislators are using the interlude to draft legislation and circulate it among their colleagues in search of co-sponsors. Back in the mid-1980s, when I was first elected to the House of Representatives, members would walk around the floor of the House asking fellow members to sign onto their bills as co-sponsors, but with the advent of personal computers and email the process is mostly done electronically now. Co-sponsorship memos are posted on the General Assembly website where anyone, including you and me, can read them.

This gives PAMED’s government affairs staff an opportunity to spot legislation of interest before it is actually introduced, and the benefits are obvious. For example, we can ask prospective bill sponsors to share their language with us, in the hopes of offering suggested improvements before the bill is formally introduced. Getting a change made that way is clearly preferable to seeking an amendment at a committee meeting or on the floor of the House or Senate.

We can also identify future legislation that, shall we say, will cause PAMED some degree of heartburn. If we can’t dissuade prospective bill sponsors or convince them to make needed changes before the bills are introduced, we can at least get a jump-start on planning our efforts to oppose them.

Here are three examples of already filed co-sponsorship memos that got my attention:

  1. Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks County) intends to introduce a bill that would “allow people with terminal disease to, under certain conditions, request a prescription for medicine that would end their life in a humane and dignified manner.” This is an issue that has been in the news recently due to the death of a terminally ill young woman in Oregon, who took advantage of that state’s law to end her life.
  2. You may recall that the General Assembly recently enacted legislation authorizing schools to obtain and store epinephrine auto-injectors for use by trained school employees to aid students who are experiencing an anaphylactic reaction. Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny County) is seeking co-sponsors for a bill that would allow restaurants to do the same thing.
  3. And, Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon County) has expressed his intention to reintroduce last session’s legislation that would authorize the prescription and use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

More co-sponsorship memos are circulated every day as House and Senate members seek to get a jump-start on the new legislative cycle, and PAMED’s government affairs team looks at every one of them. Check in with us often, and we’ll keep you up to date on all the latest developments.

As always, you can contact me with questions or comments at (717) 558-7814 or schadwick@pamedsoc.org.

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Please join us every Wednesday from 6:00-7:00 p.m. on WEEU 830 AM on your radio dial to hear high quality information about current medical topics from top professionals. Find out about the latest treatments and procedures Ask medical professionals your medical questions

Apr 01, 2015

"Update on Autism"

with host Charles Barbera, MD

Mar 25, 2015

"Colon Cancer"

with host Dr. Wilson, MD

Mar 18, 2015

"Lung Cancer"

with host Andrew Waxler, MD

Mar 11, 2015

"Common Skin Problems"

with host John Dethoff, MD

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The Medical Record

The Official Publication of the Berks County Medical Society.

Published quarterly, Medical Record is mailed to nearly 800 physicians throughout Berks County and is placed in nearly 1000 physician, hospital, dentist and beauty salon reception areas throughout the Greater Reading, Pennsylvania area. The Medical Record focuses on physicians, practice management issues, and general health care and wellness issues that impact the future of health care delivery and the general community.

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Special Events

Guts & Glory Digestive & Wellness Expo

Saturday, September 19, 2015

11 AM to 3 PM
First Energy Stadium, Reading

Brochure

(Rain date Sunday 20th, 2015)