New in TMA Law Guide: Guidance on Drug Testing Law

From the Tennessee Medical Association website:

In 2017, the Tennessee General Assembly passed a law requiring a licensed healthcare facility or other healthcare employer to report a positive confirmed drug test or a refusal to submit to a drug test of a healthcare practitioner to the appropriate licensing board. 

Healthcare practitioners, including physicians, who test positive on an employer-administered drug screen or refuse to submit to testing violate the act.

The practitioner’s employer is required to report this to the appropriate licensing board unless the practitioner produces a lawful prescription for the drug OR reports to the peer assistance program recommended by his/her licensing board within three days of the positive drug screen.

A detailed review of this law and its requirements are discussed in our Law Guide, Urine Drug Testing(Member Login Required)


Can Organized Medicine Become Relevant Again?

From Medscape,

There was a time, more than half a century ago, when organized medicine played a key role in physicians' lives and held enormous sway over US healthcare policy-making.

Three quarters of physicians were simultaneously members of their county and state medical societies and the American Medical Association (AMA).[1]They spent many hours of their free time in these three groups, dealing with clinical learning, running for elected offices, holding forums, and hammering out positions on all kinds of issues.

For most physicians, that era is long gone. Now, a much smaller percentage of doctors belong to the AMA or county societies, and they're more likely to join specialty societies than any other organization.

Specialty societies enjoy very high membership rates and don't seem to have a problem staying relevant to doctors. However, each specialty society has developed its own particular position on healthcare issues, replacing the once unified voice of the House of Medicine with a chorus of sometimes conflicting views.

Meanwhile, doctors seem to be following the growing trend among all Americans of moving away from groups. The 2000 book Bowling Alone, by Robert D. Putnam, demonstrated this trend by showing that even as the number of bowlers continued to rise, the number of people in bowling leagues had markedly fallen.

Click here to read more including CHCMS CEO Rae Young Bond's take on the future of organized medicine. 


Customizable MIPS tool helps physicians build QPP strategy

From AMA Newswire website:

How physicians participate and perform in 2017 will affect their Medicare payment rates in 2019, yet a recent survey found that most physicians don’t consider themselves deeply knowledgeable about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) new Quality Payment Program (QPP).

The AMA has acted on the findings by providing QPP resources on how to participate, avoid penalties and succeed, particularly under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track. A new customizable resource, the MIPS Action Plan, helps physicians choose and implement a practice QPP strategy, fulfill regulatory requirements, avoid federal penalties and have an opportunity for performance-based incentive payments.

Access the MIPS Action Plan here

Contact TMA About Medicare Revalidation Issues

From the Tennessee Medical Association website:

Medicare participating providers are required to revalidate their enrollment with Medicare every five years. The Affordable Care Act established new screening requirements for new and existing providers. As a result, providers in Tennessee have been required to revalidate through Cahaba GBA, the MAC for Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, throughout the last few years.

For physicians who have not recently submitted a revalidation form through Cahaba, you can check your revalidation due date on the CMS website through its lookup tool. The data in this list is updated regularly.

TMA has recently heard from several practices who have experienced issues with revalidation, either through an error in Cahaba’s system or through an inadvertent clerical mistake on the revalidation form. In some cases these errors have resulted in the physician’s Medicare number being terminated or Medicare claims being denied or pended. It often takes months for Cahaba to fix the issue, if it is fixed at all.

If a physician in your practice has experienced similar revalidation issues, please contact the TMA Legal Department at TMA has an Escalated Inquiry Process for handling hassles with Cahaba GBA.