Archive for June, 2015

GAFP All Member Town Hall Meeting – Tuesday, July 7 – 6:00 pm

The Board of Directors approved piloting two “All Member Town Hall Meetings” that will be held via webinar/conference call.  The first Town Hall will be held on Tuesday, July 7th at 6:00 pm.

Please go ahead and register for this meeting which will be held as a webinar/conference call:

Topics will include: 
– Supreme Court Decisions – The ACA and Georgia 
– Life after SGR – Future of Medicare Payments 
– Key Tips and Tools to Implement Medicare Care Coordination Codes 
– State Advocacy – Georgia Academy Successes – and Next Steps 
– Questions from the Members

Five Facts about ICD-10

To help dispel some of the myths surrounding ICD-10, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently talked with providers to identify common misperceptions about the transition to ICD-10. These five facts address some of the common questions and concerns CMS has heard about ICD-10:

  1. The ICD-10 transition date is October 1, 2015.
    The government, payers, and large providers alike have made a substantial investment in ICD-10. This cost will rise if the transition is delayed, and further ICD-10 delays will lead to an unnecessary rise in health care costs. Get ready now for ICD-10.
  2. You don’t have to use 68,000 codes.
    Your practice does not use all 13,000 diagnosis codes available in ICD-9. Nor will it be required to use the 68,000 codes that ICD-10 offers. As you do now, your practice will use a very small subset of the codes.
  3. You will use a similar process to look up ICD-10 codes that you use with ICD-9.
    Increasing the number of diagnosis codes does not necessarily make ICD-10 harder to use. As with ICD-9, an alphabetic index and electronic tools are available to help you with code selection.
  4. Outpatient and office procedure codes aren’t changing.
    The transition to ICD-10 for diagnosis coding and inpatient procedure coding does not affect the use of CPT for outpatient and office coding. Your practice will continue to use CPT.
  5. All Medicare fee-for-service providers have the opportunity to conduct testing with CMS before the ICD-10 transition.
    Your practice or clearinghouse can conduct acknowledgement testing at any time with your Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC). Testing will ensure you can submit claims with ICD-10 codes. During a special “acknowledgement testing” week to be held in June 2015, you will have access to real-time help desk support. Contact your MAC for details about testing plans and opportunities.

Keep Up to Date on ICD-10
Visit the CMS ICD-10 website for the latest news and resources to help you prepare.

GAFP 2015 Student and Resident Awards

Congratulations to the 2015 recipients of the T. A. Sappington Award. This prestigious award is given to student members who have demonstrated their commitment to family medicine by choosing to attend a Georgia Family Medicine Residency Program.

This year we recognize:

  • Rebecca Doris Jones from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee who is planning to attend the Atlanta Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program.
  • John McCaskey from the Medical College of Georgia at GRU Augusta who plans to attend the Floyd Family Medicine Residency Program in Rome.
  • Shad Stormant from Mercer University School of Medicine who be attending the Medical School of Central Georgia Family Medicine Residency Program in Macon.
  • Davon Thomas from the Morehouse School of Medicine who will attend the Atlanta Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program in Atlanta.
  • Amethyst Wilder from the Mercer University School of Medicine in Savannah who will be attending the Memorial Health Family Medicine Residency Program in Savannah.

Best of luck to the Sappington winners as they transition to residency programs in Georgia.

Congratulations goes out to Phil Carter, MD, who was voted to be the GAFP Resident of the Year for his hard work and dedication to family medicine at Floyd Family Medicine Residency Program.  According to Dr. Frank DonDiego, his Program Director, Dr. Carter performs in the top 20% of his class, is rated very highly as a teacher by the medical student rotation as well as by other residents, and he is the resident with the highest in-training exam score for his class each year.

Dr. Carter is also highly involved in the community in that he volunteers at the Rome Free Clinic, participates in sports physicals at the local high schools and participates as the sideline physician for one of the local high schools.  And, that’s just local to the Rome area.  Dr. Carter serves on GAFP’s Board of Directors as a Resident Board Member in his second year, and is active on the Student and Resident Committee this year.  Last, but most certainly not least, he has attended the AAFP National Conference for Students and Residents as the Rome residency representative for the past two years.

This year, the GAFP Keith Ellis Award winner for Chief/Co-Chief Resident goes to Jason Varghese, MD from the Medical College of Georgia at GRU Family Medicine Residency Program in Augusta, who, according to his Program Director, Dr. Julie Dahl-Smith, devotes outstanding leadership skills in Family Medicine both at GRU and in the community.  She states that “he is held in highest regard by the community, patients, peers and faculty.  Truly an outstanding resident!”

Among his many activities and accomplishments other than chief resident includes his work with the Resident Recruitment Committee, Quality Assurance Committee, Electronic Health Records Task Force, Program Educational Committee and the Resident Support Group.  He attended the AAFP’s Chief Resident Leadership Conference as well.  Congratulations, Dr. Varghese!

Request Hardship Exception to EHR Incentive Program — Now

From AAFP News, June 08, 2015 10:06 am Sheri Porter – Want to avoid a cut in your Medicare pay next year? Certain family physicians should take heed of this fast-approaching summer deadline: July 1, 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Medicare-participating physicians who are considered “eligible professionals” by Medicare — and who did not successfully participate in the Medicare EHR (Electronic Health Record) Incentive Program in 2014 — have just few weeks left to ask CMS for a hardship exception( and avoid a 2 percent cut in their Medicare payments beginning Jan. 1.

To file a hardship application,( a physician must

  • show proof of circumstances beyond his or her control, and
  • outline how the situation significantly impaired his or her ability to meeting meaningful use of an EHR.

Steven Waldren, M.D., director of the AAFP’s Center for eHealth Innovation, stressed that family physicians can apply for a hardship exception and still try to attain meaningful use status.

“Even if you think there’s a possibility you could achieve meaningful use, go ahead and apply for the exception if you meet the requirements,” Waldren advised. “Just because you put in a hardship exception application doesn’t mean that you can’t still try to attest; the two actions are not mutually exclusive.”

CMS strongly recommends that hardship applications and supporting documentation be sent electronically to avoid processing delays. Specifically, the documents should be submitted as email attachments to Note, too, that all documentation is required at the time of submission; additional documentation will not be accepted.

In the event electronic submission is not possible, the application and supporting documentation can be faxed to (814) 456-7132.

CMS will notify physicians by email regarding application decisions. Decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

The hardship exception applies only to the 2016 penalty; a new application must be submitted for hardship exceptions for subsequent years.

CMS points out that physicians who successfully demonstrated meaningful use of certified EHR technology in 2014 for either the Medicare or Medicaid incentive programs are exempt from the penalty and can ignore the hardship exception deadline.

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Drs. George Arimah, Karla Booker, Srinivas Bramhadevi, Karen Bullington, Mike Busman, Chip Cowart, Mark L. Daniel, H. Gordan Davis, Chastity R. Ducksworth, Clifford Dunn, Kim Eubanks, Tom Fausett, D. Paul Fieseler, Gary Fischer, Edwin Flournoy, Jairaj Goberdhan, Julia Hendrich, Wayne Hoffman, Matthew L. Jenkins, Evelyn Johnson, Bruce LeClair, James Lemley, Steven Lucks, Sean Lynch, Ronald McLean, Rolf Meinhold, Michael Miles, Thomas J. Miller, Harold Moore, Kerry Neises, Brian Nadolne, Ifechukwude Nwadei, Chetan Patel, Sherma Peter, Wilhelmina Prinssen, Eddie Richardson, Rodrigo Sanchez, Ted Scoggins, Vandana Setia, George Shannon, Susan Shayes, Michael Sims, David Sowell, Jeff Stone, Donald Thomas, Rachel Gordon Velez, John Vu, W. Steven Wilson, Rick Wherry.

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