Archive for November, 2015

Recruitment for 2016 Georgia Academy Leadership!

To:       GAFP Colleague (Active, Life, Resident, Medical Student)

From:   Mitzi Rubin, MD, FAAFP – President Elect

One of the most important roles serving as your President for this upcoming year is appointing the Committee members for 2016.  I am soliciting your interest in participating on one of the Georgia Academy’s committees for next year.

I ask that you only volunteer to be nominated if you can attend either in person or by phone all 3 meetings in 2016.  Although several committees meet more than 3 times a year, here are the dates for the 2016 Committee Conclaves:

Saturday, March 5 – Pine Mountain, GA (Callaway Gardens)

Thursday, June 9 – Hilton Head, SC (in conjunction with the GAFP Summer CME Meeting at Omni Hotel)

Saturday, August 6 – Lake Lanier Island, GA (Legacy Lodge)

I appreciate your consideration of service with your colleagues on a committee.  We are only strong with many voices of family medicine working together.

Committee membership will be held to no more than 15 members. For most committees, this will include one slot for a resident and a medical student. The expectation is that each member selected for a committee will have the ability to 1) attend the three committee conclave meetings, 2) respond to emails, and 3) review committee materials and be ready to offer advice and guidance.

There will also be Working Groups that will be larger groups that meet for a shorter time period to assist in Georgia Academy programs.

Following is a list of the opportunities for service. We encourage your interest and participation as this is certainly an important and pivotal time for family medicine. We are only as strong as the commitment and involvement of our members.

Education and Research Committee (15 members): This committee is responsible for all the educational activities of the Georgia Academy, including the annual and summer meeting, as well as our national GO! Diabetes project and the education for the Patient Centered Medical Home University.

Summer Meeting Working Group (unlimited members): This working group will meet from February – June and the focus will be on the development of the education and programming of the Summer CME meeting which will be held at the Omni Hilton Head Hotel (June 9-12). This group will develop the agenda, review all educational content, and volunteer to serve as meeting moderators and hosts.

Finance Committee (15 members): This committee reviews the financials including staff benefits and the budget. It also makes recommendations to the Board on financial policies.

Legislative Committee (15 members): This committee oversees all advocacy and legislative activities and recommends action to the Board to assure representation of family medicine and our patients.

State Legislative Session Working Group (unlimited members): This working group will meet weekly by phone from January – March to review the policy priorities of the Georgia Academy along with receiving updates on the activities of the Georgia General Assembly. Areas of focus will include the State Budget (Medicaid, Public Health), Tort Reform, Insurance Initiatives, Public Safety, Medical Education, Georgia Board Physician Workforce Funding of Family Medicine Residency Programs and Scope of Practice.

Membership Services Committee (15 members): This committee has the responsibility for membership recruitment and retention, overview of leadership development, as well as, for all local and national award nominations. This committee is also tasked with monitoring the communications to our members.

Practice Management Committee (15 members): The Practice Management Committee monitors insurance policies and issues that affect the business of family medicine. It also works on practice transformation and the patient centered medical home. The committee is continually monitoring new payment models and works to educate our membership on patient centered medical home, accountable care organizations, Medical Advantage plans and other business models.

Public Health Committee (15 members): This committee works to improve the health and welfare of our state’s citizens by assisting Georgia’s Department of Public Health in their mission. The Georgia Academy has an ongoing contractual relationship with the Department of Public Health that is overseen by this committee.

Student and Resident Recruitment (15 members) – 6 active/life members, 3 students, 3 residents) This Committee promotes family medicine to our Georgia medical students, pre-medical and high school students as well as looks for areas to support family medicine physicians-in-training.

Committee Membership Application

Please return the following form by fax to 404-321-7450 or by email to Alesa McArthur

Name: ______________________________________________________________________

I am a:  ____Medical Student      ____Resident       ____Family Physician

I would like to serve on the______________________________ Committee in 2016.

____I can attend all 3 committee dates (either in person or by phone).

____I cannot attend all three committee dates, I can attend ______of the meetings.

My talents and expertise that will assist the committee are:



If I am not selected for my committee of choice. I would like to be considered for the _______________ Committee.

I would also like to volunteer for a Working Group (list the Working Group):_________________________________

Tell Congress to Hit Pause on Meaningful Use Stage Three

From AAFP News, find the original article at

October 23, 2015 03:45 pm News Staff – Although CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology issued the final rule( implementing meaningful use (MU) stage three of the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record incentive programs this month, there’s still time for Congress to hit the brakes.

The AAFP has built a Speak Out tool to help family physicians demand that their representatives do just that. More than 1,900 Academy members have called for a pause in MU stage three through the Speak Out already. Their messages can be expected to find an attentive audience in Washington, where senators and more than 100 House members had asked for a delay just before the final stage three rule was issued.

The message to legislators spells out the fact that MU stage three requirements make it more difficult for physicians to maintain the high standards their patients expect. If allowed to stand, the requirements will impose “significant financial strains” on practices without doing much to improve the quality of patient care.

“The meaningful use program has departed from its original goals and has devolved into a clunky and complicated process, undermined by interoperability, growing administrative burdens and unrealistic incentive requirements,” reads the message to legislators.

Already, the number of physicians who have attested to MU has fallen dramatically, the message tells legislators. Fewer than 10 percent of physicians have attested to stage two, and 43 percent will face a penalty in 2015.

To keep from driving even more physicians from the program, Congress must pass legislation to delay MU stage three until it is refocused to help physicians improve their care for patients.

“Today, we find ourselves at a pivotal point in the health care transformation process,” reads the message to legislators, “and it is essential that we make choices that facilitate transformation and avoid those that present obstacles.”

2016 Board of Directors Elected

The GAFP Congress of Delegates elected the following members to serve on the Board of Directors.  Thank you leaders for agreeing to serve in 2016:

Office Nomination City


President-Elect* Eddie Richardson, MD Eatonton


Vice President Donald Fordham, MD Demorest


Secretary Michelle Cooke, MD Atlanta


Speaker** Chip Cowart, MD Statesboro


Vice Speaker** Samuel “Le” Church, MD Hiawassee


Director, District 2 Michael Satchell, MD Albany


Director, District 3 Beverley Ann Townsend, MD Midland


Director, District 4 Jada Moore Ruffin, MD Stone Mountain


Director, District 9 Carl McCurdy, MD Jasper


Director, District 10 Sean Lynch, DO Augusta


Director, District 11 Adrienne Mims, MD Atlanta


Alternate, District 2 Jimi Malik, MD Albany


Alternate, District 3 Nicole Haynes, MD Franklin


Alternate, District 7 C. Thomas Bevill, III, MD Cartersville


Alternate, District 9 Islam Eltarawy, MD Canton


Alternate, District 10 Jennifer Herbert, MD Augusta


Alternate, District 11 Elvan Daniels, MD Atlanta


AAFP Delegate Leonard Reeves, MD Rome


AAFP Alternate Delegate Bruce LeClair, MD Evans


*President Elect automatically becomes President in November 2016 and Board Chair in November 2017.

**Speaker and Vice Speaker nominations are for the 2016 Congress of Delegates.

“Buying In” to Health Information Technology

By Tina-Marie Spellman, MHA

For many small physician practices, the leap to cyber space and Electronic Health Records has been a big step. Interestingly, more than 25% of Georgia physicians have not yet implemented Electronic Health Records in their practice.  If you are one of these late adopters, or if you are unhappy with your current billing and practice management system, here are several things to consider in your strategic plan for 2016.

  1. Not all vendors are the same.  Look for a vendor that offers a completely integrated system, and can be designed for your specialty.
  2. There are two types of systems.  Cloud based or Server based.  Cloud based is the most attractive because it can be accessed from anywhere.  It is safe and secure through certified encryption, and your data is stored off site from your medical facility.  Usually, the data is stored in at least two places so that there is a disaster plan in place to recover your data if it is necessary.
  3. Training is a very important part of the total package you purchase.  It’s not enough to have initial training.  Look for a company that will continue to provide training to your physicians and staff as changes happen in the software and in the reporting requirements.
  4. Updates are also an area to consider.  A Cloud based software will have automatic updates, versus paying the vendor to send you a software update and then paying an IT person to install the update on your system.
  5. Customer service and response time is imperative.  You cannot take care of your patients if you have system problems that go unresolved.  Look for A+ rated companies in the area of customer service.
  6. Consultants can help you determine your needs and then offer several system demonstrations that meet your criteria.
  7. The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) reports the average cost per full-time equivalent physician for Health Information Technology (includes billing, electronic health records, and all health related technology) to be $20,693.

If you are still not convinced you need electronic health records, consider that in 2014, 40% of Commercial Health Plan products started moving toward outcomes based payments.  Can you and your staff meet the criteria for reporting on patient outcomes while still using a paper method?  Health information technology can improve the quality of patient care by improving records management, workflow optimization, and HIPAA compliance.  The Medical Group Management Association states that by 2017, CMS will use Patient Quality Reporting Data (PQRS) and Value Based Payment Modifier (VBPM) to modify payments for all groups and solo practitioners.

But how can you absorb more cost into an already downward spiraling profit margin?  By creating a patient focused system within your office and using the technology you purchase to its full potential.  There is redundancy and inefficiency in medical practices that can be improved with the right training and the right technology.  Use your technology to perform those tasks that can be done by the technology, and use your staff to be more patient focused, allowing you to ensure happy, healthy, and satisfied patients and a healthy bottom line to your practice.

Tina-Marie Spellman, MHA is a Senior Business Consultant with Accu-Med Revenue Solutions, LLC.  She can be reached at (678) 787-3596 or

Why You SHOULD Be Paying Attention to PQRS NOW!

If you’re not currently focusing on the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) program, you need to.  FAST!  October 31 is the deadline for FREE support being offered to eligible professionals by GAFP in cooperation with Alliant Quality.

Have you subscribed to PQRS Listserv?  Are you familiar with QCDR?  Do you know how to avoid the 2017 negative payment adjustment?  Are you familiar with GPRO registration?  If you don’t know the answers to these questions, YOU need to register now for this free assistance.

PQRS reporting has become a mandate for providers who receive Medicare payments.  Providers who fail to report PQRS data across a series of quality measures will be hit with an automatic penalty.  Penalties can grow even higher due to the Value-Based Modifier (VM) program which relies on PQRS data to assess both quality and cost of care provided.

Enrolling for this free support and assistance is easy!

To get started in the enrollment process, please complete a short needs assessment via this link and a team member will follow-up with enrollment forms:

For further questions related to enrollment, contact Deanna Kauten at GAFP at 404.321.7445 or email Alliant Quality task leader at: