Home»General»Monday Rx | December 17th, 2018 | Wishing You a Happy Holiday and New Year!

Monday Rx | December 17th, 2018 | Wishing You a Happy Holiday and New Year!

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As we enter the final throes of the year there is much to be optimistic about while we remain focused on issues that could impact providers and patients alike.

Blue Shield Collaboration 

LACMA President Dr. C. Freeman, board member Dr. Hector Flores, LACMA member Dr. Toni Johnson Chavis, Dr. Efrain Talamantes, Medical Director, AltaMed Center for Health Equity and I met with Dr. Greg Buchert, President and CEO of Blue Shield’s Promise Health Plan and Todd Walthall, Executive Vice President, Markets for Blue Shield, last week to talk about the Care1st Health Plan transition and how we can work together to address how to improve access to care, social determinants, financial options for providers and more.

Some background:

On January 1, 2019, Blue Shield of California will complete the integration of Care1st Health Plan into its operations, and Care1st’s name will change to Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan. The newly renamed health plan will remain a separate company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Blue Shield of California. Care1st physicians serving Medicare Advantage HMO, Medi-Cal or Cal MediConnect members will not need to contract with Blue Shield of California to continue providing services, and participating physicians will receive a mailed contract amendment later this year that reflects the name change. The contract amendment only refers to the name change and will not impact reimbursement rates or other material changes.

In addition, the migration of member and provider data to improve information-technology infrastructure will result in several changes requiring some action on the part of current Care1st network providers, including new provider ID numbers, member ID numbers and member ID cards, as well as changes to submission processes for encounter data.

Dr. Buchert, a CMA member for 27 years, has provided a Q&A for LACMA/CMA members to learn more about the transition – learn more here.

Recognizing LACMA’s President

In June 2019, LACMA’s President, Dr. C. Freeman, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2019 Champions of Health Awards hosted by the National Medical Fellowships Organization (NMF). NMF’s goal is to identify and nurture tomorrow’s diverse healthcare leaders, who will have the knowledge, skills, cultural competency and commitment to achieve health equity. NMF achieves this by providing scholarships, awards, and service-learning programs to underrepresented minority students in medicine and the health professions.

The Distinguished Alumni Award honors NMF alumni who have typified the NMF tradition of excellence by their personal accomplishment, professional achievement, or humanitarian service.

Congratulations, Dr. Freeman, on this much-deserved award and honor!

Pending Regulations Affecting Nuclear Medicine Physicians

LACMA President-Elect Dr. Sion Roy shared important news impacting nuclear medicine physicians:

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is requesting comments on its training and experience (T&E) requirements. Specifically, the NRC would like input on whether it should establish tailored T&E requirements for different categories of radiopharmaceuticals for which a written directive is required in accordance with its regulations. The input will be used to determine whether significant regulatory changes to the NRC’s T&E requirements for authorized users (AUs) are warranted.

NRC is considering lowering training requirements for authorized users of radiopharmaceuticals, specifically pertaining to administration of therapies. The argument is a postulated shortage of workforce in the future. However, this argument has been refuted by recent calculation of existing and future number of authorized users including 1500 active nuclear medicine board-certified physicians licensed within the last 10 years and much more existing authorized users if radiology graduates and radiation oncology graduates are considered (who are de facto authorized users after completion of residency training based on current NRC regulation).

Lowering of training requirements will have significant detrimental repercussions for the future practice of nuclear medicine and quality of care provided to patients. The NRC has publicly launched in this regard a request for comments from all stakeholders with the deadline of January 29th, 2019. This is an opportunity to voice concerns and provide feedback. NRC has posted in its federal register notice a list of questions it is trying to find answers to. The questions are also summarized in the attached word document. Stakeholders including physicians, patients, nurses, technologists, research personnel, the general public, etc. can provide feedback. Not all posed questions by NRC need to be answered. SNMMI, ACNM, ACR, ASTRO, and NMRO are working on official statements as well.

For more information, click here.

Assistance Available for Physicians Affected by the Wildfires

As the region and physician community continues to heal after the devastating Woolsey fire which devastated Ventura and Los Angeles Counties, there is additional help available for physicians who have lost practices. If your practice has been adversely affected by the fires, let me know as soon as possible. We will then share your needs with CMA’s Physicians for a Healthy California to determine what kind of financial assistance can be provided.

We are here to help.

2018 In Review

So how did LACMA do in 2018?  I will be sharing end of year results at this week’s board meeting and with all membership in early January. I want to take this opportunity to thank all providers for your unwavering dedication to patient care and thank members for your loyalty and leaders and staff for your steadfast leadership.

LACMA has seen significant gains this year and is poised for a historic 2019 regarding membership growth, retention, innovation, financial strength and thought leadership.

Please have a look at some highlights from this year:
I hope you all enjoy a happy holiday and wish you all the best for a great 2019 and beyond!

Gustavo Friederichsen
Chief Executive Officer
Los Angeles County Medical Association
“If it matters to our LACMA members, it matters to me.”

CME Programs


WHEN: March 21 to 23, 2019
WHERE: Waldorf Astoria, Las Vegas
3752 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Click here for more information.

This two-and-a-half-day symposium has been designed by experts in the field of hematologic malignancies and affords the conference attendee specialized educational tracks for both physicians and nurses, providing an opportunity to learn about the most recent advances in the treatment of bone marrow transplant, multiple myeloma, lymphoma and leukemia.

For questions contact: cme@coh.org or 626-218-5622.

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