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  • January 10, 2017

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  • Register TODAY for ISMIE’s Jan. 18 Session on Quality Payment Program Reporting

    webinarISMIE and the Illinois State Medical Society have developed a series of webinars to help you and your team continue your transition to new payment rules under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

    The latest, Quality Payment Program Reporting: Using Qualified Clinical Data Registries to Maximize Success, runs from noon to 1 p.m. on January 18 and features two health care quality experts from the American Medical Association – Kathy Blake, MD, MPH, Vice President of Health Care Quality, and Lance Mueller, Manager of Healthcare Quality.

    You’ll hear how your practice can use Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDRs) – CMS-approved entities that collect clinical data for the purpose of patient and disease tracking – to meet your Medicare program requirements and monitor performance throughout the year.

    ISMIE policyholders and their employed staff are invited to attend this webinar at no cost. All others may join for $150 per person.

    You won’t want to miss it. Register today!

  • Make a New Year’s Resolution to Enroll in the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program

    pmpThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 91 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. For the health of your patients and more effective risk management at your practice, consider enrolling in the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program(PMP). 

    The PMP is a voluntary, free online databasethat collects information on controlled substance prescriptions reported each day by Illinois retail pharmacies. All registered prescribers and dispensers of controlled substances are eligible to receive a user ID and password to query their patients' prescription histories.

    Here are four good reasons to register for the PMP, according to the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS):

    1. It’s now part of Illinois' controlled substance licensing process. All physicians will be asked to register in the PMP when they renew their controlled substance licenses this year. Renewal opens late this spring and concludes July 31, 2017.

    2. Your APNs and PAs may qualify for registration if you register first. Authorized mid-level health care professionals may be assigned access to the PMP. However, state rules require that a collaborating/supervising physician must enter this delegation authority into the PMP. If the collaborating physician is not enrolled in the PMP, advanced practice nurses (APNs) and physician assistants (PAs) won’t get access. Once a physician enrolls, they can sign in to the PMP and choose "PMP Collaborative Practice Agreement Registration" to allow their APNs and/or PAs to enroll. 

    3. To better understand your patients' prescription histories for therapeutic and clinical reasons. Records are viewable for 12 months and kept on record for two years.

    4. To help fight prescription drug abuse locally and nationally. The Illinois PMP and other prescription monitoring programs around the nation are seen as an important weapon against overprescribing opioid pain medications and a helpful tool to curb "doctor shopping" by patients seeking these substances. An ISMS case study explains more.

  • A Patient Has Brought an Animal Into Your Waiting Room. What Do You Do?

    risktipsIt could be man's best friend. It could even be man's best horse. But at a time when people are enlisting trained and untrained animals of all breeds and species as patient support animals, it's best for your team to be prepared. 

    That's because it might not be so easy to show Fido the door. 

    Understand some basic information first, and then consider a call to your practice's legal advisor for more specific guidance on the admission of patient support animals:

    • Start with the law. You may think all patient support animals are equal. They are not, at least under federal law. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) a service animal is defined as any dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks that are specifically related to an individual’s disability. Additionally, the ADA permits the use of a miniature horse so long as it has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, which oversees ADA enforcement, animals labeled as emotional support, therapy, comfort or companion animals fall outside the ADA’s service animal designation.

    • Know that it can get a bit hairy. As far as demanding Fido's official paperwork – well, the ADA doesn't require it. And state and local rules may have an impact. For example, the Illinois Attorney General's Office also points out that "businesses may not demand identification cards or make unnecessary inquiries about an individual's disability under any circumstances, including when a person is accompanied by a service animal." It adds that you may not ask the individual to remove the service animal from the premises unless the animal’s presence "fundamentally alters the goods, services, facilities or accommodations of your business" or the "animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others."

    Some communities and practices may be more animal-friendly than others. But the best time to set policy is before you receive a four-legged visitor. Consider asking a qualified legal advisor the following:

    • Can I create and share a practice policy on patient support animals?

    • If a patient calls and says they will be bringing a patient support animal to their appointment, what may I ask them?

    • May I tell a patient with a support animal where they can wait for their appointment once they arrive?

    • What should I tell other patients if they are concerned about the presence of a support animal in the waiting room or anywhere else at our facility?

    Questions? Call ISMIE Mutual’s legal department at 800-782-4767.  

  • TAIA: Hey, What’s Eating Them?

    gavelIs it just us, or is everyone playing with their food these days?

    Playing in court, we mean. 

    According to research from Perkins Coie's Food Litigation Group, the number of food and beverage class actions nationwide has gone from just 19 in 2008 to 158 in 2015. 

    That's a lot of allegedly over-iced lattes and underfilled bags of candy

    Why is the food and restaurant industry getting sued so much?  Some point to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2011 decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, which allowed companies to enforce arbitration clauses signed at the time of purchase by customers. 

    However, as most food and beverage transactions don't require a signed contract – at least for now – it's pretty tough to score a class action waiver from somebody in need of a quick caffeine fix. Result: one tasty litigation target. 

    And to think it all probably started with just one cup of hot coffee.

    To us, it's another big banquet for the plaintiffs' bar. One we don't find the least bit appetizing.