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  • September 19, 2017

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  • Governor’s Signature Delivers Significant Consumer Protections Against ‘Narrow Networks’

    doctors and patients talkingOn Friday, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Network Adequacy and Transparency Act – the NAT Act – ensuring important protections for patients who have struggled with the “narrowing” of their physician networks in Illinois.

    Initiated by the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS), the NAT Act is aimed at consumers who purchase state-regulated private health plans. Increasingly, health insurers have been cutting costs by offering plans with a limited range of physicians and hospitals. The rise of these "narrow network" plans has resulted in a dramatic reduction in access to health care in our state. 

    The new law requires health insurers to make sure their networks meet patients’ needs, maintain updated provider directories and notify patients if a hospital or doctor is dropped from their network to help prevent surprise out-of-network charges. Finally, the NAT Act will allow pregnant women or patients with complex conditions to stay with their doctor long enough to make a smooth transition without extra charges.

    Click here to view ISMS’ end-of-session report, which provides a full overview of the NAT Act (see page 11).

  • Massive Equifax Breach Begs a Question: Who’s Watching Your Wallet?

    person looking at the equifax websiteOn September 7, credit reporting agency Equifax dropped a bombshell. Back on July 29, the firm discovered “unauthorized access” to data including “names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some instances, driver’s license numbers” for some 143 million customers.

    Last Thursday, amid consumer and media complaints about Equifax’s responsiveness, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made the rare public announcement that it had launched an investigation into the massive data breach.

    So what should you do? Some suggestions for protecting your personal finances from potential I.D. theft:

    • Download your three credit reports today. Equifax is only one of the three major U.S. credit reporting firms that collect your data. The other two are Experian and TransUnion. Before you do anything else, download your latest credit reports from each agency and check for irregularities. By law, you have the right to one free credit report every 12 months from each agency through this credit agency-sponsored site: annualcreditreport.com. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also has additional information about your access to free credit data.

    • If you work with a financial advisor, call them next. A qualified advisor who already knows your personal finances can offer valuable input on the Equifax breach, particularly if you’re in the midst of borrowing for any major purchase.

    • Consider a credit freeze. This means telling each credit agency to restrict all access to your credit report until you require that freeze be lifted. It essentially prevents anyone who has your data – including legitimate lenders - from accessing your credit information. You must reach out individually to each agency to do this, and a warning – media reports indicate call volume is heavy, and Illinois residents may pay a $10 fee for each freeze if they cannot confirm they have been an actual victim of ID theft or have protected consumer status.

    One last thing: Pay attention to the news. The massive size of this breach – and how the credit industry and its regulators respond to it in the coming days – may suggest other steps you should take. We’ll provide updates in ISMIE Newsas appropriate.

  • Act Now! Early Bird Registration Ends Oct. 1 for the ISMIE Risk Management Symposium

    medical symbolsOne of the top educational events in health care risk management is right around the corner, and you have only a few days left to save money on registration. 

    October 1 is the early bird registration deadline for the Nov. 17 ISMIE Risk Management Symposium, to be held at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont from 8:30 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.

    The 2nd annual symposium is free to all ISMIE-insured physicians and clinicians; a $99 early-bird rate ($199 after October 1) is available to employed staff of ISMIE policyholders. Early registration for all other physicians, clinicians, practice administrators and risk managers is $399 ($499 after October 1).

    A limited number of rooms are available at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare for a conference rate starting at $149. Click here to book a room.

    “Emerging Risks” is the theme, focusing on changing care models, genetic testing, opioid abuse, polypharmacy, cyber security and health IT. Click here for this year’s speakers, agenda and FAQs.

    For more information on the symposium, call the ISMIE risk management department at 800-782-4767 or email riskmanagement@ismie.com.

    Register here.

    And don’t miss the rest of ISMIE’s live events this fall: 

    September 28, 2017 | Noon – 3 p.m. | Seminar Fellowship Fundamentals: Communications

    October 4, 2017 | 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Seminar Pediatric Care in 2017 and Beyond: New Risks and Opportunities

    October 10, 2017 | 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. | Seminar Optimizing Communication Surrounding the Hospitalized Patient

    October 26, 2017 | 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. | Seminar Professional Liability Litigation: Finding the Support You Need

    November 2, 2017 | 9 a.m. – Noon | Seminar Dissecting Diagnostic Error

    November 28, 2017 | 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Seminar Communications for Staff: The Keys to Building Trust and Improving the Patient Experience

  • Strike a Blow Against Prescription Drug Abuse - The Next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Oct. 28

    proper drug disposalA patient arrives at the front desk asking you or a staff member to dispose of their leftover prescriptions. If you’re not a licensed collector, you can’t accept.

    But here’s what you can do.

    Suggest that your patients participate on the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 28.

    Since 2010, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has mobilized local police and government employees to establish legal and efficient disposal systems for expired or unneeded prescription and non-prescription medications.

    After October 1, the DEA’s website will list local collection sites your patients can use the day of the event.

    Take back days have made a real difference in reducing expired or unused prescription medications left in home medicine cabinets, a major driver of prescription drug abuse among teens and our country’s opioid epidemic. The last take back event in April produced the following results in Illinois:

    • Active collection sites statewide: 146
    • Participating law enforcement departments: 153
    • Total weight of drugs collected: Nearly 22 tons (43,408 pounds, to be exact)

    You can also remind patients there are other year-round options available for disposal in their communities. Many law enforcement agencies and pharmacies offer disposal drop boxes. Click here to view Illinois disposal locations.

    ISMIE and our partners at the Illinois State Medical Society offer free patient resources promoting medication disposal and the upcoming take back day. If you’d like to know more, email us

  • Want to Relax and Save Money This Holiday Season? Start Working on Your Managing Risk Coursework Now

    doctor doing work by the waterYes, now! Don’t miss your chance at substantial premium savings and some of the best medical liability education in the industry through ISMIE’s Managing Risk program. 

    Your participation offers a very attractive benefit – up to 15% off your premium if you complete your annual coursework by December 31.

    If you haven’t checked your 2017 qualifying coursework to receive your Risk Rewards discount, start here. Once you determine what coursework you still need to complete, know that the ISMIE Managing Risk support team is here to help with any questions you have.

    If you have questions on your Managing Risk status, please contact the ISMIE risk management by email or by calling 800-782-4767.

  • They're at it Again...Tipping the Scales

    In a lawsuit filed last month in Cook County Circuit Court, an Illinois man alleged that he bought a $2.49 bag of Starburst candy with a per-serving calorie count of 130 on the front. Yet when he flipped the bag over, the per-serving count in the nutritional label stood at 140. 

    How did he respond?  With a lawsuit of course!

    The plaintiff demands that manufacturer Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. and its parent Mars cough up actual and punitive damages and lawyers' fees, and cut off further sales of the chewy sweet with its allegedly inconsistent labeling. 

    We’ve heard of counting calories, but this is ridiculous.