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News Briefs: Week of April 4-8
By News Staff
Legislation Eliminating Health Law's 1099 Provision Heads to President's Desk
Under the Affordable Care Act, all businesses, starting in January 2012, are required to issue a 1099 tax form to any individual or corporation from whom they buy more than $600 in goods or services in any individual tax year. Currently, 1099 forms are issued only to individuals and not corporations.
The provision had caused considerable consternation among family physicians because of the likelihood that it would lead to additional paperwork and a significant economic burden.
CMS Sticks to April 1 Enforcement Date for Home Health Face-to-Face Rule
The agency's decision came despite efforts by a coalition of national health organizations (5-page PDF; About PDFs), including the Academy, who urged CMS to delay enforcement of the rule to allow for more time to educate physicians about its requirements.
Answers to frequently asked questions about the rule are available in a March 11 posting to Family Practice Management's "Getting Paid" blog.
Medicaid Physicians in California Face Deep Rate Cuts
The measure, A.B. 97, is intended to cut $11.2 billion from the state's $26.6 billion budget deficit. The legislation reduces funding for health and human services in the state by $6 billion, $1.7 billion of which comes from MediCal, the state's Medicaid program.
Download Free Preventive Services Reference Charts
"The ABCs of Providing the Initial Preventive Physical Examination" (2-page PDF; About PDFs) provides Medicare fee-for-service providers a list of the elements of the initial preventive exam and includes coverage and coding information.
"The ABCs of Providing the Annual Wellness Visit" (3-page PDF; About PDFs) lists the elements of the annual wellness visit and provides physicians with coverage and coding information.
The "Preventive Services" quick reference chart (3-page PDF; About PDFs) gives physicians and other Medicare fee-for-service providers a snapshot of coverage, coding and payment information on a variety of preventive services covered by Medicare, including screenings for cardiovascular disease and diabetes; medical nutrition therapy, and administration of vaccines, such as seasonal influenza vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine and hepatitis B vaccine.
FPs Now Can Access TRICARE Formulary Data Using Epocrates
The new feature includes information about which drugs require prior authorization, a list of preferred medications segmented by three tiers of cost-sharing and pricing options. With point-of-care access to the list of preferred medications, for example, physicians can quickly determine the most affordable prescription options for their patients.
The AAFP offers members discounts on Epocrates software subscriptions (Members Only). Subscribers -- whether they use the application online or on a mobile device -- can simply check an onscreen box to access the TRICARE formulary. Previously, they had to consult the TRICARE website or a paper pamphlet.
FDA Upgrades Web Page on Recalls, Withdrawals
Search results now are provided in the form of a table with information organized by date, product brand name, product description, reason for the recall and the recalling firm. Search results also include a link to the news release associated with each recall for more detailed information.
"Recalls, mandatory or otherwise, are serious, and we must do everything possible to make it easier for people to know about these recalls so they can take all appropriate steps to protect themselves and their families," said Mike Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods, said in an April 4 news release.
Patient Safety Education Is Focus of New Quality Initiative
The Best Practices for Better Care initiative has enlisted more than 200 medical schools, teaching hospitals and health systems to educate new physicians and physicians-to-be on the importance of patient safety and quality practices. Together, those institutions represent 12 percent of hospital admissions nationwide and train nearly 41 percent of the nation's physicians.
Among the initiative's goals are decreasing hospital readmissions, reducing infections, and engaging in research to develop and share best practices for improving patient care.
During the first phase of the multiyear initiative, the participating medical schools, hospitals and health systems have committed to teaching quality and patient safety from day one to future physicians and to researching, evaluating and sharing new and improved practices.
CDC Suggests Steps Physicians Can Take to Help Reduce Teen Pregnancies
The report offers steps that parents, caregivers, communities and teenagers themselves can do to reduce a teen birth rate that is nearly three times higher than Canada's and four or more times higher than rates in several European countries. The agency said health care providers should take the following steps:
- provide teen-friendly, culturally appropriate services for sexual and reproductive health;
- increase the availability of birth control to sexually active teens and provide instruction on using methods consistently and correctly; and
- offer teens long-acting reversible birth control (e.g., intrauterine devices and long-acting implants).
CMS Forum Focuses on PQRS and e-Rx Incentive Program Successes
According to CMS' announcement about the forum (2-page PDF; About PDFs), physicians should call (800) 837-1935 to participate; at the operator's prompt, use conference ID number 44767416.