Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) is excited to offer the latest in news and announcments from the Academy and our many partners, collaborators, colleagues, and friends. Whether it be communicating the latest updates in Family Medicine or raising awareness of the value and importance of Family Medicine to the general public, we are committed to the highest quality of news at your fingertips.
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News & Announcements
Finding solutions to mitigate the surprise medical billing issue is on the radar of legislators at both the state and federal level. This week, the Michigan House Health Policy Committee held a hearing on a package of bills that call for mandating out-of-network providers to notify patients of services at least 14 days prior to a procedure or during surgical consultation. Out-of-network providers would also be required to accept the average negotiated rate between the health plan and the provider, or up to 150% of Medicare rates. The legislation is opposed by most healthcare professional groups, who agree patients must be protected but contend the bills are built on an unsustainable payment model, increase the potential for out-of-network services, and apply to a too-broad scope of specialties.
As the 2019-2020 flu season gets underway, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention release coverage estimates from last year. Among the highlights: nationally, more adults and children were immunized against the flu in 2018-2019 than in 2017-2018. That was not the case in Michigan, however, where just over half of adults and less than half of children received the influenza vaccine last year.
On October 9, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a proposed rule that seeks to add new, permanent exceptions to the Stark Law for physicians participating in value-based care models. Enacted in 1989, the Stark Law prohibits physicians from making referrals for certain services reimbursable by Medicare if he/she or an immediate family member has a financial relationship with the entity performing the referred service.
The Health Can’t Wait coalition, spearheaded by Michigan State Medical Society and of which MAFP is a founding member, has been working hard during 2019 to educate state lawmakers about how the current prior authorization process puts patients’ health at risk. Your voice and the voices of patients are needed to amplify the Health Can't Wait message. The coalition is calling on physicians to take three actions to help change the prior authorization requirements to protect the health and well-being of your patients.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the state’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget on September 29—in time to prevent a government shutdown—vetoing an unprecedented number of 147 line items totaling $947 million in spending cuts. On the chopping block is MIDOCS—a new loan repayment program, entering its second year, that places medical residents in primary care specialties in underserved areas of the state. Governor Whitmer initially proposed reducing MIDOCS funding from its FY 2019 level of $3.5 million to $1.3 million in FY 2020, due to a lower than anticipated inaugural cohort, while the legislative conference committee recommended increasing funding to $3.75 million. It is yet to be seen how MIDOCS will fare through the supplemental budget negotiations underway between the Governor and legislative leaders.
During the two and one-half days of AAFP’s 2019 Congress of Delegates (COD) convention in Philadelphia, MAFP Delegates David Walsworth, MD, FAAFP (East Lansing) and Robert Jackson, MD, MMM, FAAFP (Allen Park) and Alternate Delegates Tina Tanner, MD, FAAFP (Montague) and Loretta Leja, MD (Cheboygan) took active roles in helping shape AAFP policy. Also in attendance from Michigan were Harshini Jayasuriya, MD, FAAFP (Holt), who served as the Minority Constituency Delegate, as well as members of the MAFP leadership and staff, and other MAFP members speaking on their own behalf. MAFP was successful in receiving support for seven proposed resolutions.
The Whitmer administration and Legislature continued to negotiate details of the state's Fiscal Year 2020 budget this week. On September 19, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services House and Senate Conference Committee passed a compromise budget that shifts money for Healthy Michigan Plan and reduces funding for MIDOCS, while preserving level funding for GME and the Michigan State Loan Repayment Program, as well as maintaining Medicaid primary care physician reimbursement rates.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services filed the final set of emergency rules that prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and vaping juices in our state. The rules are effective immediately and retailers have 14 days to remove banned products from their inventory. MAFP submitted a letter and testified in support of the ban before the Michigan House Oversight Committee.
On September 4, Michigan became the first state in the nation to place a ban on flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products. MAFP applauds Governor Gretchen Whitmer's bold actions to protect the state's youth from the harmful effects of using such products and devices, which range from increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and chronic lung disease, to niccotine addiction and impaired brain development.
In October, MAFP is launching a new mentorship pilot program designed by the Member Engagement Committee to facilitate the one-one-one exchange of knowledge, expertise, guidance, and support between members. The application for the 2020 cohort will be open beginning October 15 through November 8.