RANSOMWARE ATTACKS TARGET PHYSICIAN PRACTICES: In the past cyber criminals have focused their activities on larger health care organizations such as hospitals for ransomware attacks. They have now expanded their scope of activity to include physician practices of all sizes since they find them easy targets. For more information on how to protect your office from these practice-paralyzing invasions, click here.
PDMP: The Prescription Drug Monitoring program is now law. The mandate to use the system is effective October 1, 2017, and 60 days after the Arizona Health-e Connection has integrated the PDMP data into the state health information exchange.
It’s important that you are fully informed about the law’s requirements and exemptions available. You can find more information here.
SCAMMERS CONTINUE TO FILE FALSE PHYSICIAN RETURNS: Physicians continue to be targeted under a tax return scam that began in 2014. ArMA reports more than 50 physicians have notified them that they have been victimized by the cyber scam. Some have been victimized more than once.
Under the scam, criminals us fraudulent federal income tax returns using physician names, addresses and Social Security numbers to file electronically for refunds.
If you are a victim, please contact PCMS Executive Director Bill Fearneyhough, firstname.lastname@example.org. He will forward your full name, home address and phone number to ArMA’s Chic Older. Older is working directly with Arizona IRS to monitor the situation.
LEGISLATURE ENDS SESSION: It’s over. The Legislature has now concluded its business for 2016. Before ending, however, two key measures were signed by the Governor: KidsCare was restored to 30,000 Arizona children and the Medical licensing Compact was signed. AHCCCS is expected to start taking KidsCare applications starting July 26. Coverage will begin Sept. 1.
MEANINGFUL USE EXEMPTION DEADLINE EXTENDED: The submission of "hardship" exemptions from meaningful use requirements has been extended to July 1, 2016, according to a recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announcement. All physiicians are uged to apply to avoid a possible 3 percent cut in Medicare payments in 2017. You can make application and find out more here.
HEALTH SURVEILLANCE REPORT: At the last PCMS Public Health Committee meeting, Pima County Health Department (PCHD) reported 2,065 influenza cases have been confirmed in Pima County, representing 22 percent of all confirmed cases in Arizona. PCHD is recommending physicians continue giving the flu shot.
Zika: PCHD is requesting any pregnant women who may have concerns about exposure to the Zika virus to make an appointment with her OB-GYN. Because of the similar geographic distribution and clinical presentation patients with symptoms consistent with Zika should also be evaluated for Dengue and Chikungunya virus infection.
The physician may contact PCHD epidemiology if testing is warranted by call 724-7797.
Shigellosis: The Arizona Department of Public Health Services says there has been an increase in confirmed and probable cases of Shigella. As of the end of January, there were 106 cases confirmed as compared to a historical mean of 24. Most cases have occured in Maricopa County, but Shigella has also been confirmed in six of Arizona’s 15 counties.
Shigellosis is a diarrheal disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Shigella causes about 500,000 cases of diarrhea in the United States each year.
Symptoms of shigellosis typically start 1–2 days after exposure and include:
- Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
- Abdominal pain
- Tenesmus (a painful sensation of needing to pass stools even when bowels are empty)
Treatment recommendations and other information can be found on CDC’s website here.
AAPS ENDORSES DR. KELLI WARD: The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has endorsed former Ariz. State Sen. Dr. Kelli Ward in her race against five-term Sen. John McCain. Ward was one of three physician candidates the organization is supporting during primary season. The others are: Dr. Pam Galloway of Indiana and Annette Teijeiro MD of Nevada.
KEEP AMB CONTACT INFO CURRENT: The Arizona Medical Board (AMB) is urging physicians to keep their contact information current. In an email, physicians were reminded of their statutory obligation to maintain their contact information with the Arizona Medical Board.
In part the email read: As your licensing agency, there are times when we need to contact you and/or send you reminders regarding the status of your license. For example, the Board does send an email reminder regarding your renewal deadline. It is imperative we have up-to-date information which will allow us to communicate directly with you. In order to facilitate communication between you and the Board, please take a moment to click on this link Online Change of Address (https://azdo.glsuite.us/glsuiteweb/clients/azbom/Private/changeaddress/login.aspx) to access your profile and update your contact information. Please see the statute below that requires you to report a change of address and allows for a penalty if this information is not maintained with the Board.
A. Each active licensee shall promptly and in writing inform the board of the licensee's current residence address, office address and telephone number and of each change in residence address, office address or telephone number that may later occur.
B. The board may assess the costs incurred by the board in locating a licensee and in addition a penalty of not to exceed one hundred dollars against a licensee who fails to comply with subsection a within thirty days from the date of change. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, monies collected pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited in the Arizona medical board fund.”
NOMINATE A COLLEAGUE FOR “PHYSICIAN OF THE YEAR”: A highlight of every PCMS/Alliance Stars on the Avenue event is the presentation of several recognition awards including “Physician of the Year.” If you would like to single out a colleague for the prestigious 2016 POY Award please forward a brief letter or email outlining why they should be 2015’s Physician of the Year and mail it to 5199 E. Farness Drive, Tucson, AZ 85712 or email to Executive Director Bill Fearneyhough at email@example.com. For more information call Bill at 795-7985.
WALK-WITH-A-DOC: The Society is teaming with the Arizona Chapter of the American College of Physicians (ACP) to host and provide physician leaders for the monthly Walk-With-A-Doc outings. Walkers sign in at the ramada east of Swan Bridge on the south bank.PCMS physicians are encouraged to urge patients to participate in the program. Each walk begins with a brief discussion on a health topic and includes a one- or two-mile walk on level ground. Please contact Dennis Carey at 795-7985 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or if you have questions.