Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ABMS Plans to Launch Hospital Medicine Board Certification

Modern Healthcare reports that the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) plans to launch a five-year pilot program offering physicians board certification in hospital medicine.

After obtaining certification as internists, physicians would seek hospital medicine certification before their 10-year internal medicine certification expires.

The new certification would focus on knowledge and skills obtained through practice in the hospital setting.

Source: Modern Healthcare

Public Plan Cut from Senate Finance Bill; House Vote Expected in November

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee voted to eliminate the public health plan from the health reform bill. Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and 4 Democrats joined the Committee's 10 Republicans in striking the plan from the bill.

Chairman Baucus acknowledged that a public option would pressure private insurance companies into offering high-quality, affordable coverage. However, he recognized that a bill with a government plan may not garner enough final votes to pass in the Senate. Instead of a public option, the Senate Finance Committee bill includes the creation of non-profit co-operatives which would compete with private insurers.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee's bill still includes the public option. Both Committees' proposals must be reconciled into a single bill before a full Senate vote.

Meanwhile in the House, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that he expects a bill to be completed for review in October. However, both he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have agreed not to rush the bill to the floor for a vote, implying that a full House vote may not take place until November.

Sources: CQ, CongressDaily

Friday, September 25, 2009

CMS Approves Continued Recognition of AOA Deeming Authority for Ambulatory Surgical Centers

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved continued recognition of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) as a national accreditation program for ambulatory surgical centers seeking participation in Medicare or Medicaid.

Organizations with deeming authority have accreditation standards that meet or exceed Medicare requirements.

The AOA's renewed deeming authority runs from October 23, 2009 to October 23, 2013.

CMS' announcement can be found in the September 25 issue of the Federal Register:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Doctor Sues Georgetown University for Defamation and Breach of Contract

Dr. Carlos F. Gomez, medical director of the D.C. Pediatric Palliative Care Collaboration is suing Georgetown University for $1.25 million after he was denied staff privileges.

Gomez claims that Georgetown sought him to become a member of the medical staff despite the known fact that he had a past history of substance abuse. Gomez's complaint states that Georgetown rejected his credentialing application in August 2008 "imput[ing] that Dr. Gomez's history of substance abuse had caused harm to his patients." Gomez denies the claim and said that he had been sober for five years and had no malpractice or disciplinary actions against him when he applied to Georgetown.

The two parties settled in January, with Georgetown agreeing to keep his file confidential and to report that privileges were denied based on questions of Dr. Gomez's clinical competency due to his time away from practice.

Gomez claims that Georgetown violated this agreement by reporting to the NPDB that his privileges were denied due to a "diversion of controlled substances."

From an MSP perspective, it will be interesting to see how this case is ruled. We deal with denied applications all the time, but it is surprising to see the alleged settlement reached between the parties and the subsequent NPDB report that stems from this case.

Source: Washington Business Journal

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Introduces Health Reform Bill

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) has introduced the America's Healthy Future Act of 2009. It is scheduled for a full Committee markup on September 22, where Democrats hope to obtain more Republican support.

The bill offers initiatives that will help all Americans meet the requirement of having health coverage, such as the expansion of Medicaid and the creation of state co-operatives to provide consumers with options outside of private insurers. Employers would not be required to provide coverage to workers; however, employers who have 50 or more workers and do not offer coverage by 2013 will have to reimburse the government for every full-time worker receiving tax benefits through the government's health care exchange system.

The $856 billion to fund coverage will be obtained through initiatives such as reductions in Medicare and Medicaid spending; taxes on insurers offering high-cost, high-premium health plans; and fees on providers such as device manufacturers.

The bill overs various changes to the Medicare and Medicaid systems that are intended to increase efficiency, lower costs, and maintain a level of quality and care.

Health Care Quality Improvements

The bill directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a national strategic plan for improving the quality of care. The strategy will focus on goals such as reducing medical errors, maintaining hospital infection-control, addressing preventable hospital admissions, and an overall look at increasing efficiency and quality in the healthcare system.

In order to prioritize these strategies, the Secretary of HHS will seek the input of various stakeholders in the healthcare system including representatives of hospitals, physicians, credentialing and accrediting bodies, allied health professions, health plans, and other industries.

A copy of the Chairman's mark-up can be found here:

Source: BNA

Introducing New Changes to the NAMSS Blog!

New Subject-Matter Expert

NAMSS would like to introduce Carole La Pine, MSA, CPMSM, CPCS as the new subject-matter expert of the NAMSS Blog. As subject-matter expert, Carole will be working with the NAMSS Executive Office to identify issues of interest to MSPs that will be featured on the NAMSS Blog. Carole will also be available to respond to questions posted in the comment fields, another new feature of the NAMSS Blog.

Carole is the Manager of Physician Services at Trinity Health. She was previously the Director of the Credentialing Department for Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, a 4-hospital system in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Carole has been in the medical services profession for greater than 30 years. She has experience in a university hospital setting, single hospital environment, Independent Physician Association, Physician-Hospital Organization and in a multi-facility health system.

Carole has served in a number of leadership positions in the Michigan Association Medical Staff Services, including President. She has served as a member and Chair of the Certification Commission of NAMSS and as President of NAMSS in 2007.

New Comment Field

You are now able to post comments to any blog item. We hope that you use the comment field as a way to discuss the latest policy issues with NAMSS and with your colleagues nationwide. A link to add comments will appear under each post.We encourage you to post comments, questions, or your personal perspective on issues addressed in the blog.

Please note that all incoming comments will be moderated, so comments that may be disrespectful to others, irrelevant to the issue at hand, or may be misinterpreted as a NAMSS position will not appear on the blog.

New Look

We have also changed the look of the NAMSS Blog to make it easier to read. As always, we welcome any comments, questions, or news tips at

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Last Call for MS.1.20 Comments; New FAQ on Standard

All comments on The Joint Commission's task force revision of Standard MS.1.20 (now MS.01.01.01) should be submitted by September 30, 2009. Because of NAMSS' involvement on the task force, our membership has been given the opportunity to comment on the standard before it is released for a full field review.

Copies of the 2007 standard and the task force's proposed revision can be found here (Members Only, requires log-in):

Comments can be submitted using the following survey link, or by e-mail to

FAQ on MS.1.20: