News from Washington
CMS Issues Final Rule on The Medicare Shared Savings Program:Accountable Care Organizations
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule on The Medicare Shared Savings Program: Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), a new type of health-care entity created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The Medicare Shared Savings Program will provide incentives for participating health-care providers who agree to work together and become accountable for coordinating care for patients. Providers who work together through this model and who meet certain quality standards based upon patient outcomes, care coordination and other measures, may share in the savings they achieve for the Medicare program. Read more.
ASH Submits Comments on Proposed Revisions to Rules Protecting Human Research Subjects
ASH responded to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that proposes various ways of enhancing the regulations overseeing research on human subjects. The Society's comments focused on proposals to: streamline IRB review of multi-site studies by establishing a central or national IRB for multi-site trials; improve informed consent by shortening and simplifying patient consent forms; improve the collection and analysis of adverse event data through the establishment of a central database for the reporting of adverse events; and harmonize existing policies and regulations on clinical trial operations among various HHS agencies. Read more.
ASH Updates on Drug Shortages
ASH Meets with Top Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to Discuss the Need to Address Drug Shortages
ASH Committee on Practice Chair Lawrence A. Solberg Jr., MD, PhD, met with Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS, Howard K. Koh MD, MPH, and other HHS officials, to discuss the Society's concerns regarding the increasing number of critical drug shortages and ASH's recommendations on strategies to combat the issue.
Dr. Solberg identified needs that should be addressed to improve the critical situation in the short term, including: identifying and providing additional information and protections for a short list of essential drugs; improving communication between providers, manufacturers and the FDA; protecting drugs that are currently being used in clinical trials; and assuring Medicare coverage of alternative drugs. Read more about ASH's advocacy efforts related to drug shortages, the latest information on hematologic drug shortages, and resources for physicians.
News from Medicare
CMS to Host National Provider Call on PQRS & eRx Incentive Program on November 8
CMS will host a national provider call on the Physician Quality Reporting System & Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program on Tuesday, November 8, from 1:30 – 3:00 pm ET. A question and answer session will follow the presentation. Registration is required to participate.
CMS Innovation Advisors Program
The CMS Innovation Center recently announced a new program to deepen the capacity for health-care system transformation by creating a network of experts who will assist CMS in improving the delivery system for Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries. The Innovation Advisors Program will select and develop as many as 200 individuals from across the nation in its first year. The first group of Innovation Advisors will start their six-month intensive orientation and applied research period in December 2011. The deadline to submit applications is November 15, 2011. More information is available on the ASH website.
CMS Announces Final ACO Accelerated Development Learning Session
CMS Administrator, Donald Berwick, MD, will speak at the final ACO Accelerated Development Learning Session at CMS Headquarters in Baltimore, MD, on November 17-18. The session is designed to teach providers interested in becoming ACOs what steps they can take to improve care delivery and how to develop an action plan for moving toward providing better coordinated care. Registration is required.
Medicare Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Payment Adjustments Begin January 1, 2012
CMS and its contractors are attempting to send letters and call physicians who they believe may be subject to the 2012 Medicare e-prescribing penalty to remind them to apply for an exemption by November 1, 2011 to avoid the penalty. Physicians, however, should not wait for a letter or a call from CMS to apply for an exemption. If a physician is unsure whether he or she successfully participated in the e-prescribing program, they should apply for an exemption by November 1. For more information, please review the AMA fact sheet about how to apply for an exemption. For additional information on the CMS eRx Incentive Program, visit the CMS website.
News & Information from ASH
Register for ASH's November Webinar on Pain in Sickle Cell Disease
Registration is open for the ASH Webinar on Pain in Sickle Cell Disease, scheduled for November 14 at 8:00 p.m. EST. This webinar will focus on the biology and pathophysiology of pain in sickle cell disease, the management of acute painful crises including new approaches to pain crisis treatment, and the patient experience of pain. Speakers include Jennifer Haythornthwaite, PhD, Wally Smith, MD, Carlton Haywood, PhD, and Tim McCavit, MD. For more information or to register, visit www.hematology.org/webinars.
ASH Annual Meeting: Practice-Related Events You Will Want to Attend
This year's ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego, CA (December 10-13), has several practice-focused events on Saturday, December 10, that you should plan to attend, includingthe Practice Forum: How to Prepare Your Practice for ACOs and Other Payment and Health Reforms, the Practice Forum Reception, and the Special Symposium: Quality Indicators: Examples and Relevance to Hematology. Read more.
ASH Announces First Consultative Hematology Course; Register Today
ASH is pleased to announce the Society's first Consultative Hematology Course. This special session, developed for community based hematologist-oncologists, will be offered during the 2011 ASH Annual Meeting in San Diego, on Monday, December 12, from 7:30 – 11:30 a.m. Utilizing an interactive, case-based format, the course is designed to provide updates in non-malignant hematology to community practitioners who were trained as hematologist-oncologists, but who now see patients with non-malignant hematologic disorders on a less frequent basis. Expert faculty will provide participants with updates in six different areas and opportunities for Q&A. For more information or to register, visit www.hematology.org/Practice/7093.aspx.
Earn CME Credits from Blood
ASH, in partnership with Medscape, provides monthly opportunities to earn Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits by completing an Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) accredited activity in Blood. This month's activity is titled “Intravenous iron for the treatment of fatigue in nonanemic, premenopausal women with low serum ferritin concentration.”
Hear Top Experts Present at the Only Official Highlights of ASH®
The 2012 Highlights of ASH program is designed to allow practitioners, academicians, fellows, and allied health professionals the opportunity to discuss some of the most rapidly evolving developments in the field of hematology. Don't miss the chance to network with colleagues and gain new practice strategies while you discuss the most influential scientific discoveries from the ASH annual meeting.
North America (Registration is now open)
January 20-21:Austin, TX,* and Orlando, FL
January 27-28:Atlanta, GA, and Las Vegas, NV
February 3-4:New York, NY, and San Francisco, CA
* Simultaneous translation into Spanish will be available at the meeting in Austin, TX. Visit www.hematology.org/highlights to request a headset in advance of the meeting.
Asia (Registration is now open)
March 3-4: Singapore
Latin America (Registration opens December 7)
May 18-19: Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil*
* Simultaneous translation into Spanish and Portuguese will be available.
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