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Ebola

Dear colleague,

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) continues to work with other U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other domestic and international partners in an international response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The attached document summarizes key messages about the outbreak and the response. It will be updated as new information becomes available and distributed regularly.

The following are updated guidance documents available: CDC/ASPR Checklists:

Webinar Recording Available on Ebola Preparedness for U.S. Health Care System

A recording of a recent webinar hosted by ASPR and CDC on Ebola Preparedness for the U.S. health care system is now available for viewing. The webinar focused on the Detailed Hospital Checklist for Ebola Preparedness (http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/hospital-checklist-ebola-preparedness.pdf), which highlights the activities that all hospitals can take to prepare for the possibility of a patient exposed to Ebola arriving for medical care. This information is especially useful for hospital emergency managers, infection control officers, hospital leadership, and clinical staff. The checklist provides practical and specific suggestions to ensure hospitals can detect possible Ebola cases, protect their employees, and respond appropriately.

CDC and ASPR encourage you to visit the CDC Ebola website for the most updated information on the 2014 Ebola response and to share this information with your colleagues and networks.

Sincerely,
Division of Health System Policy
HHS / ASPR / OPP
Thomas P. O’Neill Federal Building
200 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20024
eccc@hhs.gov

Key Messages

AMA Provides Blueprint to Improve the Meaningful Use Program: Blueprint Calls for Refocusing of Federal Health IT Policies to Benefit Both Patients and Physician Practices

The American Medical Association (AMA) October 14 released a blueprint for the future of the Meaningful Use program with recommendations to improve Electronic Health Record (EHR) functionality for physicians and improve care for patients. The blueprint was included in a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) ahead of the proposed rule for Stage 3 of the program.

The recommendations included in AMA's Meaningful Use blueprint include:

The blueprint also highlights many different ways that CMS and ONC could improve the current and future Meaningful Use program, including simplifying the certification process to improve interoperability and usability, which the AMA recently highlighted in its usability framework. As part of its recommendations to improve the program, the AMA is asking the Administration to make optional the objectives physicians are finding most challenging. These objectives include view, download and transmit, transitions of care, and secure messaging. In addition, the AMA recommends that CMS and ONC take the opportunity with Stage 3 to make the Meaningful Use program less primary care centric by expanding options within the health IT objectives to meet the needs of specialists and requiring physicians to meet no more than ten requirements.

The letter also reiterates AMA concerns with Stages 1 and 2 of the program, and offers recommendations for addressing the programs.

The AMA has been advocating for more flexibility in all stages of the Meaningful Use program to encourage physicians to continue to integrate electronic health records into their practices. That flexibility includes removing penalties for physicians who are making an effort to take part in Meaningful Use but are not meeting 100 percent of the program’s stringent requirements. The AMA recommends that physicians who meet at least 50 percent of the requirements in the current stages be able to avoid financial penalties and that Stage 3 include just ten required measures.

CMS Reopens Meaningful Use Hardship Exception

Due to significant pressure from the AMA, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the reopening of its meaningful use hardship exception application for physicians and hospitals to avoid the 2015 financial penalty. The new application deadline is Nov. 30.

The AMA encourages all physicians who are concerned about a potential penalty to apply for the hardship exception. Physicians new to the meaningful use program now can apply for a hardship exception to avoid this penalty if they missed the Oct. 1 attestation deadline. In addition, physicians who have participated in the program before and are prepared to attest by their Feb. 28, 2015, deadline may apply for a hardship exception as a fallback precaution to avoid the penalty.

Visit the AMA's meaningful use Web page for additional information.

Welcome New Members

Armington, Evan R., MD
Greenwood Orthopaedics, PC
Orthopaedic Surgery / Sports Medicine (ORS)
 
Burke, Brent C., MD
Community Anesthesia Associates
Anesthesiology
 
Kincy, Temeka R., MD
Resident – St. Vincent Hospital
Obstetrics & Gynecology
 
Lomibao, Frances J., MD
Fellowship – IU School of Medicine
Internal Medicine / Rheumatology
 
As president of IMS, I welcome you to membership into an organization representing you as physicians, your patients, and quality medical services since 1848. I encourage your participation in our IMS activities including meetings and written contributions to the Bulletin.

IMS can only be as energized as the members who comprise it, so reach out to your IMS colleagues and get to know them, as well as, our focus of collegiality and quality medical care.

David R. Diaz, MD, IMS President

If you want more information about our newest IMS members, visit them on our physician finder here. A simple search is all that is required.

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About IMS

The Indianapolis Medical Society was established in 1848. We are a professional membership organization for all licensed Doctors of Medicine and Doctors of Osteopathy in the Indianapolis area. Our offices are located at 631 E. New York St., Indianapolis, IN 46202-3706; our office hours are 8:00 to 4:30, Monday through Friday. Phones are answered 24/7 by the Medical Society Exchange.

If you are a physician and want additional information on becoming a member of our organization, please call (317) 639-3406 or E-Mail us: ims@imsonline.org. Please visit our membership page ... we want you to join us! For an application and other membership needs, use our easy online forms or download the information utilizing this link.

If you are a member of the general public and want to know if your physician is a member of Indianapolis Medical Society, or if you would like education information on your personal physician, please call (317) 639-3406 or E-Mail us: ims@imsonline.org or use our handy Physician Finder.

We also provide referrals to physicians using our staff and website physician finder. If you are new to our area or simply seeking a change of physicians, we are ready to help! Ask your physician if they are a member and if not, why not.

Additionally, our Commission on Professional Affairs reviews concerns from patients who might have questions about whether or not their treatment was ethical or appropriate.