NEWS

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  • 20 Apr 2017 11:14 AM | Anonymous
    photo


    Volunteer to Serve on an AOA Bureau, Council or Committee Today!


    I encourage all members of the osteopathic professional family and AOA affiliate groups to submit applications of interest to serve on an AOA Bureau, Council or Committee.

    The AOA bureaus, councils, and committees are one of the AOA’s most important governance bodies. Apply now to serve in an AOA leadership position in 2017.

    All submissions must be received by Sunday, May 14.

    Should you have any questions send an email to nominations@osteopathic.org and enter “Query in the subject line. If you are appointed to serve you will be notified via email in August 2017.

    Sincerely,

    Mark A. Baker, DO
    AOA President-elect

    142 E. Ontario St., Chicago, IL 60611 | Unsubscribe |  Osteopathic.org
     


  • 15 Feb 2017 1:38 PM | Anonymous

    Position Statement

    Senate Bill 184

    February 14, 2017

    The West Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association, which is the leading organization representing the 1,265 licensed osteopathic physicians in the state, is opposed to SB 184 which will privatize the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg. The bill gives away over $120 million in taxpayer cash and property to a corporate entity with little or no protections. Tuition for prospective in-state students could double.  

    Over many years, the state and WVSOM students have invested millions of dollars into the school’s buildings, curriculum and its mission to provide primary care physicians to fill gaps in West Virginia’s network of providers.

    The association has major concerns about the proposal to privatize the school:

    ·         Various stakeholders have not been consulted by persons promoting the privatization plan.

    ·         No business plan has been presented to stakeholders that demonstrates the financial success of the school if it were privatized.

    ·         The school has allowed many West Virginians to receive affordable medical education, which otherwise would have been too expensive for them to obtain, and there is no assurance that a privatized school would be able to continue to keep that education affordable for West Virginia students.

    ·         Privatization of the school could result in equalization of tuition between in-state and out-of-state students, which would create a barrier to many West Virginians who want to become osteopathic physicians.

    ·         Because of its status as a state-owned institution, the school has been able to develop programs for students to do off-campus residencies at hospitals across the state. If it would become a privatized institution, the school would have to compete with domestic and off-shore medical schools for such placements.

    In addition, there has been some discussion about expanding programs at the school, but the association is concerned about the cost of such changes and the possibility that the school would lose its focus of educating doctors of osteopathy.

    If the main concern of those proposing privatization is the control the Higher Education Policy Commission has over the School of Osteopathic Medicine, there are better ways to address that concern. For example, the HEPC could be removed from that control, and oversight for the board could be left to the school’s board of governors, which has members appointed by the governor.

    When legislation privatized West Virginia University Hospitals a few decades ago, it provided to a board of directors that still was appointed by the governor. If WVSOM were privatized, that system should be followed. Further, any new form of organization should assure that the chairperson and at least 51 percent of board members are licensed doctors of osteopathy.

    The current version of the legislation does not include any safeguards that will protect the state’s assets and investment in the WVSOM. This move to privatize may eliminate an educational option for the state’s citizens.

    For More Information: Tom Susman 304-552-2064


  • 02 Aug 2016 1:57 PM | Anonymous

    Instead of relying entirely on prescription medicine to solve medical problems, healthcare providers at a free clinic in Wheeling, W.Va., are prescribing healthy, fresh foods to a pilot group of patients. It’s a grant-funded initiative called Farmacy, offered through the clinic, Health Right Wheeling, and a food advocacy organization, Grow Ohio Valley.

    The Farmacy is the brainchild of Carol Greco, D.O., and physician assistant Amanda Cummins. Last year they were running a diabetes support group when they realized that many of the group members didn’t eat fresh vegetables, period.

    Doctor Carol Greco (left) and her daughter check in patients at the Health Right Farmacy in Wheeling.

    CREDIT KARA LOFTON / WEST VIRGINIA PUBLIC BROADCASTING

    “We would reference, you know, ‘Let’s food prep’ … [or] ‘You should do this – make batches of rice at the beginning of the week,’” said Cummins. “And it was like ‘We don’t even know how to boil rice.’”

    Cummins and Greco shifted to teaching basic cooking skills for a couple of weeks. This helped.

    But Greco and Cummins felt they needed to take the project one step further. In collaboration with Grow Ohio Valley, Health Right Wheeling procured a grant to start the Farmacy. The grant gave them enough money to give prescriptions of produce to 35 people for 15 weeks.


    Vegetables at the Health Right Wheeling "farmacy."

    CREDIT KARA LOFTON / WEST VIRGINIA PUBLIC BROADCASTING

    At the Farmacy, after Greco fills out a prescription card for “20 dollars of fresh vegetables,” she’ll gesture to the tent beside her where Kate Marshall of Grow Ohio Valley is helping a patient pick out onions, potatoes, micro greens, tomatoes and various fruits.

    “They hand that [the prescription card] in to Kate over there who kind of directs them as to what they have as the doctor’s choice,” said Greco. “We have one or two choices a week of the fresh local produce, and then they get a personal choice of anywhere between six and 10 items that they get to pick.”

    In the first two weeks, 98 percent of participants turned out to get their vegetables, said Greco. The third week about three quarters of participants showed up, a drop that  Marshall attributes to the heavy rain through which most participants had to walk  get to the clinic.

    Over the next 12 weeks Greco and Cummins will be monitoring participants such as Brenda and Brooke Mazza to see if their health problems diminish with their access to healthy food. Appalachia Health News will also be following the Mazzas over the next 12 weeks to see what impact fresh food has on their lives.



  • 05 Apr 2016 11:29 AM | Anonymous

    Legislative Update

    April 4, 2016


    PEIA Finance Board Makes Latest Play in “Political Football”

    Legislative leaders have indicated they are making progress in negotiations among themselves and with officials from the governor’s office toward working out a new state budget, but they haven’t released any details. Meanwhile, lack of action on the budget for the fiscal year beginning in July has forced members of the Public Employees Insurance Agency’s Finance Board to take a step backward.

    Those board members are angry with the legislature, legislative leaders are upset with the board, and “draconian” cuts in benefits for PEIA members are again set to go into effect. The only way to avoid those cuts is for the legislature to pass a state budget that includes more funding for PEIA, but so far there is nothing more than promises that legislators will do that.

    The PEIA Finance Board has reverted to approving $120 million in benefit cuts for the next fiscal year, as they did last December. After Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin proposed in January a state budget that would use an increase in the tobacco tax and other means to put more money into PEIA, the board approved a new plan to avoid the benefit cuts. But the House of Delegates declined to approve the tobacco tax increase or any other revenue increase. Consequently, the legislative session ended without agreement on a state budget for the fiscal year that will begin in July. Tomblin is expected to call a special session this spring to work out the budget, but there is no indication that the House and Senate are close to resolving their differences on the budget.

    House Speaker Tim Armstead and Senate President Bill Cole have criticized the PEIA Finance Board for meeting again this week to go back to the plan with the $120 million cuts of benefits. Armstead, R-Kanawha, called it an “unnecessary step.” Cole, R-Mercer, accused the administration of using PEIA “as a political football for the sole purpose of gaining leverage in the budget process.”

    But Finance Board members said they had no choice because of their fiduciary responsibilities and because open enrollment for PEIA’s next fiscal year is set to begin on Saturday. “Basically, we’ve been pretty much been put in a box to make a decision when there’s not sufficient funding,” Elaine Harris, a Finance Board member, said. People on both sides have referred to the benefit cuts as “draconian,” she added.

    Another board member, Josh Sword, said, “It’s like that movie with Bill Murray, ‘Groundhog Day.’ It’s a never-ending nightmare, except under this scenario, I don’t think there’s going to be a happy ending.”

    Although legislators did not approve more funding for PEIA, one bill they seriously considered would have restructured the Finance Board and prohibited people like Harris and Sword from serving on it. Senate Bill 622, which got through the Senate on a strict party-line vote but died in the House in the final days of the session, would have prohibited registered lobbyists from serving on the board. Harris lobbies on behalf of the Communications Workers of America and Sword lobbies on behalf of the AFL-CIO.

    Another board member, Mike Smith, said he is afraid that, unless the legislature provides some help, PEIA might face the type of problems its predecessor faced in the late 1980s when it had trouble paying its bills and pharmacies, hospitals and doctors’ offices had signs saying they would not take patients with insurance from the state.

    “I’m not political. I don’t give a crap about politicians. The last 10 years, it’s all went south.” – Mike Smith

    “I’m not political,” he said, choking up as he spoke. “I don’t give a crap about politicians. The last 10 years, it’s all went south.”

    Smith added that the “powers that be” think state employees should be happy they have jobs despite low pay and benefits that no longer are very good.

    Armstead said in a news release, “The House and Senate leadership have repeatedly committed to fully funding our state employees’ health insurance program for the coming year.” But he also asserted that the commitment was reflected in the budgets that each chamber passed, even though the Senate version included a $1.00 per pack increase in the cigarette tax and the House version instead chose to take money out of the Rainy Day Fund and use other one-time sources to balance the budget.

    Cole said, “At this time of fiscal crisis, we need to have a serious debate about how much government we want and how much we want to tax our people for it. Using scare tactics about people’s health insurance is not the way to accomplish that.”

    But Finance Board members and PEIA Director Ted Cheatham contended they had no choice but to approve a plan with the benefit cuts this week because open enrollment will begin on Saturday. Cheatham said PEIA must have a “shoppers’ guide” ready for members to use during the open enrollment period. Board members approved a motion to avoid the big cuts if they get more funding from the legislature, but Cheatham said if the legislature waits too long to approve a new budget, PEIA will face a delay in getting the revised information out to people insured through the agency.

    “As long as there is a budget in place by June 30 – and we intend to have one long before that point – then we will avert these ‘draconian’ cuts to PEIA.” – Speaker Tim Armstead

    Armstead said he and other legislative leaders have been assured “that as long as there is a budget in place by June 30 – and we intend to have one long before that point – then we will avert these ‘draconian’ cuts to PEIA.”

    However, Cheatham said that if the budget would be approved in late May or early June, PEIA would have trouble communicating the changes to members.

    “Electronic communication can probably happen within about a week,” he said. “Hard copy – and a lot of people need hard copy – is going to take a two-to-three-week lead time to get out. And that’s just the communication on what the plan is.”

    Making a change in plans operational requires a long lead time, Cheatham said. “We have literally hundreds of plans that have to be built when something changes at the pharmacy side and at the medical side,” he said. “I will tell you it’s a minimum of 30 days to set up a system to be able to pay claims and to pay benefits. So if this happens June 30th, probably the scenario is we publish what the new plan is and we shut the plan down while we build it and we don’t pay any claims until we get it set up to pay claims correctly, which would probably be closer to August. If this happens the first week in June, potentially we could be ready to pay claims by July. I would tell you a month’s lead time is what we’re going to need to make it operational.”

    Harris called it “a precarious situation” for PEIA. “I think we have done as much as we can do,” she said. “I understand the fiduciary responsibilities we all have.”

    About 230,000 West Virginians are covered by PEIA. They include public teachers around the state. Representatives of teachers’ unions have decried the proposed benefit cuts.

    “These cuts will take a personal toll on teachers, on service personnel, on retirees,” Davin White, government relations specialist with the West Virginia Education Association, said, adding that they will hurt those who need to use their benefits the most. “This is a statewide workforce issue. How can West Virginia recruit, hire and then keep highly qualified professionals with such severe cuts to their health insurance?”

    The governor and the legislature should work out a solution that would avoid the cuts, he said. “They need to get to the business of the people, even if, for some, that involves making politically uncomfortable decisions,” White said.

    Christine Campbell, president of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, told the Finance Board, said, “Everyone keeps using the phrase ‘political football,’” but legislators have not followed through on their promise to take care of the problem.

    “We’re looking at a cut in pay for all public employees – teachers, service personnel and everyone included in the public sector. Over 230,000 people are affected by this. And it’s very frustrating to me that you’ve been blamed, that the governor has been blamed when he clearly put a proposal forward.” – Christine Campbell

    “The people who need this health care coverage are the people who are going to suffer,” she said. “We’re looking at a cut in pay for all public employees – teachers, service personnel and everyone included in the public sector. Over 230,000 people are affected by this. And it’s very frustrating to me that you’ve been blamed, that the governor has been blamed when he clearly put a proposal forward.”

    Campbell added, “If this legislature doesn’t do something, people are going to be choosing between medication and food. People are going to be choosing to go to the doctor or pay their power bill. It’s completely unacceptable, and I hope that we have a solution here very quickly.”

    Because of a requirement that 80 percent of premiums must come from the public agencies for which the employees work and 20 percent from the employees, the Finance Board cannot raise premiums for employees without additional funding from the state. Thus, the board approved cutting benefits by $120 million.

    The proposed cuts for all PEIA members, except for retirees eligible for Medicare, include:

    • ·         Increasing the Medical Home Program copayment to $20 for $1 million in savings to the plan, although members still would have one free visit per year;
    • ·         Increasing the urgent care copayment to $50 for $1.5 million in savings;
    • ·         Adding tele-health with a $40 copayment;
    • ·         Charging a $40 copayment for Comprehensive Care Program members for any non-CCP office visit;
    • ·         Going to a 70/30 co-insurance ratio for all out-of-state services in Plans A, B and C for $2.5 million in savings;
    • ·         Removing the living will discount;
    • ·         Removing out-of-network benefits for $1.4 million in savings;
    • ·         Adding a $500 emergency room copayment for high-risk behaviors (including accidents while driving motorcycles or UTVs/ATVs without wearing a helmet, drunken-driving or drug-related accidents, or failure to wear seatbelts);
    • ·         Establishing a new fee schedule for select items for $2 million in savings;
    • ·         Adjusting provider reimbursements to 100 percent of Medicare levels over three years for  $4 million in savings over that period; and
    • ·         Making the Face-2-Face Program for diabetics a two-year program.

    Other adjustments for active state and school district employees would include:

    • ·         Changing coinsurance for Plan B members to 70/30 for all services for savings of

    $800,000;

    • ·         Increasing deductibles to $500 for single coverage and $1,000 for family coverage for savings of $30 million;
    • ·         Increasing out-of-pocket maximums by $1,500 for single coverage and $3,000 for family coverage for $16 million in savings; and
    • ·         Changing prescription drug benefits for more than $17 million in savings.

    Plan C members also would face various other changes. Retirees on Medicare would face these changes:

    • ·         Increasing premiums by 8 percent for $4 million in savings;
    • ·         Increasing deductibles by $50 for $1.6 million in savings;
    • ·         Increasing out-of-pocket maximums by $350 for $2.1 million in savings;
    • ·         Making changes in prescription drug benefits for more than $11 million in   savings; and 
    • Removing the living will discount.
    • Employees of non-state agencies that get insurance through PEIA will face 4 percent premium increases. “We’ve officially divorced ourselves from the non-states,” Cheatham said. “They’re a completely separate plan. They always have been a separate plan, but now their benefits may not even track with us anymore – separate benefit structure and separate premiums.”

    Those in the non-state pool will face minor reductions in benefits, he said.


    Governor Signs Bills Affecting Certificate of Need and Health Care Authority

    Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed into law three bills affecting operations of the Health Care Authority and its certificate of need process.

    As reported earlier by Legislative Update, House Bill 4365 changes the certificate of need process. The bill went through many negotiations and had to get through a House-Senate conference committee before being passed on the final day of West Virginia’s legislative session.

    The bill removes a protection that senior centers have had for years that has prevented competition in providing personal care services. The current law includes a provision that, if there would be any fiscal burden by allowing a new entity to provide personal care services, the Health Care Authority would have to get permission from the Medicaid program before granting a certificate of need. But Medicaid never would issue such permission, which effectively blocked new providers of personal care services. House Bill 4365 still requires personal care providers to get certificates of need, but the requirement for getting Medicaid’s permission is removed. That could cost senior centers significant funding.

    The governor’s signing of the bill essentially codifies the corporate practice of medicine for purposes of certificate of need. It gives hospitals and other corporate entities like urgent care facilities owned by large retailers or insurers the same exemptions as private physician offices. It also allows physicians to get low-cost computed tomography (CT) scanners for their offices.

    In addition, the new law speeds the review process for certificates of need, allows hospitals to replace equipment with like equipment, raises the threshold for requiring certificates of need to $5 million, and gives nursing homes flexibility in moving beds to other locations. It also provides nursing homes with the ability to replace existing facilities without certificates of need. Because nursing home services are paid for on a cost basis, this could affect the budget.

    Another bill Tomblin has approved affecting the Health Care Authority is Senate Bill 597, which is designed to provide a regulatory structure to oversee cooperative agreements among health care facilities and exempt those agreements from state and federal antitrust laws. That is targeted specifically at a proposed $185 million merger between Cabell-Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington. The Federal Trade Commission challenged that deal last fall because the new entity would have 75 percent of all inpatient admissions in that market. The FTC scheduled a hearing on the matter for early April.

    The third bill receiving the governor’s signature is Senate Bill 68, which the West Virginia Hospital Association wanted. It alters the powers and duties of the Health Care Authority by eliminating the agency’s jurisdiction to review hospital rates after July 1. But the agency would be required to publish on its website the average patient charges of the 25 most frequently used outpatient diagnostic services.


    New Law Gives Some Nurses Greater Authority

    The governor approved House Bill 4334, which changes the authority of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). The version approved by the legislature was pared back from the original version, which would have allowed APRNs to prescribe Schedule II drugs, such as OxyContin, for supplies lasting up to 72 days. In the version signed into law, they would be allowed to prescribe nothing stronger than Schedule III drugs and for no longer than 30 days.

    The new law also will set up a Joint Advisory Council on Limited Prescriptive Authority, which will go into existence on July 1. The council is to advise the Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses on collaborative agreements and prescriptive authority for advanced practice registered nurses.

    Members of the council will be appointed by the governor and include:

    • ·         Two allopathic physicians recommended by the Board of Medicine who are in a collaborative relationship with advanced practice registered nurses;
    • ·         Two osteopathic physicians recommended by the Board of Osteopathic Medicine who are in a collaborative relationship with advanced practice registered nurses;
    • ·         Six advanced practice registered nurses recommended by the Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses who have at least three years fulltime practice experience, including at least one certified nurse practitioner, one certified nurse-midwife, and one certified registered nurse anesthetist, all of whom actively prescribe prescription drugs;
    • ·         One licensed pharmacist recommended by the Board of Pharmacy;
    • ·         One consumer representative; and
    • ·         One representative from a school of public health of an institution of higher education.

    All members of the council who are health care providers are to have at least three years of fulltime practice experience and hold active state licenses. Each member is to serve a three- year term. Those terms are to be staggered so that no more than five appointments would expire annually.

    The council is to evaluate applications for advanced practice registered nurses to prescribe without collaborative agreements, assist APRNs with entering into collaborative agreements, and advise the board in emergency situations in which collaborative agreements have been rescinded, giving 60-day grace periods. The council also is to assist the board in developing and proposing emergency rules and providing advice on complaints against advanced practice registered nurses.

    In addition, the council is to develop a pilot project that would allow the independent prescribing of controlled substances by advanced practice registered nurses and study results to assure the safety of patients and the public.

    The Board of Nursing must promulgate rules, which likely will be the subject of much debate during the next legislative session.


    Other Health Care Bills Get Signed

    Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed several other bills affecting health care. Here are some of them:

    • ·         Senate Bill 454 will require prescriptions for opioid antagonists to be logged into the Controlled Substances Monitoring Program and impose penalties and fines for failure to register for and access the Controlled Substances Monitoring Program as required by code. In addition, the bill would allow the Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification to perform unannounced complaint and verification inspections, including reviews of patient records, at office-based medication-assisted treatment programs.
    • ·         Senate Bill 563 affects the Emergency Medical Services Retirement System. The bill is meant to address a provision that had become an obstacle to participating EMS agencies’ being able to retain senior EMS employees. The bill was presented as an EMS workforce issue because it removes the current 25-year cap on the accumulation of EMSRS years of service, allowing system members to continue to earn service credits beyond 25 years but at a lower benefit accrual level. Given the major changes being faced by EMS agencies nationwide, the legislation was seen as important for allowing agencies to retain employees best suited to lead the changes.
    • ·         Senate Bill 602 will close the Medical Liability Fund and transfer money in that fund to the Patient Injury Compensation Fund at the beginning of July. It provides for the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine to collect a biennial assessment of $125 from every licensed physician for the privilege of practicing medicine in West Virginia. The bill will levy a tax of 1 percent of the gross amount of medical malpractice settlements and a fee on trauma centers of $25 for each trauma patient treated. Trial lawyers have indicated they now will ask for increasing the amounts of settlements by 1 percent to make up for the tax. Basically, the bill lets hospitals off relatively easily. They pick up about one-third of costs for the fund while creating about two-thirds of the burden.
    • ·         House Bill 4040 will regulate the use of step therapy protocols by providing a simple and expeditious process for exceptions to the protocols that health care providers deem not in the best interests of patients. It should reduce the burden on physicians.
    • ·         House Bill 4315 sets the maximum amount for air-ambulance services that could be collected pursuant to the plans of the Public Employees Insurance Agency. It will extend allowable benefit coverage to any air-ambulance provider for which the reimbursement amount in total can’t exceed the amount then in effect for the federal Medicare program. The bill meant to stop vendors from excessive balance billing to West Virginians. Currently, air ambulance carriers are not restricted from “balance billing” PEIA members. Only certain groups of air-ambulance providers do that, while others accept PEIA rates and do not balance bill. The amount of the balance billings average $23,000 per case, and can range from $15,000 to as high as $45,000. The bill is to level the playing field for providers that accept PEIA rates and do not balance bill. PEIA told legislators the bill also should reduce the potential for lawsuits against the state by PEIA members exposed to balance billing and aggressive collection efforts by air-ambulance carriers. However, one air-ambulance carrier reportedly is considering suing the state over the new law.
    • ·         House Bill 4388 will require the Bureau for Public Health to designate certain hospitals as stroke centers. The designations would be based on criteria recognized by national organizations, such as the American Heart Association.
    • ·         House Bill 4463 will regulate the use of telemedicine, which has been called “a great chance of improving access to care.”
    • ·         House Bill 4659 will permit local public health departments to bill for health care service fees without having to obtain the approval of the commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health.

    Governor Signs Education Bills for Computer Science and WVU Tech

    The education bills that Gov. Tomblin signed include those requiring instruction of computer science in public schools and making it easier for West Virginia University Institute of Technology to move.

    House Bill 4730 requires the state school board to submit a plan to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability prior to the 2017 legislative session on the implementation of computer science instruction and learning standards in the public schools.

    The standards are to:

    • ·         Introduce the fundamental concepts of computer science to all students, beginning at the elementary school level;
    • ·         Present computer science at the secondary school level in a way that is “both accessible and worthy of an academic curriculum credit and may fulfill a computer science, math, or science graduation credit”;
    • ·         Encourage schools to offer additional secondary-level computer science courses that would allow interested students to study facets of computer science in more depth and prepare them for entry into the workforce or college; and
    • ·         Increase the availability of rigorous computer science for all students.

    Recommendations for teaching standards and endorsements would have to be included if they would be found to be necessary.

    Another bill the governor signed, House Bill 4351, transfers the Cedar Lakes Camp and Conference Center from the state school board to the Department of Agriculture. That change was recommended a few years ago by an efficiency audit of the public school system.

    House Bill 4310 removes the requirement that WVU Tech must keep its headquarters in Montgomery, where it has been located for more than a century. That makes it easier for WVU Tech to relocate to the campus in Beckley that WVU bought from the defunct Mountain State University. The new law also requires collaboration among WVU Tech and other higher education institutions in the region, including Marshall University, Concord University and Bluefield State College. Meetings among WVU, WVU Tech, Concord University and Bluefield State College will be required.

    Bills on Other Topics Get Approval

    Gov. Tomblin approved other types of legislation before his deadline to act on bills ran out late last week. Among them are:

    • ·         House Bill 4364 is to protect the privacy of personal electronic data for employees and applicants for employment. The bill also authorizes employers to investigate to ensure compliance with applicable protections of certain business information.
    • ·         House Bill 4739 creates the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act. It requires each insurer to conduct an annual comparison of its insureds’ policies, retained asset accounts and account owners against a death master file. For potential matches, insurers would have 90 days to complete good faith efforts to confirm the deaths based on other available records. The insurers must take reasonable steps to locate and contact beneficiaries or other authorized representatives regarding the claims process.

    Big Education Bills Get Vetoed

    Gov. Tomblin vetoed two controversial public education bills.

    House Bill 4014 started out as a harsh ban on any standards or assessments associated with the Common Core State Standards. During the legislative process, it was amended to recognize that the state school board already had substituted former standards based on Common Core to new standards not based on Common Core. However, the final version still would have require the state board to dump use of the Smarter Balanced Assessments, which were designed to be aligned with Common Core, after this year.

    Tomblin said that provision was problematic for two reasons:

    • ·         It would have discounted the time and consideration needed to evaluate and establish a new statewide summative assessment test.
    • ·         The uncertainty that would have been caused by the assessment mandates could have disrupted the state’s ongoing implementation of the new school accountability system in which schools will receive grades of A, B, C, D or F.

    “While revisions might be warranted as we move along, we need to be cautious not to undermined stability for our teachers or the children then are trying to educate. Because this bill occasions yet more uncertainty and instability in our system of public education, it is hereby vetoed.” – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin

    In his veto message, the governor noted that he had championed education reform measures that would improve student achievement. “We need to give these changes and measures added time to take hold, and see what works and what does not,” Tomblin wrote. “While revisions might be warranted as we move along, we need to be cautious not to undermined stability for our teachers or the children then are trying to educate. Because this bill

    occasions yet more uncertainty and instability in our system of public education, it is hereby vetoed.”

    Another education bill the governor vetoed is House Bill 4171, which would have set limits on the school calendar. Among its provisions, it would have prohibited school districts from starting the school year before August 10 or ending after June 10. It also would have removed the requirement for schools to have 180 “separate” days of instruction and allowed them to make up some missed days with accrued time. Tomblin objected to both of those provisions.

    “To be college or career ready, West Virginia’s students need to be in the classroom receiving instruction and learning for at least 180 separate days a year – even if this means making up lost time due to weather or emergencies,” the governor wrote in his veto message. “With proper planning, a county school system should be able to achieve 180 separate days of instruction without encroaching on summer vacation to a great degree. Because this bill retreats from the comprehensive education reform I championed in 2013, including the flexible school calendar concept, it is hereby vetoed.”

    Governor Cites Technical Flaw in Rejecting Lottery Bill

    Lottery players had better be prepared for attention if they win big. Gov. Tombin vetoed House Bill 4505, which would have allowed Powerball, Mega Millions and Hot Lotto ticket winners to remain anonymous. Their identities also would have been exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. The governor said he vetoed the bill because it would have been in conflict with another bill he had signed into law previously.

    Governor’s Actions Are Available

    The governor’s actions on bill are available on his website. Included are links to his veto messages. The list is available at: http://www.governor.wv.gov/media/Bill%20Status/.


  • 05 Mar 2016 7:59 PM | Anonymous

    The WV Osteopathic Medical Association has teamed up with the West Virginia Medical Professionals Health Program, and the WV State Medical Association to offer this brand new web course, The Treatment of Pain and Addiction Utilizing Education and Proper Prescribing, designed to meet the state mandated three (3) hours of Drug Diversion credit for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and dentists.

    This course has been reviewed and accepted by:
         • West Virginia Board of Medicine
         • West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine
         • West Virginia Board of Dentistry
         • West Virginia University School of Nursing

    This course was adapted from a live course of the same name, presented in September of 2015. Additional credit is offered, pending your review of several optional case studies at the end of the course.

    Click here to learn more, and to take the course today!

     

    Target Audience

     

    Course Fee

    The course is designed for all clinicians —physicians, dentists, nurses, physician assistants and others—who prescribe opioid medications and who care for patients receiving opioid medications.

     

    Learning Objectives

    Click here to view the learning objectives

     

    CME Credit

    This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the WVU School of Medicine and the WV Medical Professionals Health Program. The WVU School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

    The WVU Office of CME designates this enduring material for a maximum of 3.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.*

    This program is an excellent update of the online program for the required 3 hours of CME for Drug Diversion Training and Best Practice Prescribing of Controlled Substances. The WV Board of Medicine recognizes that this program satisfies the requirements as stipulated in §11CSR6 and approves this program for its allopathic physicians, podiatrists and physician assistants.

    This program has been approved by the WV Board of Osteopathic Medicine and will satisfy the required 3 hours of CME for Drug Diversion Training and Best Practice Prescribing of Controlled Substances training for DO's and Osteopathic Physician Assistants.

     

    Fee: $45

    To receive credit:
         • Successfully pass the post-test with a 70% score or higher
         • Complete the evaluation survey
         • Complete the Credit Verification form
         • Submit payment via the electronic payment site (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, electronic check)

     

    Nursing Credit

    This continuing education activity has been provided by the West Virginia University School of Nursing for 4.2 contact hours.  Of the total contact hours earned, 4.2 will be in the area of pharmacology consistent with advanced pharmacology / pharmacotherapeutic competencies of advanced practice nursing.  The West Virginia University School of Nursing is an approved provider of continuing education by the State of West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses, Legislative Rule § 19CSR11-4 under provider number WV1996-0120RN.*

     

    ADA CERP (Dentistry) Credit

    The WVU School of Dentistry is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider.  ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education.  ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry.

    The WVU School of Dentistry designates this activity for up to 3.5 continuing education credits*.

    Concerns or complaints about a CE provider may be directed to the provider or to the ADA CERP at www.ada.org/goto/cerp.

    The WV Board of Dentistry has reviewed and determined that successful completion of this course will meet the WV required CE related to Drug Diversion and Best Practices Prescribing of Controlled Substances.

    *The main course is worth 3 CME credits, 3.6 Nursing contact hours, and 3 Dentistry CEUs. However, you may also complete an optional case study section for an additional .5 CME credits, .6 Nursing Contact Hours, .6 Nursing Pharmacology hours, and .5 Dentistry CEUs.


  • 23 Apr 2015 9:44 AM | Anonymous

    William B. Gray, D.O., 79, of Cowen, passed away peacefully on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at home, surrounded by family. Bill was born in Richwood on Dec. 16, 1935 and was the first son of Walter and Vell Bennett Gray.

    As a teenager Bill was inspired to pursue an education in osteopathic medicine by his uncle, John N. Kurish, D.O. After graduation from Cowen High School in 1954, he went to West Virginia University for pre-med and was accepted at Kirksville (Mo.) School of Osteopathic Medicine (now AT Still University) in 1957.

    "Dr. Bill" marks the end of the era of house calls, as he served the Cowen area as a physician in private practice from 1962 through 1998, when he retired. He also acted as Webster County Health Officer from 1971 to 1998 and served on the Webster County Board of Education. Bill was a member of Trinity UMC and UM Men, Camden-on-Gauley Masonic Lodge No. 107, where he served as the Worshipful Master from 1985 to 1986, Camden-on-Gauley Chapter No. 161 Order of the Eastern Star, where he served as Worthy Patron from 2000 to 2001, a 50-plus year member of the Cowen Lions Club and the West Virginia Society of Osteopathic Medicine, where he was recognized as the Practitioner of the Year in 1995. Bill also supported the building of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg.

    Bill is survived in death by his wife of 59 years, Charlene Smith Gray; brother, Max and Greta Gray of Little Rock, Ark.; son, Edward and Dana Gray of Fairmont; daughters, Janet and Mike Mathes and Barbara and Mike Ritchie, both of Cowen; grandchildren, Jacqui and Ty Boyce and Amanda and Gareth Markwardt, both of Tucson, Ariz., Laura and Dana Snyder and Matthew and Lorena Ritchie of Cowen, Chad Mathes, Ryan and Jamie Mathes, both of Nicholas County, and Daryl Lynne and John Cruse and Alex Gray of Morgantown; 10 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and devoted caretaker, Annette Clevinger.

    Memorial service will be held at noon Saturday, April 25, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Cowen. Friends may join the family for visitation one hour prior to the service at the church.

    In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg or Trinity United Methodist Church of Cowen.



  • 23 Mar 2015 10:32 AM | Anonymous
    United States Department of Justice
    United States Attorneys
    Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia

    March 17, 2015

    Dear Medical Professional:
    In the past few years, West Virginia’s rate of overdose deaths has consistently been number 1 or number 2 in the nation. This ignominious distinction was achieved through this state’s high rate of addiction to and abuse of prescription narcotics. Through a number of efforts, we have had substantial success in limiting the supply of prescription drugs on the streets. However, because there has not been a corresponding decrease in demand, addicts have resorted to heroin—a lower cost, often higher potency alternative to prescription narcotics. As you can appreciate, this shift to heroin has the potential to cause our drug overdose death rate to continue its climb.
    On March 9, 2015, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed Senate Bill 335 into law. This legislation specifically permits licensed health care providers to prescribe opioid antagonists, such as naloxone, to initial responders, as well as individuals at risk of experiencing an opiate overdose, their relatives, friends or caregivers. The legislation also limits the potential civil and criminal liability for licensed health care providers writing such prescriptions. Opioid antagonists save lives by reversing the sedation and respiratory suppression commonly experienced during an opiate overdose with minimal risk of serious side effects. States with similar laws have seen significant reductions in opiate-related overdose deaths.
    We encourage you to prescribe naloxone to those you deem to be at risk of an opiate overdose, as well as their family members and friends. Pursuant to the legislation, these prescriptions would be accompanied by educational materials on administering the medication. Access to opioid antagonists empowers community members to effectively respond during an overdose emergency and increases the likelihood that individuals struggling with addiction can be directed to treatment resources. We are confident that by expanding access to naloxone, we will see a notable decline in the number of West Virginians losing their lives to opiate overdoses. With your help in this fight, we can save lives and tackle the unforgiving grip of addiction. Thank you for all that you do for your patients and West Virginia as a whole.


    William J. Ihlenfeld, II R. Booth Goodwin, II

    US Attorney: Northern District of WV US Attorney: Southern District of WV

  • 13 Nov 2014 2:47 PM | Anonymous

    As part of the AOA's ongoing efforts to educate and help our members make the best decisions about their practice, we are providing the following information regarding physician Medicare participation options. Physicians have until December 31 to change their participation status for calendar year 2015. They may choose from the following three options:

    1. Medicare Participating Physician (PAR) 
    2. Medicare Non-Participating Physician (non-PAR)
    3.
    Private Contracting

    The AOA hopes that Congress and the Administration will take the necessary steps to prevent the 21.2 percent payment cut which is scheduled to take place on April 1, 2015. Congress must ensure that our nation’s seniors, disabled, and military families have access to physician services. The AOA, through our Government Relations, continues to advocate repealing the Sustainable Growth Rate formula and replacing it with a payment formula that compensates physicians in a fair and equitable manner for their services. The AOA is deploying all available resources to protect your ability to provide quality health care to your patients. You too canTAKE ACTION.

    In addition, to help you evaluate your participation status in Medicare, the AOA is providing information designed to clearly articulate options available to you. Participation decisions involve binding legal documents and all members are strongly encouraged to consult with your own legal advisors and consultants prior to making a decision on these matters. Our goal is to provide you with the necessary information, thus enabling you to make an informed decision.

    Remember, each physician electing to change his/her status from PAR to Non-PAR or vice versa is required to do so on or before December 31. To become a private contractor, a physician must give 30 days' notice before the first day of the quarter the contract takes effect. For additional information, contact the AOA’s Department of Government Relations at (800) 962-9008 or (202) 414-0140. You may also send an email to: govt-rel@osteopathic.org



  • 10 Oct 2014 4:04 PM | Anonymous

    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. Please share this document with others as appropriate.

     

    The following are updated guidance documents available:

     

    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, 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.


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Penny Fioravante, Executive Director  penny@wvoma.org

 
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