Newsletter February 20, 2012
- ASA Legislative Conference. Registration is now open for the ASA Legislative Conference, in Washington DC, April 30-May 2. The WVSSA would again like to send a delegation of 6-10 members, with at least one member from each of the three WV congressional districts. A conference emphasis this year will be regulatory advocacy, since the implementation of HealthCare Reform Legislation takes place through the drafting and issuing of regulations. Another emphasis will be learning how to meet with legislators and representatives in their home districts, since congress will be in session fewer days during this election year.
The Legislative Conference always features interesting speakers. This year Tevi Troy, Ph.D., the former Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush and now a special policy advisor to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, will address the conference. Find additional information about the Legislative Conference program on the ASA website, www.asahq.org.
The WVSSA pays the registration fee of any member who attends the conference and makes at least one congressional office visit. The WVSSA also pays $250 towards the expenses of participating members, as well as the costs of one group dinner. For a resident member who attends the WVSSA will pay all normal expenses.
Please contact the WVSSA Secretary-Treasurer (Dr. Johnstone) if you would like to attend. Registration is available only through component societies.
- ASAPAC. Last year more than 50 percent of WVSSA members contributed to the ASA Political Action Committee. Anesthesiologists have numerous legislative and regulatory challenges this year, and PAC contributions are a way to keep our patients safe, as well as to get our messages out. The more WVSSA members participate in the PAC, the more our legislators notice, and the easier it is to protect patients. Please contribute $100. This can be done online at, http://www.asahq.org/ASAPAC.
- West Virginia Legislature. The WV state legislature is now in session. Several health care bills have been introduced, some with relevance to anesthesiologists. For instance, SB 437, the Governor’s bill addressing prescription drug diversion, contains four major components: regulation of methadone clinics, regulation of pain clinics, creates an advisory and review committee for the Board of Pharmacy Controlled Substances Monitoring Program, and adds additional regulations to the sale of pseudoephedrine. WVSSA leaders are working closely with the state medical association and ASA to monitor health care bills.
- Highmark Blue Cross. Highmark Blue Cross, the provider of all Blue Cross insurance in West Virginia, recently announced a plan to change how it will calculate some anesthesia payments. The announcement includes a reduction in base units for 10 different procedures. Find a copy of the announcement at the end of this newsletter. WVSSA leaders have asked Blue Cross representatives to clarify what changes they plan, and have communicated how disruptive it is for insurers to change methodologies. Blue Cross has promised clarification, but not yet provided it. The Blue Cross director of professional provider relations, Joyce Landers, is available at email@example.com. Ms. Landers has previously responded that “Some further analysis is being conducted and once the review is completed…HMWV (will) provide you with some explanation of this change.”
Highmark may be under financial strain due to taking over West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, which lost $56 million during the past 6 months. Highmark has already paid $150million for West Penn.
See, http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/west-penn-posts-widening-losses/2012-02-10?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal. An article on the limited communications of West Penn to its bond holders appears in The New York Times yesterday.
- Dues. The ASA is sending out 2012 dues notices for both the ASA and WVSSA. Advantages of this arrangement are that both dues can be paid with one check, or by credit card. 2012 dues are now due.
2012 WVSSA officers and their e-address:
President/Delegate Brian Grose, MD – firstname.lastname@example.org
President-Elect Michael Panger, MD – email@example.com
Secretary-Treasurer Robert Johnstone, MD – firstname.lastname@example.org
Director Alex Skaff, MD – ASkaff1Ace@aol.com
Alt Dir/Delegate David Graf, MD – email@example.com
Alt Delegate Donna Slayton, MD – firstname.lastname@example.org
Alt Delegate Russell Stewart, MD – email@example.com
Robert Johnstone, MD