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Monday Rx: AB 1400, COVID-19, MICRA, Physician Burnout & Depression Report and LACMA's 151st Annual Election

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AB 1400 Post Mortem

Efforts to create a health care system for all Californians stalled last week (after Monday Rx distribution) when Assemblyman Ash Kalra didn’t have the votes in time for a key deadline. Assembly Bill 1400 aimed to create a single-payer health care system in California that would essentially replace private insurance with a state-run health system. CMA opposed the bill (see CMA language here). The bill would have overhauled the health care system. 

“Despite heavy opposition and substantial misinformation from those that stand to profit from our current healthcare system, we were able to ignite a realistic and achievable path toward single-payer and bring AB 1400 to the floor of the Assembly,” Kalra said in a statement. “However, it became clear that we did not have the votes necessary for passage and I decided the best course of action is to not put AB 1400 for a vote today.”

LACMA president-elect Dr. Omer Deen and LACMA board member Dr. Hector Flores launched an education-based series of town halls on the topic. Last year’s guest was CMA CEO Dustin Corcoran who also joined the Clear as Mud podcast. Listen here.

Tomorrow, Dr. Deen and Dr. Flores co-host Dr. Sandra Hernandez, CEO of the California Healthcare Foundation to discuss what’s next after the demise of AB 1400. To register for the town hall click here.

COVID-19 Update

New Cases: 7,017 (2,727,159 to date) New Deaths: 65 (29,428 to date) Current Hospitalizations: 2,841. The unofficial number of US cases is 76,505,941 and 902,626 deaths, up 2,172,413 and 18,361 respectively, versus a week ago.

British epidemiologists involved in COVID-19 modeling warn that large waves of infection are a "realistic possibility" in the future.

The Fight to Protect MICRA

Proponents of the misleadingly self-proclaimed Fairness for Injured Patients Act, or Changes to Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Cap Initiative, appearing on the statewide ballot in November are trying to dramatically impact the cost and delivery of health care in California – but it’s not written by health experts or real-life medical practitioners. Instead, it was drafted to allow a few to make millions more from filing personal injury lawsuits.

For many years, California’s medical liability system has been protected by a bipartisan series of laws called MICRA, the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, which has balanced the rights of injured patients while keeping health care more accessible and affordable for all patients.

While injured patients can receive unlimited payments for economic losses and medical expenses, there is a “cap” on non-economic damages. Despite what proponents are saying, the Fairness for Injured Patients Act would dramatically overhaul our health system far beyond a simple increase in the MICRA cap.

In fact, the Fairness for Injured Patients Act brazenly creates a new category of injury with no cap whatsoever – which is broadly defined and can include outcomes as innocuous as unwanted scarring. This is the loophole that would effectively obliterate the MICRA cap and start a mad dash by enterprising attorneys filing countless new lawsuits in already overcrowded courts.

To no one’s surprise, the Fairness for Injured Patients Act’s fine print stealthily removes all existing caps on attorney’s fees, resulting in huge financial windfalls for trial lawyers who sue doctors, nurses, clinicians and other health providers for a living. It also creates a new process that prohibits judges from independently verifying the truthfulness of statements made by trial attorneys in the initial court filings – another incentive for more frivolous lawsuits.

LACMA kicked off medical staff presentations in 2021 to raise funds to defend MICRA. To date, thanks to the leadership of president Dr. Jeffery Lee, we have raised (and matched) a total of $591,000 in financial commitments from an area hospital and group medical staff. To schedule a presentation to your group contact: noemi@lacmanet.org.

Physician Burnout & Depression Report 2022: 

Stress, Anxiety, and Anger

Last year was especially tough for physicians: The isolating quarantine of 2020 was over, but in 2021, physicians were trying to get back to work while dealing with reduced staff, COVID stress, and an anxiety of having kids heading to school amid the ongoing pandemic. More than 13,000 physicians in 29 specialties told Medscape about their battles with mental health and how they're coping with burnout.

Learn more about the statistics here.

LACMA's 151st Annual Election

We are holding our 151st Annual Election this coming June. There are vacancies on the LACMA Board of Directors and the LACMA Delegation to the CMA House of Delegates. Active members of LACMA and CMA have the privilege of voting for their preferred candidates.  

To learn more about the open positions, please click below.

The deadline to submit nominations is March 1, 2022.

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Le at lisa@lacmanet.org.

151st Annual Election

Virtual Grand Rounds: COVID-19 and Omicron 

Pandemic to Endemic?

The pace of change in this pandemic is fast and furious! For February, the California Medical Associations will host Dr. Erica Pan, our California State Epidemiologist, to help us catch up on current epidemiology, vaccination progress, medication updates, school updates, and more.

Date: Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

To register, click here. 

Webinar: Managing Medicare in 2022

This webinar will cover Medicare updates for the coming year along with the following topics: 

  • Overview of evaluation and management (E/M) changes and documentation tips
  • Targeted probe and educate resumes
  • Local coverage decisions and collaborative ICDs
  • Responding to audits and appeals
  • Questions and answers about off-label use
  • New information-blocking rules and patients’ rights: What doctors should know

Date: Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Time: 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm

To register, click here. 

COVID-19 Testing: During and After the Omicron Surge

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the winter emergence of the omicron variant made it clear that we need to think harder about COVID-19 testing. In this webinar, CMA is pleased to host Michael Mina, M.D., a strong, public advocate for more and smarter testing as a method of COVID-19 mitigation.

Dr. Lam will discuss the role of the academic scientific community and government agencies in ensuring safe and effective consumer testing. Dr. Mina will discuss the different types of COVID-19 tests, share data on their accuracy and discuss optimal uses of testing during the current surge of COVID-19 and in future stages of the pandemic. 

Date: Thursday, February 10, 2022

Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Live Only **This webinar will not be recorded**

To register, click here. 

#MondayMotivation

"To accept ourselves as we are means to value our imperfections as much as our perfections."

Gustavo Friederichsen

Chief Executive Officer

Los Angeles County Medical Association

“If it matters to our LACMA members, it matters to me.”

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