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Monday Rx: Supreme Court Lawsuit, Vaccine Mandate, Overcoming Biases and Public Health Vaccine Hesitancy

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California Supreme Court Will Hear CMA Lawsuit Against Aetna Regarding the Right of Membership Organizations to Pursue Unfair Practices Lawsuits

The California Supreme Court has granted the California Medical Association’s (CMA) petition for review in a lawsuit against Aetna surrounding the insurance company’s practice of denying patients’ rights to out-of-network benefits and threatening physicians who refer patients to out-of-network providers. 

The decision is a major legal victory for CMA, and for patients throughout California. The California Supreme Court receives over 1,000 civil petitions for review annually but only grants around 2-3% of those requests.

Click here, to read the full excerpt from CMA.

Governor Newsom Introduces New State and Health Care Worker Vaccine Mandate

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across California, Governor Gavin Newsom took action this week to require all state workers and workers in health care and high-risk congregate settings to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week. He also encouraged all local government and other employers to adopt a similar protocol.

“We are now dealing with a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and it’s going to take renewed efforts to protect Californians from the dangerous Delta variant,” said Gov. Newsom. “As the state’s largest employer, we are leading by example and requiring all state and health care workers to show proof of vaccination or be tested regularly, and we are encouraging local governments and businesses to do the same. Vaccines are safe – they protect our family, those who truly can’t get vaccinated, our children and our economy. Vaccines are the way we end this pandemic.”

California will also be requiring health care settings to verify that workers are fully vaccinated or tested regularly. Unvaccinated workers will be subject to at least weekly COVID-19 testing and will be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment. This requirement also applies to high-risk congregate settings like adult and senior residential facilities, homeless shelters and jails. These steps will help protect vulnerable patients and residents.

The new policy for state workers will take effect on August 2nd, with testing phased in over the next few weeks. The new policy for health care workers and congregate facilities will take effect on August 9th; health care facilities will have until August 23rd to come into full compliance.

Click here, to read the full excerpt from CMA.

Johns Hopkins Survey on White Coats

The authors, led by Helen Xun, MD, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, were quick to argue that the findings suggest that the industry has work to do in overcoming biases based on gender and clothing choices.

Click here to read the full article.

CDC Sites Nursing Home Aides Have Low Vaccination Rates

COVID-19 vaccination rates varied widely among healthcare personnel (HCP) who worked in long-term care facilities (LTCFs), with less than half of aides vaccinated, researchers found.

In March 2021, the highest vaccination rates were seen in physicians and advanced practice providers (75%), while the lowest rates occurred in aides (45.6%), reported James T. Lee, MD, of the CDC, and colleagues.

Not surprisingly, only 11.1% of physicians declined vaccination compared to a third of aides, the authors wrote in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Social and demographic factors -- such as lower median income, lower education, greater ethnic diversity and higher poverty rates -- played a role in aides' vaccination rates, they noted.

"This study shows how health disparities exist, not only in communities and neighborhoods, but within the entity of healthcare itself," Panagis Galiatsatos, MD, MHS, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, told MedPage Today.

Click here, to read the full article.

Fauci Warns of More “Pain and Suffering Ahead”

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Sunday that more "pain and suffering" is on the horizon as COVID-19 cases climb again and officials plead with unvaccinated Americans to get their shots.

Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, also said he doesn't foresee additional lockdowns in the U.S. because he believes enough people are vaccinated to avoid a recurrence of last winter. However, he said not enough are inoculated to "crush the outbreak" at this point.

Fauci's warning comes days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course to recommend that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant is fueling infection surges. With the switch, federal health officials have cited studies showing vaccinated people can spread the virus to others.

The Need for Physicians to Speak on Vaccine Hesitancy

LACMA will be partnering with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health as they are leading an effort to launch educational talks for community groups around vaccination. With nearly 4 million unvaccinated in Los Angeles County, physicians remain a very important trusted messenger. We want to remind you to continue to have conversations with your own patient populations about the importance of vaccination. I will share more information as it becomes available relative to how to participate.

POSTPONED: 150th Installation of President and Officers

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and changing L.A. County updates, we are postponing our 150th Installation of President and Officers. We will migrate from an in-person event back to a virtual event and will provide an updated Installation date soon!

District Information

Calling all LACMA Members! Reconnect with your District, voice your opinions, ideas, or suggestions on how to get active in your District. LACMA has set up weekly “Open Calls” via Zoom to provide you an opportunity to check in with ideas, requests, comments, or questions. Below is the Zoom “call-in” schedule:

District Check In calls Schedule:

Mondays: 

3pm - District 1

4pm – District 2

Tuesdays:

3pm – District 3

4pm – District 5

Wednesdays:

3pm – District 6

4pm – District 7

Thursdays:

3pm – District 9

4pm – District 10

Fridays:

3pm – District 14

4pm – District 17

Please contact Vitelio – District Outreach Membership Manager at vitelio@lacmanet.org for more information.

ACEs Online Wellness Engagement Groups - Tuesday Series

Join CMA's Free, Online Wellness Engagement Groups for Physicians Screening/Treating Patients with ACEs or Toxic Stress

The California Medical Association's (CMA) wellness program (CMA Wellness) is pleased to launch free, online wellness engagement groups for health care providers that conduct patient screenings for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

Treating patients with multiple ACEs or toxic stress can potentially impact your personal wellness and increase feelings of burnout. CMA Wellness' engagement groups will support providers by offering subject matter experts, best practices and an open forum to share experiences, facilitated by trained, volunteer physicians.

Each monthly webinar is organized around a prevailing theme with a stakeholder co-host to provide a variety of perspectives with a general discussion and breakout rooms. Registration is required, and providers will be joining the Tuesday series for a 6-month duration.

Event Date: July 20, 2021 - December 14, 2021

Register Here

Webinar: Revised Reporting Requirements for the Provider Relief Fund

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released revised reporting requirements and frequently asked questions. These requirements went into effect on June 11, 2021. The updates reflect significant changes to prior guidance.

In this webinar, CMA and representatives from accounting firm Moss Adams will share the latest information and how it could affect your organization, as well as help in navigating the reporting requirements.

Event Date: August 11, 2021

Time: 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm

Register Here

#MondayMotivation

"In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it."

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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