FMA News Updates

Below is a collection of news and updates from the Florida Medical Association.

Big win for physicians on No Surprises Act implementation

February 24, 2022

In a major victory for medicine, a United States District Court Judge yesterday issued a ruling setting aside certain portions of the controversial Sept. 2021 interim final rule implementing the federal No Surprises Act. Read a brief legal update from the FMA summarizing the ruling and its significance for physicians.

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CMS Releases Official Projected U.S. Health Expenditures for 2021-2030

March 31, 2022

The CMS Office of the Actuary has released its projections for National Health Expenditures (NHE), which aim to capture all spending on healthcare in the United States and are considered by government officials to be the official estimates of such expenditures. However, pandemic-driven uncertainty surrounds projections of future spending.

 

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How to improve Medicare Advantage for patients and physicians

March 24, 2022

Florida is one of only two states where Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollees represent the majority of beneficiaries, and MA enrollees are projected only to increase as a proportion of total Medicare beneficiaries in the coming years. It will become increasingly important to focus on finding ways to improve MA for beneficiaries and physicians alike, but how can that goal be achieved?

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FMA Leaders Head to D.C.

March 16, 2022

FMA physician leaders and senior staff travel to Washington, D.C. to discuss the urgent need to make the Medicare system more sustainable and to prevent another round of cuts to physician practices while building momentum for broader, systemic changes to Medicare.

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How the FMA’s Federal Advocacy Helps Florida Physicians Practice Medicine

March 10, 2022

At the FMA, federal advocacy is a multi-faceted and continuous effort that includes educating lawmakers, spearheading initiatives within the House of Medicine, and working with physicians at the grassroots level. This brief article gives insight into those activities and how they ultimately benefit Florida-licensed physicians.

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4 Ways to Improve the No Surprises Act

March 3, 2022

As recently reported, last week’s court ruling in a lawsuit challenging the arbitration system under the federal No Surprises Act (NSA) was a significant victory for physicians. While this development might pave the way for more physician-friendly rulings in various lawsuits against the NSA, Congress could greatly enhance the new law for the benefit of patients and physicians by enacting some relatively small changes. Learn more by reading the FMA’s latest policy update.

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Saving Lives One Kidney at a Time

March 3, 2022

In this special essay, Dr. Metzger – who will be retiring soon after nearly 60 years as a practicing nephrologist – reflects on the many advancements in transplant medicine and how the AdventHealth Orlando Transplant Program has evolved. “As luck would have it, the timing of my medical career coincided perfectly with the early days of kidney transplant exploration, which allowed me to grow as a physician right alongside these clinical advancements,” he writes.

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Physicians get relief from potential legal risks in giving minors emergency care

April 28, 2022

Last year’s Parents' Bill of Rights law specifically made it a misdemeanor of the first degree in Florida for physicians and other healthcare providers to provide medical services to minors without first obtaining written parental consent, with exceptions only for emergency care or treatment provided in a hospital or college health service. Thanks to the FMA’s advocacy, effective July 1, 2022, physicians will be able to provide emergency medical treatment to minors anywhere such treatment is needed.

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Florida’s physician shortage: It’s not just primary care and rural areas

April 21, 2022

A report from IHS Markit commissioned by the Florida Safety Net Hospital Alliance and the Florida Hospital Association projects a shortfall of 17,924 physicians in the Sunshine State by the year 2035.

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CMS Opens Independent Dispute Resolution Process

April 21, 2022

On Friday, April 15, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services opened the Federal Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) process for providers (including air ambulance providers), facilities, and health plans and issuers to resolve payment disputes for certain out-of-network charges.

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Investing in clinician wellness is essential

April 21, 2022

A National Institutes of Health study shows playing a musical instrument is a prescription to guard against the daily pressures of life. Therapeutic outcomes of playing music include better communication skills, improved emotional release, and decreased anxiety and agitation.

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FMA Summary of Extended COVID-19 Liability Protections

April 14, 2022

In 2021, the FMA succeeded in getting legislation passed that granted liability protection for COVID-related healthcare claims through Dec. 31, 2021. However, the protections were effective only until 2022. During this year’s Legislative Session, we secured a one-year extension of those protections through SB 7014, which Gov. DeSantis signed into law in February. This FMA priority legislation extends liability protections on claims occurring before June 1, 2023.

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How the AdventHealth Orchestra is Improving Physician Well-Being

April 14, 2022

For AdventHealth epidemiologist Vincent Hsu, MD, who plays violin, the orchestra has been a refuge from intense, pandemic-driven stress. “(It) offers physicians, clinicians, and healthcare workers the incredible opportunity to reflect, bond, and heal through music,” Dr. Hsu says in an essay about the project. “When I sit down at our periodic practices and play, I can feel the stress melting away.”

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Ondansetron use associated with lower COVID mortality

April 7, 2022

Physicians and scientists AdventHealth and recently completed a preprint study that found ondansetron, a long-approved drug for treating nausea, is associated with lower COVID-19 mortality, particularly for patients on ventilators. The study is believed to be the first of its kind to use artificial intelligence to report disease outcomes in COVID-19 patients.

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FMA Board Names Chris Clark as New Chief Executive Officer

April 1, 2022

Florida Medical Association (FMA) President Douglas R. Murphy Jr., MD today announced that its Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Chris Clark, will now serve as Chief Executive Officer of the nearly 150-year-old association. Clark takes over as CEO beginning today, Friday, April 1, 2022.

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Clinical trial delves into the molecular benefits of exercise

May 19, 2022

Despite decades of research establishing the benefits of exercise to our overall health, much remains unknown about what happens deep within the body at a molecular level during and after exercise. To find out, the Translational Research Institute at AdventHealth Orlando partnered with the National Institutes of Health for a six-year, grant-funded research study focused on “the molecular map” that underlies the effects of physical activity in humans.

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Telehealth and controlled substance prescribing in Florida

May 12, 2022

Effective July 1, authorized prescribers in Florida will be able to prescribe Schedule III, IV, and V controlled substances via telehealth, thanks to FMA priority legislation signed by the Governor. In a new article, FMA Assistant General Counsel Mary Thomas, Esq., examines the intersection of controlled substance prescribing and telehealth in Florida, and what physicians should know going forward.

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Physicians gain more power to fight step-therapy bureaucracy

May 5, 2022

Effective July 1, Florida physicians will have more power to fight insurance-mandated step-therapy protocols, thanks to FMA priority legislation passed by the 2022 Legislature. By requiring greater transparency from insurance companies, HB 459 will make it easier for physicians to navigate the notoriously difficult tasks appealing or requesting exemptions from burdensome step-therapy protocols.

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Fixing prior authorization in Medicare Advantage

May 5, 2022

A recently released federal report revealed that Medicare Advantage (MA) plans often inappropriately delay or deny valid prior authorization requests, including requests for services that would have been approved for traditional Medicare beneficiaries. The FMA is supporting legislation containing specific improvements to modernize the MA program’s prior authorization process – changes that would benefit physicians and MA enrollees.

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Governor acts on key healthcare bills

June 30, 2022

More than three months after the end of the 2022 Legislative Session, all the bills that passed both chambers have finally been presented to and acted upon by Gov. Ron DeSantis. FMA General Counsel Jeff Scott, Esq., summarizes important healthcare-related bills that passed, the Governor’s action on each of those bills, and when the legislation takes effect.

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Study suggests telehealth expansion doesn’t drive overuse

June 29, 2022

A new study suggests that expanded access to telehealth services under Medicare during the COVID-19 pandemic has not led to overutilization. The study’s finding mirrors what the FMA, AMA, and other medical societies have been saying since those flexibilities were granted: Expanded telehealth access can save lives without increasing costs.

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AdventHealth physician reaches surgical milestone

June 23, 2022

Steven McCarus, MD, an obstetrics and gynecology surgeon at AdventHealth for Women, recently reached a milestone by performing his 100th gynecological procedure using the minimally invasive Senhance Surgical System, which is unique in Florida at AdventHealth Winter Park.

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On the Horizon: Significant Debt Relief for Florida Physicians

June 16, 2022

In a huge victory for Florida physicians with outstanding medical education loans, the FMA was able to secure an annual appropriation of $6 million for the Medical Education Reimbursement and Loan Repayment Program. While the Program was established in 2002, the Florida Legislature has never funded the Program, until now.

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Emergency office surgery rule: effective imminently

Updated June 16, 2022  |  Originally published June 8, 2022

As soon as next week, the Florida Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine are expected to release an office surgery emergency rule that will make critical changes to the standard of care for gluteal fat transfers, more commonly known as Brazilian Butt Lifts (BBLs).

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FMA member appointed to Florida’s Rare Disease Advisory Council

June 1, 2022

Florida Speaker of the House of Representatives Chris Sprowls has appointed FMA member Rajan Wadhawan, MD, FAAP, of Winter Park, to serve as an inaugural member of Florida’s Rare Disease Advisory Council. The 20-member council will make recommendations to state leaders aimed at improving health outcomes for patients living with rare diseases. Board-certified in pediatrics and neonatal perinatal medicine, Dr. Wadhawan is a senior executive officer for AdventHealth for Children AdventHealth for Women.

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Looming Payment Cuts Highlight Need to Stabilize Medicare

July 28, 2022

The FMA considers Medicare system stabilization to be a top priority. Currently, a lack of payment updates that keep pace with inflation and a pile of looming cuts are threatening access to care for vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries by undermining medical practices’ economic viability. The FMA believes that these cuts must be stopped.

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How recent HHS guidance interacts with state abortion law

July 21, 2022

Last week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra sent out a letter notifying frontline healthcare providers of the Department’s guidance regarding the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), in regards to emergency medical conditions involving pregnant patients. The impact of this guidance in Florida appears to be limited. While recently enacted state legislation prohibits the performance of an abortion if the gestational age of the fetus is more than 15 weeks, the legislation retains some exceptions. Read the FMA’s update for more information.

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Gov. DeSantis signs Executive Order targeting Pharmacy Benefit Managers

July 14, 2022

Acknowledging a lack of legislative action to change the way pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) operate in Florida’s prescription drug market, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 22-164, which focuses mainly on PBM reform and is effective immediately.

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Primary election scorecard and what’s next

Aug. 25, 2022

Tuesday’s Primary Election was overwhelmingly successful for Friends of Medicine, with 87% of FMA PAC-endorsed candidates winning their races. Read our election recap for insight into some of the key races and what’s at stake for medicine as the November General Election approaches.

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FAFP leaders honored for campaign promoting physician-led care

Aug. 25, 2022

FMA Distinguished Layman’s Award recipient Jay Millson, MBA, has spent nearly 30 years supporting physicians through his work as a medical society professional. In his role as Executive Vice President of the Florida Academy of Family Physicians (FAFP), Millson — in concert with FAFP Immediate Past President John Gross, MD, who received the FMA’s 2022 Certificate of Appreciation — was a driving force behind The Physician Decision, a statewide patient awareness campaign emphasizing the importance of physician-led, team-based care.

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New hope for Florida patients with bile duct cancer

Aug. 18, 2022

AdventHealth Cancer Institute recently became the second center in Florida to offer hepatic artery infusion (HAI) as a treatment option for patients with colorectal liver metastases or cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer). Used in combination with systemic chemotherapy, HAI increases response rates from 10-30% to around 80%.

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Tell Congress to prevent physician payment cuts

Aug. 11, 2022

The AMA has developed a form letter to help physicians contact their Congress members about preventing several Medicare payment cuts poised to take effect next year. As this FMA advocacy update explains, these cuts would amount to an 8.5% reduction in Medicare physician payments, and an additional de facto cut due to inflation and the loss of potential bonus payments.

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Florida Medical Association Installs Joshua Lenchus, DO, of Fort Lauderdale as its 146th President

Aug. 8, 2022

Joshua Lenchus, DO, a Board-certified internal medicine physician based in Fort Lauderdale, was installed as 146th President of the Florida Medical Association (FMA) on Saturday, August 6, 2022. Dr. Lenchus is Chief Medical Officer for Broward Health, a health system with more than 30 locations throughout Broward County.

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Hurricane Ian update for physicians

Sept. 28, 2022

The FMA hopes you and your loved ones remain safe during this frightening and extremely disruptive time for millions of Floridians. We will provide our members with updates on Hurricane Ian-related developments affecting physicians as new information emerges. In the meantime, read FMA Assistant General Counsel Mary Thomas, Esq.’s overview of key mandates and guidelines during Florida’s State of Emergency, important information from the Department of Health, AHCA, and other state agencies, and additional resources. You can also review this summary of state preparedness efforts, which includes county-specific evacuation orders and storm warnings

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FMA to FCSO: Retire local coverage article on complex drug administration

Sept. 22, 2022

At last month’s Annual Meeting, the FMA House of Delegates passed Resolution 22-404 calling, in short, for the FMA to oppose inappropriate local coverage articles (LCAs) that could harm the practice of medicine in Florida. This includes LCA A59074 on complex drug administration, which the FMA and the state medical societies that supported Resolution 22-404 believe is not a simple correction in coding.

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FMA Joins National Effort to Prevent Physician Suicide

Sept. 15, 2022

On Saturday, Sept. 17, the Florida Medical Association (FMA)  joins medical societies across the country in honoring National Physician Suicide Awareness Day (#NPSADay), an urgent call for our healthcare system to prioritize physicians’ well-being and address the underlying issues that often discourage physicians from seeking mental healthcare and support when they need it.

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Who’s Helping You? Coping with Trauma as a Healthcare Worker

Sept. 15, 2022

The stress most clinicians are experiencing now is very different from the burnout traditionally experienced among many people in the health care field. There are several areas in your day-to-day life you can pay attention to and affect a healthy change.

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Charles Lockwood, MD, leads USF medical school into a new era

Sept. 8, 2022

In the eight years since Charles “Charly” Lockwood, MD, joined the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine as Dean, the medical school and its umbrella health center partner, USF Health, have been on a remarkable journey of expansion and innovation — including a new, 13-story facility in downtown Tampa’s Water Street district. Dr. Lockwood, who is also USF Health Executive Vice President, received the FMA’s 2022 Gerold L. Schiebler, MD Advocate for Medical Students Award in recognition of his leadership.

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AMA calls for all-hands approach to overdose epidemic

Sept. 8, 2022

With a report issued today detailing the horrific toll of the nation’s overdose and death epidemic, the AMA is calling for an all-hands approach to help save lives. While physicians and other healthcare professionals have reduced opioid prescribing in every state, drug-related overdose deaths exceeded 100,000 for the first time in 2021 — primarily due to illicitly manufactured fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine.

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In Effect: Dosing and Supply Limits for Medical Marijuana

Sept. 8, 2022

In compliance with Florida law, the Florida Department of Health, Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) released an emergency rule, effective Aug. 26, quantifying a daily dose amount with equivalent dose amounts for each allowable form of marijuana dispensed by a medical marijuana treatment center. Read an update from FMA General Counsel Mary Thomas, Esq., summarizing the dosing and supply limits outlined in Emergency Rule 64ER22-8, which also provides a pathway for qualified physicians to request exceptions.

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Tampa physician recognized for outstanding patient care

Sept. 1, 2022

Tampa gastroenterologist Saurabh Agrawal, MD, received the FMA’s Certificate of Appreciation for his dedication to providing exceptional care for local patients with liver cancer. Dr. Agrawal is Medical Director of Tampa General Hospital’s HPB and Liver Tumor Program and an affiliate assistant professor in the department of internal medicine at the USF Morsani College of Medicine.

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Medicare payment cuts looming

Oct. 19, 2022

With an 8.42% Medicare physician payment cut poised to take effect in 2023, the FMA is urging lawmakers to take preventive action now — and we need your help. Read our advocacy update to learn what’s at stake for Medicare beneficiaries and all physicians in Florida, and how you can send an important message to your Congress members.

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Post-Covid Clinic explores ‘a new frontier in medicine’

Oct. 12, 2022

AdventHealth has opened a multidisciplinary clinic — the first of its kind within the hospital system — focused on treating long COVID-19. Located at AdventHealth Orlando, the new Post-COVID Clinic (PCC) is specifically for patients who have a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and coronavirus symptoms lasting 12 weeks or more.

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Clinical team develops new test to quickly detect brain-eating amoebas

Oct. 5, 2022

After three years of research and development, an AdventHealth physician and clinical team has created a new test to diagnose a brain-eating amoeba within three hours. This will allow the clinical team to begin treatment more quickly, which is critical in treating this condition. The amoeba kills its host in only three to seven days, and previous testing routinely took up to six days.

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Medicine-friendly candidates sweep legislative races

Nov.9, 2022

Friends of Medicine were overwhelmingly successful in Tuesday’s General Election, with nearly 97% of FMA PAC-endorsed legislative candidates winning their races statewide. Out of 91 legislative races in which the FMA PAC made endorsements, 88 PAC-supported candidates were victorious. Specifically, FMA PAC-endorsed candidates won 24 out of 25 Florida Senate races and 64 out of 66 Florida House races.

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Telehealth flexibilities in 2023 and beyond

Dec. 1, 2022

Throughout the pandemic, physicians have widely embraced telehealth flexibilities granted under the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) to deliver telehealth services to Medicare patients. While the PHE is likely to be extended past its current Jan. 11, 2023, expiration date, its eventual end will bring PHE-associated telehealth flexibilities to an end as well.

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