Extortion Scam Targeting DEA Registrants

June 13, 2019

DEA is aware that registrants are receiving telephone calls and emails by criminals identifying themselves as DEA employees or other law enforcement personnel. In an attempt to create the illusion that these criminals are DEA employees, they have masked their telephone number on caller id with a phone number for a legitimate DEA office. For example, these criminals have used the phone numbers for DEA’s Office of Congressional and Public Affairs and DEA’s 800 number which is used to provide direct support to DEA registrants.

Impersonating a federal agent is a violation of federal law. Registrants should be aware that no DEA agent will ever contact members of the public by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment or threaten to suspend a registrant’s DEA registration.

If you are contacted by a person purporting to work for DEA and seeking money or threatening to suspend your DEA registration, submit the information through “Extortion Scam Online Reporting” posted on the DEA Diversion Control Division’s website, www.DEADiversion.usdoj.gov.

Fraud Alert: Genetic Testing Scam

June 7, 2019

Article from the Office of the Inspector General: US Department of Health and Human Services.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is alerting the public about a fraud scheme involving genetic testing.

Scammers are offering Medicare beneficiaries cheek swabs for genetic testing to obtain their Medicare information for identity theft or fraudulent billing purposes. Fraudsters are targeting beneficiaries through telemarketing calls, booths at public events, health fairs, and door-to-door visits.

If a beneficiary agrees to genetic testing or verifies personal or Medicare information, a testing kit is sent even if it is not ordered by a physician or medically necessary.

Protect Yourself
• If a genetic testing kit is mailed to you, don’t accept it unless it was ordered by your physician. Refuse the delivery or return it to the sender. Keep a record of the sender’s name and the date you returned the items.
• Be suspicious of anyone who offers you free genetic testing and then requests your Medicare number. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.
• A physician that you know and trust should approve any requests for genetic testing.
• Medicare beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare numbers. If anyone other than your physician’s office requests your Medicare information, do not provide it.
• If you suspect Medicare fraud, contact the HHS OIG Hotline.

TPMA Legislative Victory!

May 30, 2019

As you know, the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature convened in Austin on January 8, 2019 and adjourned “Sine Die” 140 days later on May 27, 2019. More than 7,000 bills were filed during the Session . . . and TPMA monitored approximately 500 bills of interest, which included legislation regulating the health professions, the Texas Medicaid program, health benefit plans and managed care organizations, and prescription drug monitoring for all prescribers. Important legislative initiatives supported by TPMA and the other health professions were passed and are now headed to the Governor for signature.

However, the highlight of the 86th Session for TPMA, the Texas Podiatric Medical Profession, and the patients you serve was the passage of TPMA’s priority bills for the Session . . . HB 2593 by Representative Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) and SB 1533 by Senator Jose Menéndez (D-San Antonio). The purpose of this legislation was to clarify that (1) persons who perform podiatric radiologic procedures at the direction of a podiatrist are regulated by TDLR and (2) podiatrists are authorized to delegate certain podiatric medical acts to a qualified and properly trained podiatric medical assistant.

We are pleased to report that on April 24, 2019, HB 2593 and SB 1533 were added as a House floor amendment to HB 2845 by Representative Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth), the TDLR omnibus clean-up bill. HB 2845 was then approved by the full House on April 26, 2019; passed by the full Senate on May 20, 2019; and signed by the Governor on May 27, 2019.

This important legislation was necessary because in 1987, the Texas Legislature enacted the Medical Radiologic Technologist Certification Act which regulates persons who administer radiation to a human for a medical purpose. However, the Act did not apply to practitioners (medical doctors, doctors of podiatric medicine, dentists, etc.) or persons who perform a radiologic procedure under the instruction or direction of a practitioner provided the person and the practitioner comply with rules adopted by the practitioner’s licensing agency to regulate the manner in which the delegation is accomplished.

As a result, the Texas State Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners (Board) adopted rules regulating persons who perform podiatric radiological procedures for any podiatric medical purpose at the direction of a podiatrist . . . and requiring these persons to register with the Board.

Initially, when the Medical Radiologic Certification Act was passed by the Texas Legislature, the regulation of persons who perform radiological procedures was administered by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Later, in 2015, the Texas Legislature transferred the program to the Texas Medical Board. Then, in 2017, the Legislature transferred the regulation of the practice of podiatry from the Texas State Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). As a result, any person performing podiatric radiological procedures at the direction of a DPM must be registered with TDLR. However, radiology training programs and instructors for these persons had to be approved by the Texas Medical Board. Additionally, current Texas law did not specifically authorize DPMs to delegate podiatric medical acts to a podiatric medical assistant. The passage of HB 2847 has now successfully addressed these two concerns.

We will provide a complete summary of the important bills that were passed this Session during the TPMA Annual Business Meeting which will be held at the Lost Pines Resort in Cedar Creek, Texas on Saturday, June 29, 2019. Hope to see you there. Thank you for your support this Session.

For more information regarding these and other legislative issues, please contact TPMA Legal and Legislative Counsel, Mark J. Hanna, 2414 Exposition Boulevard, Suite A-1, Austin, Texas 78703; telephone: (512) 477-6200; fax: (512) 477-1188; electronic mail: mhanna@markjhanna.com.

Attention Schedule II Prescribers!

May 2, 2019

by Steve Uecker, MPH

On September 1, 2018 the Pharmacy Board started issuing a new Official Prescription form for Schedule II Prescriptions.

Effective June 1, 2019, all versions of the Official Prescription Form issued prior to September 1, 2018 will no longer be valid. The changes made to the form are to combat fraud and abuse and is part of a multi-front campaign to address the opioid epidemic. In 2016, over 14,000 people died from prescription opioids excluding methadone in the U.S. (CDC 2018 Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-Related Risks and Outcomes).

Please be advised, the Pharmacy Board is currently reporting that it is taking 6 – 8 weeks for prescribers to receive the new pads. For more information please visit the Pharmacy Board’s website.

Additionally, all prescribers of any scheduled substance are required to register with the Pharmacy Board’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). Beginning September 1, 2019 prescribers must check the PMP for a patient’s prescription history prior to issuing the prescription order.

Not Too Late to Avoid the MACRA Penalty

March 21, 2018

Even if you have done nothing for the MACRA 2017 reporting period, it may not be too late.
There is a list of 92 Clinical Practice Improvement Activities (CPIA) for the 2017 reporting period.  If you completed even one of these activities in 2017, you can attest to having completed them using the APMA registry (free for APMA members!) and not only avoid a penalty in 2019, but position yourself for potential bonus payments in 2019.

The full list of activities can be viewed here:
https://www.apma.org/applications/secure/index.aspx?FileID=74394

Many measures on this list you may have performed without even realizing they were a CPIA, including:

  1. Provide 24/7 access to MIPS eligible clinicians, groups, or care teams for advice about urgent and emergent care.
  2. Performance of regular practices that include providing specialist reports back to the referring MIPS eligible clinician or group.
  3. Annual registration by eligible clinician or group in the prescription drug monitoring program of the state where they practice.

If you review this list and find that you performed any of these activities for 90 consecutive days in 2017, you can sign up for the APMA registry now https://www.apma.org/registry and follow the instructions on how to attest.

The deadline to attest using the APMA registry is March 24.
Traffic to the registry and its support systems is expected to be very high at the deadline.
Do not delay.  Sign up TODAY!

APMA Overview of Proposed Bylaw Changes

March 1, 2018

APMA held two webinars to address the proposed bylaw changes to be considered at the 2018 House of Delegates.

You can read the proposed bylaw changes being considered. And an overview of major issues.

Major issues:

  • New requirements for Senior and Life Member categories
  • Expanded membership category for non-physicians
  • Reduced advance notice period for dues increase
  • New HOD term limits
  • Clarification of authorities of the BoT and the HOD
    (consultant recommendation: APMA BoT be designated as the governance entity with fiduciary responsibility and legal authority for APMA)
  • Reduction in the BoT size and a revised composition of the BoT
  • Revised term limits for BoT members
  • Prospective and current board member conduct
  • New budget authorization process – HOD review/BoT final authority

Advocate for Podiatry: It Takes Two Minutes

March 1, 2018

APMA continues to advocate on behalf of podiatric medicine to address health-care reform issues. Of particular note are three bills which impact the quality of foot and ankle care – most notably with our nation’s war veterans.

  • Senate Bill 1871 the VA Provider Equity Act (the companion House bill passed in 2017)
  • Senate Bill 1533/House Bill 1542 the HELLPP Act.
  • Senate Bill 2193 Care for our Veterans Act (to which the SB 1871 has been added)

We need your help!

Nothing resonates better with legislators than hearing from their constituents.
Please take the 2 minutes needed to follow the instructions below to contact your legislator.
It has a HUGE impact on our ability to move these bills.

  1. Go to the APMA eAdvocacy Page
  2. Under Action Alerts you will see “VA Provider Equity Act” and “HELLPP Act”
  3. In the gray box under VA Provider Equity Act, click “Email”
  4. A pre-written letter will appear with your name at the bottom. To the right, you will see a list of recipients. Confirm these are your Senators. Below the list, hit “Send All”
  5. Next click “Additional Alerts” and select “HELLPP Act”, then click the envelope next to “Take Action”
  6. A pre-written letter will appear with your name at the bottom. To the right, you will see a list of recipients. Confirm these are your Senators and Representatives. Below the list, hit “Send All”
  7. DONE! You have provided a TREMENDOUS service to the profession!

Tricare Reimbursements

February 6, 2018

APMA submitted comments on January 22 to the Department of Defense in response to its review of existing TRICARE regulations, APMA focused its comments on the following:

  • update TRICARE regulations generally to reflect the advancements in the education and experience of podiatrists;
  • update the TRICARE definition of physician at 32 CFR 199.2(b) to include podiatrists; and
  • permit DPMs to prescribe physical and occupational therapy (PT/OT) to patients.

This letter and all other previous comments can be found at www.apma.org/CommentLetters.

CAC-PIAC MEETING – Private Insurance Advisory Committee

January 20, 2017

Full Report submitted by Leslie Campbell, DPM                                                          

APMA CAC-PIAC Meeting

November 16, 2016

Dr. Paul Kinberg and Dr. Leslie Campbell attended CAC-PIAC (Private Insurance Advisory Committee) meeting held by APMA on November 4-5, 2016. Read the full CAC report.  Read the full PIAC Report.