A message from KMS Executive Director Rachelle Colombo:
A little more than half over, this year has already been one for the books. The coronavirus pandemic and all of its health, economic, and other societal impacts have been exhausting and challenging for just about everyone—in particular for those in the health care community and their patients. Add to that the widespread protests, social upheaval, and civil unrest that have grown out of the tragic death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. And, just for good measure, throw in a presidential election that is likely to further divide the country along deep political fault lines. It seems like every day there is another crisis to deal with. It’s no wonder so many feel frustrated and exhausted.
While some of these challenges require a national response and conversation, there is something each of us can do in our communities to be a part of the civic process: VOTE! It is both a precious right and responsibility. The primary election is next Tuesday, Aug. 4, and we will have the opportunity to decide who will represent the two political parties in the November general election. In addition to a critical U.S. Senate seat and our four congressional seats, all 165 Kansas state legislative seats are being contested. There are Kansas physicians running for office at both the state and federal level and representing both parties. While KMS does not issue endorsements, we do encourage you to support your colleagues as they seek to represent you and understand firsthand the issues affecting the practice of medicine and patient care. If you don’t know the candidates in your area or whether they are likely to be supportive of issues affecting the practice of medicine, call us and we’ll help you navigate the choices.
Voting Tuesday won’t solve the COVID-19 problem or eliminate social injustices. But casting your vote is important to your profession, patients, and community. And it just may make you feel better, as you add your voice to the process that determines who will make the important public policy decisions facing our state and country. We know politics isn’t for everyone—or maybe isn’t for almost anyone in these trying times—but our advocacy goes on, in and out of session and political seasons, pre-, mid- and post-pandemic. We must continually help educate policymakers about our issues. Our principles of keeping the practice of medicine in physicians’ hands and protecting the patient-physician relationship is constant, even as the political forces and players are ever changing. Whatever your political persuasion, your voice and your vote matters. Whether you mask up and vote in person or you mailed in a ballot, every vote counts—and maybe just a little bit more than before.
KMS Advocacy Day & Annual Meeting now open
Registration is now open for the KMS Advocacy Day & Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, as well as a networking event the evening prior. We hope you will make plans now to join your peers from across the state to network and learn how our collective advocacy shapes the practice of medicine in Kansas. Find more information and registration here: www.kmsonline.org/AdvocacyDay.
KAMMCO webinars: Fall Loss Prevention program
Information and registration are now available for the KAMMCO 2020 Fall Loss Prevention program. Join KAMMCO for pointers and risk management tips to minimize exposure to potential litigation. The presentation is structured around real-life case examples of medical professional liability claims. Learn from others to ensure your organization isn’t caught off guard. There are four dates and times are available in August and September for the one-hour presentation. Register at: www.kammco.com/events.
Insurance Department issues alert on COVID-19 testing and billing
This week, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt issued an alert on consumer rights related to COVID-19 testing and billing. Federal law requires COVID-19 testing without cost sharing (including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance) requirements or prior authorization or other medical management requirements, meaning most consumers should not be billed a separate provider or facility fee for receiving a COVID-19 diagnostic test. The Kansas Insurance Department's Assistance Hotline is: 785-296-7829 or 800-432-2484.
Board of Pharmacy seeks input on drug monitoring
Opioid Response Network Virtual Community Collaboration
The Western Kansas Opioid Community Collaboration initiative is a free, virtual program that includes two 2-hour live sessions and eight recorded modules to share evidence-based resources on effective interventions in prevention, treatment, and recovery from opioid misuse and abuse. The live sessions will occur on August 27and October 8. Participation is approved for 11.5 hours of CE for Medical, Nursing, Health Education Specialists, Counselors, and Social Work. Registration and more information available here.
FDA expands list of hand sanitizers containing toxic chemical
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to warn consumers and health care professionals not to use certain alcohol-based hand sanitizers due to the dangerous presence of methanol, or wood alcohol – a substance often used to create fuel and antifreeze that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin as well as life-threatening when ingested. The FDA has recently seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizers labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. So far, there are 87 products listed in the FDA warning, which can be searched by product name, manufacturer, and NDC number.
NIH updates Remdesivir treatment recommendations
On July 17, the National Institutes of Health updated COVID-19 treatment guidelines. In situations where Remdesivir supplies are limited, the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel recommends Remdesivir be prioritized for use in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who require supplemental oxygen but who are not mechanically ventilated or on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
AMA telehealth impact survey
The American Medical Association has been working on aTelehealthImpact Physician survey in collaboration with MITRE, Mayo, and others as part of an effort of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition. The goal of this project is to learn more about your experience withtelehealthto identify the challenges and barriers, as well as the benefits. Building on existing research, your response will help inform additional resources needed across the industry and health care community, provide insights to federal and state policymakers, and identify gaps in current research. Respondent and organization information will remain confidential and will only be reported in aggregate. The findings will be shared and made available to all on the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition website. Submit your survey responses here.
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