Gasline Newsletter December 2007

Volume 9, No. 6

Happy Holidays from CSA

The CSA officers and staff extend holiday greetings to everyone. The CSA office will be closed starting December 22 and will reopen on January 2, 2008. Remember ... the CSA Web Site is available 24 hours a day for current information, dues payment, member record updates and CME registration (www.csahq.org).

District Elections

The January District Director, delegate and alternate delegate nominations are fast approaching! Now is the time to consider participating in the governance of the CSA. Most districts have alternate delegate positions open and many have delegate positions as well. Details on eligibility and duties of various offices will be in the mailing that will be sent the week of January 7th. This is your chance to help create the future of Anesthesiology in California.

Home Addresses

If you have not given the office your home address, please update your information online at www.csahq.org under Members Only/Member Profile Update, or call the CSA office at 800-345-3691. The CSA database and Web Site are being upgraded at this time and one of the new features is the ability to give CSA members contact information for their legislators. Legislative districts are determined by home address.

2008 Winter Hawaiian Seminar in Maui

Why not start off 2008 by earning 20 CME credits at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa on Maui? The 2008 CSA Winter Hawaiian Seminar is January 21-25, 2008, and will feature topics such as blocks for the ambulatory setting, managing difficult airways, current guidelines for obstetric anesthesia, pediatric preoperative preparation, perioperative ischemia and beta blockade, transesophageal echo and more. View the brochure and register online at www.csahq.org.

If you missed the 2007 Fall Hawaiian Seminar in Kauai, you missed a great meeting in paradise. This is your chance to make up for what you missed in October and catch a little sun this January—bring the family!

The Movie Awake

As Mark Singleton, M.D., Past President, said, “The movie, Awake, that anesthesiologists have anticipated for over two years, opened on the last day of November, the least attended movie-going weekend of the year, with relatively little advance media attention. That simply reflects what a bad movie this is. Reviews by movie critics across the country were uniformly dismissive, and contained numerous joking references to the effect that although the movie’s protagonist was “awake,” much of the audience wasn’t! … Nonetheless, the exaggerated emphasis on awareness under anesthesia and public hysteria, which the makers of this film attempted to exploit, presented potentially damaging results to anesthesiologists and our patients. Instead, through thoughtful and truthful commentary in media interviews by anesthesiologists across America, our colleagues demonstrated that our specialty is concerned about the welfare of our patients, and that we provide safe care at the highest standards in the world. …”

CSA was proactive in regard to the release of the movie. A news release was sent to several news desks across the state, and a media kit was sent to potential spokespersons who are CSA members. Both the news release and the media kit are posted on the CSA Web Site. You can find the news release in Hot Topics on the home page. The media kit is in the Member Alerts area and has information of interest on the topic of unintended awareness and how to present information to the media.

DMHC "Balance Billing" Regulations

The Department of Managed Health Care held three hearings in October and November to receive public comment on proposed regulations that would prohibit billing patients who received emergency services the balance not paid by a noncontracted plan. The regulations also would set an interim payment for disputed charges to 150 percent of Medicare. The CSA was represented at the hearings and written comments were submitted opposing the proposed regulations and questioning their legality. CSA’s message was loud and clear in the public hearings: “This is not about balance billing! This is about fair payment for services rendered to patients by physicians! The root of the issue is the failure of health plans and their risk-bearing organizations to provide complete networks of specialty physicians for their enrollees as set forth under Knox-Keene law and in the health plan’s contracts with their enrollees.”

CSA has strongly advocated for our members and their right to seek payment for medical services rendered to their patients. DMHC now must decide whether to finalize their proposed regulations, modify them, or throw them out; we now have to wait to see what DMHC decides to do.

Virgil Airola, MD
President