Gasline Newsletter January 2008

Volume 9, No. 7

New CSA Web Site Goes Live Next Week!

CSA’s updated Web Site is going live next week. Please visit the site then at http://www.csahq.org to see the new look. There are a few new features such as the new search feature at the top right corner of each page, the CSA Survey at the bottom right corner of the home page, and the Member Marketplace which can be accessed from the left-side navigation. The Virtual Exhibit Hall has its own place on the left-side navigation now, and there is an application available for anyone who wants to join the Virtual Exhibit Hall. Another improvement is the online application for new members or those changing categories. The entire application will appear as one page with six sections. As each section is completed and saved, the application is populated with the correct information. The updated site has a new organization and is easier to read.

Any suggestions about the Web site are welcome. Please send them to Andrea de la Pena at andreadlp@csahq.org.

Home Addresses

If you have not given CSA 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 update is underway at this time, and legislative districts are determined by home address.

2008 CSA Annual Meeting and Clinical Anesthesia Update

Don’t miss the CSA’s 2008 Annual Meeting May 30 – June 1. It will be held at the Hilton Los Angeles Universal City, “The Hotel on the Hill,” above LA’s Entertainment District. The hotel is adjacent to Universal Studios – Hollywood and CityWalk, one of LA’s hottest shopping, entertainment and dining destinations. The conference brochure is in the mail and also on the CSA Web Site at www.csahq.org. CSA members can earn up to 18 AMA PRA Category 1™ credits, attend the CSA’s Reference Committee, House of Delegates, and more. Register today to attend this meeting and be there to help CSA celebrate its 60th anniversary!

Nominations for the 2008 Elections Are in the Mail!

Nomination information for district directors, CSA delegates and alternate delegates, lists of eligible members, and nomination forms for the 2008 elections have been mailed to the members of each district. Please complete your nomination forms and return them to the CSA office no later than February 11. The list of vacant offices for your district is online at www.csahq.org in the “members only” section under elections, and a list of eligible members and a copy of the nomination form are also available in PDF format.

Medical Board Hearing on Diversion Program

On January 24 the Medical Board held a hearing to receive comments on its plan to discontinue the Diversion Program for impaired physicians. CSA District 8 Director Jeffrey Uppington, M.D., presented a statement on behalf of the CSA, noting the crucial need for a program to rehabilitate physicians who are impaired by mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse. Patient safety is of utmost importance, and physicians should have the opportunity to seek help without fear of immediate sanctions. The CSA statement can be viewed at www.csahq.org under Hot Topics.

CSA Comments on DMHC Draft Balance Billing Regulations

In late November the CSA submitted extensive comments strongly objecting to the DMHC draft regulations that would prohibit balance billing for noncontracted services and establish interim payments to physicians of 150 percent of Medicare. The CSA noted that the DMHC has no authority over physicians who do not hold contracts with health plans and that any payments tied to Medicare rates are unacceptable. The comments can be viewed on the CSA Web Site at www.csahq.org under Hot Topics.

The issue of balance billing of patients by noncontracted physicians continues to be of concern to legislators and regulators. Senator Leland Yee recently withdrew SB 389, but Senator Don Perata’s SB 981 is still pending. The CSA continues to work with the CMA to maintain physicians’ right to receive full payment for services.

CSA Stipend and Payment Survey

The results of the CSA’s 2007 survey on stipends and payments will be available to members upon request in early February. In addition to stipend and average conversion factor rates, information on call requirements, practice locations and other practice information was collected. To receive a copy of the results, contact Barbara Baldwin at bbaldwin@csahq.org.

Virgil Airola, MD
President