Connect Archives

January 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016


The term “burnout” or “burn-out” has been in use as a noun for well over a century; it came from the verb “burn out” which is what happens when a fire consumes everything that is combustible…the noun form describes the state of affairs that ensues when there is nothing left.

Here are a few telling definitions gleaned from on-line dictionaries:

…a fire that is totally destructive of something;

…fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, over-work, or intense activity;

…the termination of effective combustion in a rocket engine, due to exhaustion of propellant;

…the breakdown of a lamp, motor, or other electrical device due to the heat created by current flowing through it;

…the inability to go on.

Any of that sound familiar?

Triple Aim; HIPAA and PHI; increased productivity in the office because of how well EHR’s work; the promised EHR interconnectivity that never materialized; Value Based Payment; Alternative Payment Models; Quality Measures Compliance…we haven’t even gotten to hands-on patient care, which, by the way, is what used to cause physician burnout.

It’s no big surprise that 63% of Primary Care docs, and 45% of docs in general are showing symptoms and signs of physician burnout; and with increased demand and expectations from our current patients, the increase in patients now covered by insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act, not to even mention 10,000 Baby-Boomers every day aging into Medicare, that percentage will only increase.

The three Cardinal Symptoms, according to Dike Drummond, MD, a consultant on the phenomenon of Physician Burnout, are

Exhaustion—loss of both physical and emotional energy;

Depersonalization—cynicism, sarcasm, and the need to vent about our patients and our job;

Lack of efficacy—that feeling of doubt about the meaning of what we are doing and the quality of our work…”What’s the use…?”

Over the next few issues, we will be taking a closer look at what’s going on, and what we can do to protect ourselves and our families.


Health First Network, Inc. is pleased to announce another added benefit to your membership. We have partnered with Meridian Medical Practice Solutions (MPS).

Meridian MPS provides its association partners with an exclusive “Members Only” dashboard, through which you will be able to access your Health First Network membership benefits, web-based CME, Education Center, Advisor Panel and much more.

The anticipated launch date is January 20th and the portal will be accessible directly from the homepage. The Connect eNewsletter will also be distributed using Meridian’s new platform.

Be on the lookout for the next issue!

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Enrollment of patients in the CCM and TCM programs is in full swing at this point, and patient outreach has started. We anticipate that this will be a great tool for improving patient care and outcomes, and will also contribute to practice revenues. We are just beginning the billing for the services, and do not anticipate any problems.


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the 2015 PQRS data submission timeframes:

• EHR Direct or Data Submission Vendor (QRDA I or III) - 1/1/16 - 2/29/16

• Qualified clinical data registries (QCDRs) (QRDA III) - 1/1/16 - 2/29/16

• Group practice reporting option (GPRO) Web Interface - 1/18/16 - 3/11/16

• Qualified registries (Registry XML) - 1/1/16 - 3/31/16

• QCDRs (QCDR XML) - 1/1/16 - 3/31/16

Submission ends at 7:00 P.M. Central Time on the end date listed above. An Enterprise Identity Management (EIDM) account with the “Submitter Role” is required for these PQRS data submission methods. Please see the EIDM System Toolkit for additional information.

Eligible Professionals who do not satisfactorily report quality measure data to meet the 2015 PQRS requirements will be subject to a negative PQRS payment adjustment on all Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) services rendered in 2017.

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2016 is a critical reporting year for groups and eligible professionals (EPs) to report successfully for PQRS to avoid duplicative penalties in the Value-Based Payment Modifier (VBPM). Based on 2016 performance, smaller practices with nine or fewer EPs now face potential 2% penalties based on cost and quality performance, while practices of 10 or more EPs face the same 4% maximum amount of Medicare reimbursement at risk as of last year. 2016 performance will impact payments in 2018. The VBPM expands to cover certain non-physician practitioners including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified registered nurse anesthetists for the first time.

To learn how to avoid these penalties, MGMA has updated its member-benefit resource for 2016, the VBPM: How to Prepare Your Practice, which outlines the critical connection between PQRS and the VBPM.

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Join us on Thursday, January 21st from 12:00 p.m. - 1 p.m. at the West Florida Public Library - Tryon Branch located at 1200 Langley Ave., Pensacola, FL for a discussion on Contract Negotiations presented by Richard Tuten, Health First Network, CEO.

$15.00 for AMPM members

$20.00 for Non-Members

$25.00 for New Members with free lunch.

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The Health First Network (HFN) Board of Directors is extremely pleased to announce the formation of The HFNI Liability Insurance Program, a purchasing group program designed to enhance the professional liability coverage of our members, while maintaining long and short term competitive rates through a strong A++ rated insurance partner. Think unity! With the power of strength in numbers, this program allows us to collectively bargain more effectively for our malpractice insurance.

The timing is perfect for the launch of this program. While the malpractice insurance market has been favorable to us in the years since the 2003 tort reforms in Florida, the cycle may begin to change in the near future since the caps on non-economic damages were recently overturned. Now is the time to unify to purchase our malpractice insurance together.

We are delighted to announce that MedPro Group, a Warren Buffett/Berkshire Hathaway company rated A++ (Superior) by A.M. Best, has been chosen as the program’s insurer. With MedPro, the largest healthcare liability insurer in the country, we have the ability to control our rates and coverage into the future with a financially sound and secure partner. HFNI members will benefit from:

• Competitive Pricing
o Competitive rates
o Long-term pricing stability with HFNI negotiated program
• Robust Coverage
o Professional liability and/or general liability - both occurrence and claims-made available
o Consent to settle to the first named insured
o Unlimited reporting endorsement available with reinstatement of limits
o Incident-sensitive claims trigger
o Cyber Liability ($50,000) coverage included at no additional charge
• Industry-leading Claims and Risk Management Expertise
o More than 400,000 claims handled nationally
o 90% trial win rate; 80% of claims closed without payment
o More than 130 physicians and healthcare leaders on MedPro’s Specialty Advisory Boards
o Claims Managers averaging more than 25 years of experience
o 99% Claims Service and Risk Management satisfaction

We have chosen Danna-Gracey as our group’s insurance administrator and are pleased to have them sharing their previous leadership experiences creating other very successful group purchasing arrangements.

The Board of Directors has been looking for ways to keep more money in our pockets and less in the hands of others. We unanimously agreed that this program provides both real cost savings along with a high quality product for our members.

For more information, please contact Jackie Murph at or Julie Danna of Danna-Gracey, our insurance facilitator at 850.995.9118 or


Health First Network would like to welcome the most recent physicians to join the Network:
Ashton Graybiel, M.D. Rheumatology
Charles Wolff, M.D. Neurological Surgery
Jerome Enad, M.D. Orthopaedic Surgery
Patrick Ferry, M.D. Internal Medicine
Ralph Goodman, M.D. Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Stephanie Gorman, D.O. Pediatrics
Christopher Bibb, D.O. Orthopaedic Surgery
Kerry Griffin, M.D. Hospitalist
Cristina Guerra, M.D. General Surgery
Lincoln Jimenez, M.D. Neurological Surgery
Ruth Orth, M.D. Rheumatology
Kerry Paape, M.D. Thoracic/Cardiac Surgery
Ryan Pharr, D.O. Family Practice
Michael Simpson, M.D. Hospitalist
Jacquelyn Stone, M.D. OB/GYN
Sonya Whitaker, M.D. Family Practice
Luis Gomez, M.D. Pediatrics

** To determine which health plans each physician is participating in check the “Find A Doctor” section on the HFNI website.

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