" The Voice Of Interventional Pain Management "

celebrating our 10th anniversary

December 11, 2013


  1. Cuts for Interventional Pain Management - Act Now or Never!
  2. BCBS Reverses Non-Coverage Decision on Cervical Epidurals
  3. ASIPP 16th Annual Meeting Registration Now Open!
  4. Don's Miss This: Coding Webinar Set for next Wednesday
  5. Three-Month Doc Fix Could be Added to Budget Deal
  6. ASIPP Cadaver Workshop, Imaging, Fluroscopy and Radiation Safety Course Set in Phoenix Jan 31- Feb. 2
  7. ASIPP Annual Meeting Call for Abstracts
  8. Killing Pain: AGs Want FDA to Review Zohydro Approval
  9. Task Force: Ban Drug Reps From 'Ivory Towers'
  10. Gov't Health IT Report Expected in Early 2014
  11. Federal exchange sends unqualified people to Medicaid
  12. Structured Order for CT Scans Improves Reimbursement
  13. Harry Reid's explanation for why not all of his staff is going on "Obamacare"
  14. Pain Wise: Now Offering CMEs
  15. State Society News
  16. Physician Wanted

cutsCuts for Interventional Pain Management - Act Now or Never!


2014 Medicare Payment Rule for Interventional Pain Physicians may Put 40% of Pain Physicians Out of Practice Reduce Access to Many Americans, and Increase Medicare Expenses by $187 Million Per Year by Moving the Patients Into Most Expensive Settings


As a Thanksgiving gift on November 27, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted the 2014 final rules for physician payments, hospital outpatient (HOPD) and ambulatory surgical centers (ASC). New rates will be effective January 1, 2014.


2014 Final Fee Schedule:


Usually around this time we panic about sustainable growth rate (SGR) cuts which are scheduled to be 20% pay cut again unless congress fixes it temporarily or permanently. However, we have a much bigger problem this time. It is all about universal health care and administration attempts to go to single payor system with consolidation of hospital industry with elimination of physician practices.

  • This may put 40% of pain physicians out of practice.
  • Reduce access to patient care
  • Increase Medicare expenses by $187 million.

It is an understatement to say that the cuts are draconian and it will be devastating. Unless we act upon the issue this may be the end of interventional pain management practice for almost 40% of the physicians who base majority of their practices out of office setting. Read more...


In response, ASIPP has set up Capwiz letters for physicians and patients. You should customize and describe your own situation in physician letters. Make sure each and every physician writes a letter. Even physicians who are not interventional pain physicians may write them


Capwiz Letter for Physicians


Capwiz Letter for Patients



You should customize and describe your own situation in physician letters. Make sure each and every physician writes a letter. Even physicians who are not interventional pain physicians may write them.


This should be followed by all your staff members, their relatives and friends.


Finally, the most important aspect is the access to care, so we have to get our patients involved as our partners in this survival journey. It is not just the patients, but their family members and their friends.


Click here for information on how to implement a letter-writing campaign and for Word versions of the letters.



Also please consider contributing to the SAVE IPM FUND

bcbsBCBS Reverses Non-Coverage Decision on Cervical Epidurals


We are pleased to bring you a bit of good news for a change.


In September Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee announced they would begin denying cervical epidurals (read the policy announcement in the BlueAlert publication). In response, the Tennessee Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (TNSIPP) and ASIPP submitted an extensive evidence-based rebuttal (read rebuttal letter). Additionally TNSIPP Executive Director and President, Graf Hilgenhurst, MD met with Medical Director, Dr. Andrea Willis, to present the evidence in person.


We have just learned that they have backed down from the non-coverage decision. Obviously this can be considered as at least a temporary win.


Working together we can achieve at least a few things. We thank everyone involved in brining about this victory. This is a great example of what can be accomplished when we work together to make change.

annualASIPP 16th Annual Meeting Registration Now Open!






We are pleased to invite you, your staff, and family to join us for the ASIPP 16th Annual Meeting: IPM: Not a Luxury nor Experimental, but Effective and Necessary.


Because we are feeling the squeeze from the Affordable (Obama) Care, the current regulatory environment, and decreasing reimbursements, this annual meeting is designed to provide practical and evidence-based education to help preserve your practice into the future. We believe you will find that this conference is quite different from the majority of other conferences.




Friday, April 4

The Survival of IPM Physicians under Affordable Care (ObamaCare) featuring, Peter Staats, MD (Chairperson), the Honorable Ben Sass, PhD, Stephen Ward, MB, and Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD


Afternoon Session Topics:

Controversies of Epidural Injections

Emerging Concepts in IPM

Practice Development

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Exhibitor Reception



Saturday, April 5

Manchikanti Distinguished Lectures featuring Joshua Hirsch, MD (Chairperson), Devi E. Nampiaparampil, MD (Dr. Devi), Debra Beaulieu, James H. Diaz, MD, MPH, and Christopher J. Gilligan, MD


Afternoon Session Topics:

Emerging Evidence for Established Techniques

Emerging Aspects of IPM

Practice Management: Fraud and Abuse-Sleeping with the Enemy

Documentation Debacle

Non-Spinal Ultrasound Workshop

Business Meeting and Dinner


Sunday, April 6

Advocacy in IPM: All Politics are Local Co-Chaired by Sudhir Diwan, MD and Peter Staats, MD


In addition to this stellar itinerary, we offer exhibitor interactions, a presidential dinner with congressional speakers, and New Orleans style entertainment.


We encourage you to register today and begin making plans to attend. We hope you will come early or stay over to enjoy all the New Orleans has to offer.


Click HERE to register

fixThree-Month Doc Fix Could be Added to Budget Deal


   A three-month patch to prevent the impending cut in physician payments could be added to the budget deal reached Tuesday evening. The bill, which funds a 0.5 percent increase to physicians, was posted to the House Rules Committee very early this morning as a pending amendment to the budget legislation.


It includes some extenders. The patch is funded by a long-term extension of cuts in Medicaid DSH payments and in patient services in long-term care hospitals. The bill also delays the implementation of the new 'two midnight' rule for hospitals. In a nod to the ongoing permanent repeal effort, its called the 'Pathway for SGR Reform Act of 2013.'


The bill

webinarDon's Miss This: Coding Webinar Set for next Wednesday


Don't risk denied payments by being out of the loop on upcoming changes in 2014! Get the updates you need to compliantly report your services in the New Year! By attending this session, you will be brought up-to-date on issues that affect coding and billing for Interventional Pain Management services.



The webinar is from 11 am to 12:30 pm CDT. Cost for the webinar is $175.


Marvel J. Hammer RN BS CPC CCS-P ASC-PM CHCO, is a registered nurse with over twenty-five years experience in a multitude of specialties. Her field of specialties includes Pain Management, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurology, and Occupational Medicine. She is a coding and compliance consultant and principal of MJH Consulting based in Denver, Colorado.



Click HERE to register



phoenixRegister Now for ASIPP Cadaver Workshop, Imaging, Fluroscopy and Radiation Safety Course Set in Phoenix Jan 31- Feb. 2


  ASIPP Is pleased to announce a Cadaver Workshop (Basic, Intermediate, and ABIPP Preparation), February 1-2, 2014 and the Imaging, Fluoroscopy, and Radiation Safety course on January 31, 2014, both in Phoenix, AZ.


The 1-day review course includes didactics on the topic of fluoroscopy. Participants experience a comprehensive and intense learning opportunity, focusing on interventional pain management techniques.


The intensive review course in fluoroscopy is planned as a CME activity for interventional pain physicians-for review, skills improvement or to fullfil state board requirements for CME hours in fluoroscopic interpretation and radiation safety.


After this course, participants should be able to:

- Describe the delivery of multiple aspects of interventional pain management.

- Review multiple areas of interventional pain management including fluoroscopic interpretation and radiation safety

- Demonstrate skills through interactive review of images



Click HERE to register


Click HERE to view brochure


Click HERE for hotel information.


abstractASIPP Annual Meeting Call for Abstracts


Abstract submission is now open to  enter your abstract proposal into the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians abstract and poster presentation at the 16th Annual Meeting set for April 4-6, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.


The top 20 abstracts will be published in Pain Physician journal. The top 20 will be selected for Poster presentation during the annual meeting on April 5. The top 5 will be presenting their abstracts during the regular session of all members on Saturday. That evening at the Presidential Awards Banquet, the top three abstract presenters will receive cash prizes.


A final abstract submission deadline is at 5pm Monday, February 17, 2014. Those selected will be notified by March 4, 2014 and will receive free registration to the annual meeting.


Click HERE or a complete set of rules  


Click HERE to submit your abstract.

killingKilling Pain: AGs Want FDA to Review Zohydro Approval



Attorneys general from 28 states have asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its approval of the powerful narcotic painkiller known as Zohydro (hydrocodone bitartrate).


In October, the FDA went against the recommendation of its own advisory committee and approved the drug, which will be the first hydrocodone-only drug in America. Hydrocodone is the opioid in drugs such as Vicodin which also include over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.


Zohydro ER will come in doses packing five to 10 times more heroin-like narcotic than traditional hydrocodone products. In addition, because it is designed to be released slowly over 12 hours, pleasure-seekers will be able to crush it, chew it, or mix it with alcohol to unleash its full punch at once because the drug does not have an abuse-limiting formulation.



MedPage Today

taskTask Force: Ban Drug Reps From 'Ivory Towers'


Drug sales reps should be banned from academic medical centers, but mingling between faculty and pharma researchers is not a problem, according to a conflict-of-interest task force.


"Pharmaceutical sales representatives should not be allowed access to any faculty, students, or trainees in academic medical centers or affiliated entities," the task force, convened by the Pew Charitable Trusts, wrote in a 30-page report released Tuesday. "However, faculty may invite pharmaceutical scientists for specific educational or scientific discussions that do not involve marketing of a specific product."


MedPage Today


itGov't Health IT Report Expected in Early 2014


NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- A strategy for promoting innovation in health information technology -- due from three federal agencies -- should come out early next year, a government official said Monday.


The FDA, Office of National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC), and the Federal Communications Commission have been working on a report outlining strategies and recommendations on the issue as mandated by the FDA Safety and Innovation Act, which Congress passed last summer, explained Jodi Daniel, JD, MPH, director of ONC's Office of Policy and Planning. Daniel was speaking at the mHealth Summit here, hosted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).



MedPage Today

federalFederal exchange sends unqualified people to Medicaid


The federal health care exchange is incorrectly determining that some people are eligible for Medicaid when they clearly are not, leaving them with little chance to get the subsidized insurance they are entitled to as the Dec. 23 deadline for enrollment approaches.


State and industry officials haven't quantified the problem yet, but the National Association of State Medicaid Directors may release information next week after following up on reports from around the country, says Executive Director Matt Salo.


USA Today




structureStructured Order for CT Scans Improves Reimbursement



CHICAGO - A structured physician order form for trauma CT imaging can increase the rate of clinical history provided to the radiologist, new research shows. And because the clinical history specifies billing codes, initial reimbursement denials are reduced.


The physician order entry form includes drop-down lists of clinical signs, symptoms, and mechanism of injury. "We created these lists working with the emergency department docs in our institutions," explained Jeremy Wortman, MD, a resident at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.



harryHarry Reid's explanation for why not all of his staff is going on 'Obamacare'


Our colleagues at Factcheck.org have already explored one issue that had interested us: Why House Speaker John Boehner's insurance premiums increased dramatically. The main reason is that in the federal employee health plan, premiums are not affected by age; the young and old pay the same rate, depending on family status. But on the exchanges, older workers can pay as much as three times as much as younger workers. That's an improvement for individual plans in the pre-ACA world system - where the "age band" could be five or more times greater - but there is premium-shock if someone, such as Boehner, is 64 and moving from a community-rated plan.


The other contentious issue is that some congressional staff members are able to stay in the federal health plan. Boehner (R-Ohio), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have all designated all of their their staffs to join the exchanges. So did many other leaders in the Senate and the House. But Reid kept his leadership staff on the federal plan, explaining that he was following the law. Does that mean the others are not following the law?


Let's explore. Reid's explanation is certainly newsworthy.


Washington Post


wisePain Wise: Now Offering CMEs


 Pain-Wise is a patient and Medical Professional'sguide to simplifying the confusing and often overwhelming process of finding the appropriate treatment for chronic pain. Written by three ASIPP Member doctors with years of experience in pain management, Pain-Wise teaches the basics of how pain works, explains different interventional pain therapies in layman's terms, and helps a patient communicate with their doctor. Doctors have found Pain-Wise to be a strong tool in creating a meaningful dialogue with their patients.
Pain-Wise includes expert advice on:

  • Identifying various parts of the body that can cause pain, using a simple anatomy guide
  • How to choose a pain specialist who is right for you
  • Getting the most out of your doctor's visits
  • Basic explanations of common interventional pain management techniques
  • Information on minimally invasive surgery techniques
  • Explanation of implantable therapies for the treatment of severe chronic pain

This valuable patient resource is sold in cases of 24 books. Buy 1-3 cases for just $10 per book. Buy 4 cases or more and pay just $7.50 per book. The regular retail price of the book is $15.


 Click HERE to order

stateState Society News


WISIPP Plans January Meeting


The Wisconsin chapter of the American Socieity of Interventional Pain Physicians will be Friday, January 24th, 2014, at Andrew's Bar & Restaurant in Delafield.  More details and registration information will be available shortly.


CASIPP Sets Date for Annual Meeting


The California Society of Interventional Pain Physicians will hold its 2014 annual meeting September 12-14 at the Terranea Resort (www.terranea.com) in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.


For more information, go to www.casipp.com





* Please send in your State Society meeting news to:
 Holly Long at hlong@asipp.org

adsPhysicians Wanted


If you are interested in advertising on the Physicians Wanted page, please contact Holly Long for pricing information
Phone (270) 554-9412 ext. 230
Fax: (270) 554-5394



Click HERE to view Classified Physicians Wanted Ads listed on the ASIPP website.




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American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians ®
81 Lakeview Drive, Paducah, KY 42001
Phone 270.554.9412, Fax 270.554.5394
E-mail asipp@asipp.org