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It's Been a Busy Week at CMS, and It's Only Wednesday!

Dear CMS Members,

I wanted to share some of the things we've been up to at CMS lately. On Monday, we held a highly productive Medical Research Summit in conjunction with Congressman Danny Davis at our headquarters on Grand Avenue. Deans and their representatives from Loyola, Northwestern, Rush, Southern Illinois University and the University of Chicago informed the Congressman and his staff about the triumphs and challenges of conducting medical research at their institutions. We heard testimony from several young researchers who spoke of the difficulty in finding grant funding at the beginning of their careers. The Congressman and and his staff acknowledged the importance of this vital work and spoke of their efforts and commitment to protect and promote medical research funding for their constituents. We are truly fortunate to have a strong ally in Representative Davis.

Last night we had another very productive Council meeting. It started with an informative and entertaining talk by Dr. David Hinkamp about his innovative Health in the Arts program at the University of Illinois. He explained the many health and safety challenges faced by art students and artists of all types - performers,  painters,  sculptors,  etc. These challenges are compounded by their lack of access to health care. He spoke of the successful approach they've taken to improve the safety of these artists' work environment. And he offered audience members the opportunity to volunteer to provide free care for one of the many deserving Chicago artists who would otherwise be without it. Please call Dr. Hinkamp at 312-996-7420 if you would like to become a volunteer physician with Health in the Arts.

The Council heard testimony, debated and passed many important resolutions last night: Transparency in Television Advertising of Medications, Sickle Cell Disease 30-Day Readmission Rule, Child Resistant Packaging of Cannabis Products, Triphenyl Phosphate in Nail Polish, Processed Meats and Cancer, Autofill Prescriptions, and Faxing 90-Day Medication Requests. All of these resolutions have important implications for the health of our patients and our daily practice of medicine. I'm especially pleased by the participation of our Medical Student Section who brought forward the Sickle Cell 30-Day Readmission resolution. Many of these resolutions will be brought forward to the ISMS House of Delegates, and if passed may ultimately be brought to the floor of the AMA House. It's this process that resulted in the successful creation of a CPT code followed by Medicare reimbursement for End-of-Life discussions with our patients.

On another note, I wanted to share with you our success in lobbying the Mayor and City Council for a two-tiered e-cigarette tax that will raise the price of these products, and we hope, deter our youth from e-smoking.

We are in the midst of an effort to lobby for a health care exemption from the city's Cloud Tax. This is a 9% tax on Internet fees for businesses that access the cloud to do their work. Non-profits are exempted but physician offices would be subject to this tax for accessing their patients' medical records or doing online research to provide care for their patients. We feel that this tax places another financial burden on physicians who are struggling to remain in private practice and who will not be reimbursed for this onerous fee. We have worked with the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council to provide testimony to Aldermen and the Mayor's office. Look for an Advocacy Alert in your mailbox for ways that you can help lobby the City Council.

As always, you are invited to join us at our next Council Meeting at Maggiano's on Tuesday, February 9. Please call our offices to RSVP if you would like to attend. If you are interested in putting forth any policy proposals that would advance to the state level, please let us know right away so that we can be prepared address them at our next Council meeting, which is the last one before the ISMS House of Delegates.

It's my pleasure to serve you and advocate on your behalf. Please let me know of any issues that are on your mind.


Kathy Tynus, MD, FACP
President, Chicago Medical Society

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