On Call with Connecticut Physicians

Thanks for tuning into "On Call with Connecticut Physicians," a podcast initiative of the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS). Hosted by CSMS Executive Director Bob Russo, MD, this podcast series provides Connecticut physicians a forum to share their positions and insights on various healthcare policies impacting their patients and the field of medicine in the state—particularly legislative proposals that come before the state legislature.

Episodes of "On Call" can also be found on the CSMS YouTube Channel

Physicians Media Day 2021: Executive Summary

with CSMS Executive Director Dr. Bob Russo, CSMS President Dr. Gregory Shangold and Chair of the CSMS Legislative Committee Dr. David Emmel

CSMS Executive Director Dr. Bob Russo, President Dr. Gregory Shangold and Chair of the Legislative Committee Dr. David Emmel take part in Physicians Media Day 2021, a virtual event designed to connect physician leaders with members of the media to discuss legislative proposals and current policies that impact the practice of medicine in Connecticut. Recorded on March 2, 2021.

How the Patient-Physician Relationship Evolved Through COVID-19

with CSMS Executive Director Dr. Bob Russo, CSMS President Dr. Gregory Shangold and Chair of the CSMS Legislative Committee Dr. David Emmel

With a full year of the COVID-19 pandemic approaching, CSMS Executive Director Dr. Bob Russo, President Dr. Gregory Shangold and Chair of the Legislative Committee Dr. David Emmel were asked how the patient-physician relationship evolved through COVID-19. This is an excerpt from Physicians Media Day 2021 (March 2, 2021).

High Deductible Health Plans

with Dr. Gregory Shangold, CSMS President

The past decade has drastic changes to how patients access the healthcare they need when they need it—and the onset of the “high deductible” healthcare plans is one of the most harmful changes that has significant impact on the physician-patient relationship as well as a patients’ ability to receive the right care, at the right time, for the right reason. These higher out-of-pocket deductibles are posing impossible challenges for patients, families and practicing physicians. Due to high deductible health plans, millions of patients must cover thousands of dollars in medical costs before their insurance coverage kicks in. These plans have become barriers between patients and their physicians, leading to larger health problems down the road. Meanwhile, it puts physicians in the adverse position of being stuck in the middle—having to adhere to their contract with the healthcare plan and seek collection of the deductible for their patients. More and more patients who owe their physician reimbursements, which they can’t afford, are forgoing necessary preventive or needed care while physicians have forgone payment for previous services that they contracted with the healthcare plan to provide.


with Dr. David Emmel, Chair of the CSMS Legislative Committee

Telemedicine proved to be critical in 2020, helping physicians reach patients they couldn’t see in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to an executive order from Governor Ned Lamont, and later, the passage of a bill by the Connecticut General Assembly, physicians were given essential flexibilities and reimbursement parity that enabled them to provide treatment to patients via telemedicine. These changes helped patients—particularly elderly and immunocompromised patients—and even those who had personal concerns about entering not only a physician‘s office, but any healthcare facility to receive the medical care they needed at that time. In a world with required and prudent COVID-19 safety measures, the expansion of telemedicine was not only a needed transfusion of help for our patients, it also proved to be an efficient way to deliver healthcare that makes patients feel most comfortable.

CTHealthLink and Health Information Exchanges (HIE)

with Dr. Robert Aseltine, Chair of the CTHealthLink Advisory Board

In this episode we talk about Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), which share healthcare information electronically across organizations within a region, community or hospital system. HIEs ease access to clinical data to help provide safe and timely patient-centered care—particularly through a patient's continuity of care with multiple providers. Dr. Robert Aseltine—a UConn Health professor who chairs the CTHealthLink Advisory Board—joins the podcast to discuss CSMS' HIE CTHealthLink and what it holds in store for our patients and Connecticut’s practicing physicians.

Relieving the Tax Burden on Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs)

with Dr. David Emmel, Chair of the CSMS Legislative Committee

A recent analysis of Medicare payment data released in September 2020 by KNG Consulting shows that ambulatory surgery centers—or ASCs—reduced Medicare costs by $28.7 billion from 2011 through 2018 by providing services to Medicare patients that otherwise would have been performed in higher-cost hospital outpatient departments. The analysis projects that ASCs are expected to reduce Medicare costs by over $70 billion through 2028. Dr. David Emmel, an ophthalmologist and chair of the CSMS Legislative Committee joins the podcast to discuss the important role ASCs play in reducing healthcare costs—and the negative impact Connecticut's ASC tax is having by both adding additional costs to the system and reducing patient access to affordable, high-quality care.

The Recreational Use of Marijuana

with Dr. Gregory Shangold, CSMS President

Connecticut is one of several states that will consider whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in 2021—a decision that greatly concerns physician members of the Connecticut State Medical Society. Dr. Gregory Shangold, an emergency physician and President of the Connecticut State Medical Society, joins the podcast to discuss this issue and how the passage of this measure will impact the health of our state.

Surprise Billing

with Dr. Gregory Shangold, CSMS President

In this episode we discuss the harmful effect that unexpectedly high medical bills can have on Connecticut’s patients—particularly in emergency situations. A simple explanation—a patient shows up in an Emergency Room at a hospital that is in their insurance network. During their stay, they receive care from a provider who is not in their network. Then—long after being receiving the appropriate care for their condition, and discharged—they receive a bill from their insurance company with unexpectedly high charges that they are told they must pay for the out-of-network care they received at their in-network hospital. This is called “surprise billing,” and it is a problem facing Connecticut patients and physicians in emergency care situations as well as all other specialty practices that threatens to erode patient access to the high-quality, affordable care they deserve.


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