National Hispanic Medical Association Newsletter – June 2016 

Washington, DC 


Legislative Update

HHS Budget from Senate – eliminates the HCOP Program... but moves $40M for mental health training for primary care physicians to HRSA from SAMHSA...waiting for Congress appropriations to HHS.
HHS Health Reform Update
HHS CMS requesting Comments on the new Alternative Payment Models for physicians on value-based payments due June 27th. As you know, the SGR was dissolved last year. 
The MACRA QPP will help us to move more quickly toward our goal of paying for value and better care. The Quality Payment Program has two paths:
     1. Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)
     2. Alternative Payment Models (APMs)
MIPS and APMs will go into effect over a timeline from 2015 through 2021 and beyond.
The MIPS is a new program that combines parts of the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the Value Modifier (VM or Value-based Payment Modifier), and the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) incentive program into one single program in which Eligible Professionals (EPs) will be measured on:
  • Quality
  • Resource use
  • Clinical practice improvement
  • Meaningful use of certified EHR technology
  APMs give us new ways to pay health care providers for the care they give Medicare beneficiaries. For example:
  • From 2019-2024, pay some participating health care providers a lump-sum incentive payment.
  • Increased transparency of physician-focused payment models.
  • Starting in 2026, offers some participating health care providers higher annual payments.
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Patient Centered Medical Homes, and bundled payment models are some examples of APMs. If any member has key comments – please send them to Elena Rios at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. byFriday June 20, 2016 to consider to include in the NHMA Comment to CMS.
Prevention of Zika funding supported by Congress

Congress is still struggling to reach an agreement to provide emergency funding to battle the Zika virus, and lawmakers are worried the fight could last for weeks, despite increasingly urgent warnings from federal health officials about the need to move quickly to prevent a U.S. outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus. The Senate passed a bill for $1.1 billion for mosquito-extermination efforts, testing and vaccine research. But the House passed legislation providing only $622 million and redirecting money from other programs to pay for it, including some funds previously dedicated to fighting Ebola. The two sides now must come together and reach a compromise that can pass both chambers and be signed by President Obama. But there was little sign of progress Wednesday seeping from the offices of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. NHMA has sent letter of support to the Congress. 

H.R. 5278, the “Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act” (PROMESA)

The bill was passed out of the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Rules and has been commended by Hispanic groups for their expeditious work in advancing PROMESA to begin to address Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. However, there is lack of support for a Financial Oversight and Management Board and the potential undermining of the Puerto Rican government authority. NHMA supports the PROMESA Bill to help Puerto Rico with its $72 Billion debt crisis and the current Zika crisis.


Program Update

NHMA 20th  Annual Conference Follow-up:  

  • See the for all presentations and photos. 
  • This summer, a summary of the Conference will be published by the NHMA Board Journal Committee.
  • Capitol Hill Visits – Dr. Rios and staff have visited Congressional Hispanic Caucus Health Task Force Co-Chair, Congresswoman Lujan Grisham Legislative Director who thanks us for the support and discussed the need to adjust the CareGiver Corps bill and we pledged to continue to support. 
  • Dr. De Salvo, HHS Acting Assistant Secretary of Health has invited NHMA to bring our network of health leaders to meet with her on HHS current policies that impact our communities. 
  • CDC special listening Session to be used for planning of next year’s Act Against AIDS grant program. 
  • NHMA interest groups met to plan their activities – Council of Young Physicians, Council of Residents, NHMA Six Region Forums in Sept-Oct; LMSA and HHS HEO also met on their priorities.
  • Boards of LMSA and NHMA met to plan the NHMA –LMSA Chapter Advisor Program – we seek NHMA physician or resident members interested in becoming mentors and to link LMSA to NHMA Region and National efforts; you will be recognized at the 2017 NHMA Annual Conference –contact Sara Reinoso atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • NHMA and NHHF Corporate Advisory Committee met with Board leaders to discuss continued support for the organizations to build infrastructure and capacity to influence Hispanic healthcare in the U.S.
  • NHMA Leadership Institute for medical societies and health professional association presidents – heard the importance of innovation and leadership from GM Director of Diversity, Dr. Padilla and a new startup for dental device, Kayla Hernandez and the presidents of the AMA, AAP, AAFP and ACP – great feedback to hear more leaders at the Opening Plenary next year !  And to hear from our Medical Society and Health Professional organizations too!
  • NHHF - PCORI Meeting resulted in priorities to improve Hispanic Research – second meeting will occurJune 29th in Washington, DC – interested? Contact NHMA today.
  • Gala Keynote Speaker Dr. Roberto Tapia-Conyer, CEO of the Carlos Slim Foundation followed-up meeting with Dr. Rios on his meeting with Board Leaders about his partnership interest with NHMA to improve Hispanic health access to program development: access to Mexican IMG physicians, health education through multimedia platforms, and the NHMA Leadership Fellowship to build influencers for responsive health system in the U.S. for Hispanic health.

NHHF PCORI Hispanic Health Research Mentoring Program just awarded 2 year grant – NHMA to collaborate with NHHF on a national mentoring program for Junior Faculty members by developing the mentor network from among our databases of  Senior Faculty - academic researchers to build a cadre of patient-centered researchers about Hispanic health research. Anyone interested please contact Andrew Robles Sol at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NHMA – ASTHO Adult Flu Immunizations Project – NHMA physicians to meet with NY State Health Department and NYC Health Department officials on how to increase immunization rates for Latino patients on August 2nd – We are seeking NY physician members to join us to share strategies; you must serve Latino adult patients and have EMRs that can demonstrate numbers of Hispanic adults with immunizations for a data collection effort. Reply to Andrew Robles Sol at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

CDC Act Against AIDS Campaign ---NHMA has social media, website, portal messages several times a week to increase awareness in our networks about the importance of HIV Testing and Treatment for high risk persons. In addition at the NHMA Conference, we had CDC HIV Exhibit and held a special listening session for CDC to hear from our physicians on their recommendations to reach Latinos high risk for HIV/AIDS. Thanks to all who participated. For more information, see

CMS Tranforming Clinical Practice Initiative – NHMA continues to recruit our physicians to take advantage of the free counseling and technical assistance about how to improve practice protocols for value based care. This program is the largest investment from CMS for the practicing physician, nurse, physician assistant, others – in academia, in hospitals, in clinics and in private medical practice.  Go to for more information.   

National Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarships Applications now available on the National Hispanic Health Foundation (NHHF) Website,
This year NHHF Scholarship Reception and Galas will follow a Hispanic Health Professional JOB FAIR for physicians, residents and nurses for area hospitals, health systems, medical groups and clinics.  Recruiters from these institutions are invited to register at the JOB FAIR site on the same website.
For more information, contact Jeanne Duvall at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Members Update

Dr. Judy Flores, Dr. Nellie Correa and Dr. Diana Torres-Burgos to meet with the Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz, Jr., a former recipient of the NHMA Leadership Award for his community effort for Obesity Awareness Program on NHMA and NHHF partnership in the Bronx.

Dr. Diana Torres-Burgos attends the Novartis partners meeting to learn about new educational programs.

Dr. Sergio Rimola speaks for NHMA at the EcoAmerica Latino Climate Change Summit June 17 in DC.

NHMA Region Steering Committees seeking new Chairpersons from San Antonio and Los Angeles and new members.  The group serves as the leadership group for each NHMA Region (West, Southwest, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Washington DC Metro) and provides input for advocacy in the Region’s States, referrals to partners and speakers for our Fall Region Policy Forums. Contact Sara Reinoso if interested atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Greg Talavera, CSUSD and Dr. Aida Giachello, Northwestern U. and Dr. Jose Pagan, NYAM to speak at the NHHF PCORI Agenda-Setting Meeting on June 29th at the Beacon Hotel, Washington, DC --- researchers and other Hispanic health experts interested in attending to build NHHF Hispanic Patient Centered Health Research priorities, contact Andrew Robles Sol at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Rios attended the AMA President Inaugural Dinner June 14 in Chicago to show support for working with the AMA and NMA for 10 years leading the Commission to End Healthcare Disparities which was recently dissolved as a nonprofit.. NHMA will continue to serve on the AMA House of Delegates Minority Affairs Section with the NMA and AAIP and encourages health disparities efforts for physicians. Special thanks to Dr. Kathy Flores, our last Commission liaison who attended meetings for NHMA for past 3 years.
NHMA President  Rios also invited to serve as the Health Disparities Speaker at the Democratic Convention Platform Committee meeting in Phoenix June 17. 

NHMA invites all interested in Hispanic health to join NHMA as a Premier Member --- for opportunities to build your network among Hispanic health champions. Go to to join today.  



NHMA Residents and Physicians requested to serve as NHMA-LMSA Chapter Advisors. This is an important role for our members (either Physicians or Residents) to mentor medical students interested in becoming physicians in our communities. You should be linked to the Region Steering Committee and aware of NHMA activities and maintain contact with the LMSA Chapter Coordinator.  Time commitment depends on on each person involved.  Contact (202) 628-5895 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if interested by August 1, 2016.  We need your photo and bio to upload to our Website and to send to the LMSA Chapter Coordinators.
Save the Date:
NHMA 21st Annual Conference to be held at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel, Washington DC - May 3rd – May 7th, 2017 (NEW)
Thank you to our Sponsors, Speakers, Poster Presenters and Exhibitors for a successful conference in April 2016!  We had a great time collaborating with the Hispanic Dental Association and hope to develop more linkages especially for policy and advocacy activities at next year’s Conference.
Region Policy Forums
  • New York City: 9/22 (Northeast)
  • Los Angeles: 9/24 (West)
  • Washington, DC: 9/29 (DC Metro)
  • Chicago: 10/1 (Midwest)
  • Atlanta: 10/13 (Southeast)
  • San Antonio: 10/18 (Southwest)
NHHF Health Professional Job Fairs (5-6:30 pm) and  Student  Scholarship Reception (6:30 -7:30 pm) and Galas (7:30 - 11:30 pm)
  • JW Marriot LA Live: December 8, 2016
  • New York Academy of Medicine: December 15, 2016
Pfizer Doubles Income Eligibility Limit to their Patient Assistance Program to Benefit Even More Patients in Need

Pfizer has been helping patients gain access to the Pfizer medicines they need for more than 25 years, and the company has stepped up that effort by doubling the allowable income level for its patient assistance program, so that even more patients in need could be eligible to receive their Pfizer medicines for free.

Since November 2015, Pfizer increased the income limit from 2 times the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 4 times the FPL (adjusted for family size) for more than 40 medicines offered for free through its patient assistance program. That means that a single person earning at or below $47,520 per year or a family of four earning at or below $97,200 per year could qualify for free medicines from Pfizer.

Pfizer’s action is in response to the ongoing challenges patients face in paying their out-of-pocket costs for their prescription medicines.

“We have listened to patients and acted quickly to significantly expand the eligibility of our patient assistance programs. While patient assistance is not a permanent solution, it is a necessary step for helping to solve some of the high co-pay issues that some patients face,” said Sally Susman, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs at Pfizer.

Through its Pfizer RxPathways® initiative, Pfizer connects patients, including those with health insurance and those without, to a range of Pfizer programs to help them gain access to Pfizer medicines. These programs include

  ·      Patient assistance programs that provide Pfizer medicines for free to those who qualify 

  ·      Savings program that provides savings ranging from 35% to 50% off the retail price on Pfizer medicines for uninsured patients, regardless of income 

  ·      Insurance support services for select Pfizer medicines to help patients understand the coverage offered through their insurance plans 

  ·      Co-pay cards for those with private/commercial insurance and information on alternate sources of help, like independent co-pay foundations 

  ·      Referrals to other industry resources that may help if it is discovered that a patient is not taking a Pfizer medicine 

In the last five years alone (2011-2015), Pfizer helped more than 2 million uninsured and underinsured patients across the United States receive over 25 million Pfizer prescriptions for free or at a savings, making it the most comprehensive program of its kind.

Pfizer trusts that the expansion of the income limit for its patient assistance program will help bridge the gap for patients in need while the healthcare system continues to build into one that provides good coverage, for all patients. “The real solution is to have a system that provides patients with access to innovative new treatments their doctors prescribe and insurance plans with good coverage,” added Susman. 

There are currently over 60 medicines available for free through Pfizer RxPathways. This change affects those medicines that previously had income limits of  2 times the FPL – about 40 medicines in total. The other medicines – mostly oncology and specialty medicines – already had income limits at or above this level.

Patients, healthcare providers, and patient advocates can to learn more about Pfizer’s programs, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, as well as to download applications or program brochures.


Please consider supporting the NHMA and NHHF programs by contributing a tax deductible donation to our Foundation - The National Hispanic Health Foundation. Go to
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