Pearls from the UCLA Intensive Course in Geriatrics and Pharmacy 2019
by Dan Osterweil, MD, FACP, CMD

Drs. Wasserman and Osterweil were on the faculty of this renowned course that brings more than 300 physicians, nurse practitioners and pharmacists to Los Angeles. This annual event brings the best of Geriatrics to four intensive days. 

In the photo, Dr. Wasserman, CALTCM President, is sharing his experience in the business of geriatric medicine, while also showing the image of his father, who is the national Albert Einstein impersonator. Dr. Osterweil, co-director of the UCLA course and CALTCM CEO, led a workshop in advance care planning featuring Drs. Bruce Ferrell, Neil Wenger and Rebecca Yamarik, all experts in Palliative Care and Hospice. This interactive workshop highlighted the importance of having the discussions about goals and preferences of elders. All speakers agreed that clinicians should make recommendations consistent with the patient’s prognosis and personal goals. The consensus was that asking patients whether they should be resuscitated is almost always inappropriate. The patient is an expert on their own goals and preferences, and the clinician is an expert in medicine who should not shy away from making recommendations based on that. A session on opportunities for practice improvement and another on care transitions were led by Dr. Osterweil on other days of the course.
Governor Signs AB 714; Bill Takes Effect Immediately
by Coalition for Compassionate Care of California
Shared with permission

AB 714 (Wood), which clarifies current law and provides common-sense exemptions from opioid co-prescribing requirements, passed the legislature and was signed on Sept 6 by Governor Newsom. Specifically, AB 714 exempts opioid prescribers from naloxone hydrochloride co-prescribing requirements when ordering medications to be administered to a patient who is in either an inpatient or outpatient setting or a patient who is terminally ill, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 11159.2 of the Health and Safety Code. AB 714 has an urgency clause, which means it took effect immediately upon the governor’s signature. 

“CCCC works hard to ensure that proposed legislation recognizes the unique needs of palliative care providers and the people they serve,” said Judy Thomas, CEO of the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC). “Given that the original requirement had minimal benefit to terminally ill patients but a significant negative impact in terms of time and money for healthcare providers, an exemption was warranted.”

Palliative care providers joined CCCC in celebrating the passage of AB 714. “We appreciate legislators’ efforts to make the safety of California citizens a top priority,” said Michael Fratkin, MD, Founder-CEO of ResolutionCare. “As a palliative care program that often provides care for people who are terminally ill, we are relieved that AB 714 provides an exemption from the naloxone requirements because it allows us to focus our attention where it should be — on providing care to our patients. We’re proud of the work that CCCC and others do to advocate for the interests of palliative care providers and the people they serve.”

Posted online at:

The Need for Telehealth in Your Post-Acute or Long-Term Care Community
by Alexandrea Cronin, MPH, Juhi Israni, MS, Michael Kurliand, RN, BSN, MS
West Health

The 2020 to 2030 decade will have several notable firsts for the United States. For the first time in US history, individuals age 65 and older will represent 20% of the population[1]It is anticipated that this surge in the older adult population will see approximately a million more residents in senior living communities such as nursing homes and assisted living. As the healthcare landscape evolves and the senior population grows, post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) organizations have emerged as a lower cost site for complex care. Alternative care delivery models such as telehealth provide a value-based care option to address resident needs by virtually evaluating and treating patients at a distance.

Changes to healthcare will demand more from PALTC organizations today and in the future. By 2030, the projected physician shortage will be somewhere between 40,800 and 104,900[2]; including both primary and specialty care, with specialty shortages projected to be particularly high. The lack of primary care providers will have an impact on preventive healthcare services which will become more crucial as the risk for health problems increases with an aging population. Additionally, several states in the south and west regions of the United States are expected to have Registered Nurse (RN) shortages between 2,200 and 44,500[3]. Complicating matters, the shortage of specialists and nursing staff will leave patients with heart failure, Alzheimer’s, strokes, cancer, arthritis, and other ailments with less access to timely care. The decreasing number of unpaid caregivers will further complicate the situation. In 2010, for every person that needed a caregiver, there was an estimated seven caregivers; that number has dramatically decreased to four caregivers for every one person[4],[5],[6]. Meeting the clinical needs of the 65 and older segment of the population is already a challenge without considering the reduction in medical providers and caregivers.

Update on New Legislation AB 1753 – Controlled Substance Prescriptions

by Arutyun “Harry” Sarkissian, PharmD. and Janice Hoffman, PharmD., EdD, APh, BCGP, FASCP

Introduction by Flora Y. Bessey, Pharm.D., BCGP

Dr. Harry Sarkissian brings us an enlightening summary of AB 1753, which addresses controlled substances and the efforts of the California legislature to increase security and decrease fraud and theft of controlled substances. This bill is very specific about PAPER prescriptions, and applies some very strict guidelines about how these scripts need to be written.

As we all know, much of the correspondence between our facilities and our pharmacies is via FAX, or scan and FAX/email. The paper that must be used now will show a large “VOID” across the prescription when the FAX/scan is received by the pharmacy. This is an effort to prevent copies of prescriptions being used to generate fraudulent paper prescriptions that could then be filled at any pharmacy. However, there is well-founded concern that some pharmacists would be reluctant to fill a prescription that is marked “VOID!” We may be able to mitigate this with appropriate training of our bench pharmacists, but it is certainly a consideration.

Leadership and Management in Geriatrics (LMG) is Expanding

by CALTCM LMG Faculty

Dan Osterweil, MD, FACP, CMD, Ethan Cumbler, MD, FACP, FHM, and Michael Wasserman, MD, CMD

The original course entitled Leadership & Management in Geriatrics (LMG) was established at UCLA over 15 years ago, and has hundreds of proud alumni.  That course, which continues annually under the sponsorship of CALTCM, is focused on individual leaders serving in diverse organizations with many different roles and responsibilities.

In 2018, LMG faculty went beyond training individuals, by creating a new focus on nursing facility teams. Recognizing that a key factor in successful long term care facilities is the leadership team, we developed “LMG for Nursing Homes” (LMG-NH).  Bringing Administrators, Directors of Nursing, Directors of Staff Development, and Medical Directors together to introduce key leadership and management constructs for the “free flowing” NH environment, participants dove into implementation strategies and tactics. The major themes included practice improvement, goal setting and management of human talents, provided under a QAPI (Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement) umbrella. In addition, participants are able to obtain additional support through post-course faculty mentorship.

CALTCM conducted four LMG-NH sessions in 2018, geared toward training leadership teams drawn from the largest consortium of facilities in California. The revised curriculum was designed to meet the needs of the multi-disciplinary management team. This was, to our knowledge, the first state-wide professional workshop bringing physicians, administrators, and nurses together under one roof.  Click here to view short photo slide show of 2018's LMG events.

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