Get ready for more exciting CME in 2018 April 30, 2018
The weather is heating up, and so is the PAFP's educational curriculum! There are two more excellent opportunities for live CME this year: our Second Annual Clinical Procedures in Dermatology event Sept. 6-7 in State College, and the Nemacolin CME Conference Nov. 2-4 at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington. Don't forget about our complimentary online CME webcast courses!
Overdose suicides a hidden aspect of epidemic April 27, 2018
As the U.S. continues to grapple with the effects of the opioid epidemic, researchers say one component of the crisis continues to be overlooked: a significant number of overdose deaths may in fact be suicides. HealthDay reports a study in the New England Journal of Medicine has shed light on the issue; while it's difficult to determine intent, both suicides and overdose deaths are rising.
Gov. Wolf announces $26m grant to fight opioids April 26, 2018
Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf has announced that the state has received a grant of $26.2 million to combat the opioid epidemic. TribLive reports the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant, part of the 21st Century Cures Act, will help the state continue improving access to evidence-based treatment; this is the second year Pennsylvania has qualified for the grant.
Medical marijuana growers file petition against research program April 25, 2018
A group of Pennsylvania medical marijuana growers and dispensers have filed a petition against the state's pioneering medical marijuana research program prior to its launch, calling it "disruptive" and "unlawful." According to Philly.com, the program would allow eight state teaching hospitals to work with a dispensary on research; the complaint asks a judge to declare the rules invalid.
CMS to allow doctors to bill patients directly? April 24, 2018
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to launch a new pay model that would allow Medicare beneficiaries to directly contract with their doctors. Modern Healthcare reports the CMS said this could potentially enhance the physician-patient relationship by eliminating a provider's administrative burden and adding increased flexibility to provide high-quality care.
Americans are more afraid of health care costs than illness April 23, 2018
Why are people skipping visits to their doctors? It's not latrophobia (the fear of physicians and hospitals), but the high cost of care that's keeping them from seeking treatment. According to CNBC, 44 percent of Americans said in a recent poll they didn't go to the doctor or hospital for an injury or illness because of financial concerns; 40 percent skipped tests or treatments.
You're invited to MIG on Addictions at AAFP FMX April 20, 2018
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is looking for participants for its MIG (member interest group) on Addictions at its annual Family Medicine Experience (FMX) meeting this fall. This meeting will help the AAFP to provide connections and foster support for members interested in treating patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). Click here for details.
We're looking for members to step into the 'Spotlight' April 19, 2018
You may have noticed the new Member Spotlight feature right below the Latest News section of pafp.com. This project includes a Q-and-A with a PAFP member about practicing family medicine, the joys of the specialty, and how they decided it was the perfect career. We'd love to see your face and get to know you on this feature! Visit the latest issue of Progress Notes for details.
How do Americans spend their tax refunds? On health care April 18, 2018
Taxpayers have until tonight to file their returns after the IRS extended the deadline by a day because of a website glitch. When tax refunds arrive in the mail or Americans' bank accounts, what do they plan to spend it on? Health care bills, reports CNBC. A recent analysis has found more than half of those who filed earliest put their refunds toward paying for deferred care.
Pa. health secretary approves leaf marijuana for patients April 17, 2018
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine has approved a recommendation by the state's medical marijuana advisory board to permit the sale of dry leaf or plant marijuana. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports she will also allow medical marijuana as a treatment for opioid abuse. The plant wouldn't be smoked, but legally consumed in the form of a vapor.
'Speak Out' on full practice authority for CRNPs April 16, 2018
For more than five years, legislation that would eliminate collaborative agreements for certified registered nurse practitioners (CRNPs) has been under consideration in Pennsylvania. The PAFP Board of Directors opposes this effort and asks for your help in advocating against House Bill 100 and Senate Bill 25. Click here to be directed to the AAFP's Speak Out tool to take action.
Opioid deaths increase despite decline in prescriptions April 11, 2018
While physicians face new, stiff penalties for overprescribing painkillers - and have cut back on prescribing them - opioid deaths are still increasing across the country. According to the Washington Post, that's because fatalities from synthetic opioids and heroin are skyrocketing as cartels fill the market void. In 2016, more than 42,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses.
Pa. board votes to recommend sale of leaf marijuana April 10, 2018
Pennsylvania's medical marijuana advisory board, which has bipartisan representation from the state House and Senate, has voted to recommend allowing dried leaf marijuana into the market. TribLive reports the vote was 11-0, with one member abstaining. For the decision to become state policy, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine must accept the recommendation.
Tower Health, Drexel to build med school in Berks County April 9, 2018
Tower Health and Drexel University have planned to build a medical school campus in West Reading, Berks County. According to the Reading Eagle, Tower Health is currently evaluating sites near Reading Hospital for the Drexel College of Medicine branch campus; students who attend the campus will attend the school for all four years of their medical training.
Opioid addiction costing employers billions in care April 6, 2018
The opioid epidemic has costs many that can't be conveyed in decimals and dollars, but one massive number shows the extent of the crisis: $2.6 billion. That's how much it costs employers per year to treat opioid addiction and overdoses, reports the AP. That's an eightfold increase from 2004. The PAFP is offering online CME about opioids and addiction; click here for more.
Flu season not quite over as influenza B cases rise April 5, 2018
It's the flu season that never ends: Healthline reports according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), influenza strain B is now resulting in a larger number of flu cases than strain A, although rates are falling on the whole. The Pa. Dept. of Health reports over the 2017-18 season, more than 110,000 Pennsylvanians were stricken with the flu; 215 died from the virus or complications.
Pa. medical marijuana providers increase as supply stagnates April 4, 2018
Pennsylvania's 7,000 approved medical marijuana patients are having a hard time accessing the treatment, as Billy Penn reports there are only nine operational dispensaries and two market-ready medical marijuana producers. The number of physicians who are able to recommend cannabis treatments is also increasing; the Pa. Dept. of Health lists more than 600 approved providers.
Students, apply for AAFP National Conference scholarships today April 3, 2018
Students can maximize their chance to win a scholarship for the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) National Conference, Aug. 2-4 in Kansas City, by applying for both an AAFP and a PAFP scholarship before the May 1 application deadline. The PAFP's deadline is June 1. From educational programs to exploring leadership opportunities, you don't want to miss it!
2 Pa. med schools make top 20 in U.S. News rankings April 2, 2018
U.S. News & World Report has released its 2019 Best Medical Schools rankings, and two Pennsylvania programs have made the top 20 in the Primary Care category: the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine sits at number eight, and the University of Pittsburgh is tied with two programs for 14th place. A handful of other Pa. schools made the list elsewhere.