Lyme disease rates soar in Pa. May 31, 2018
Summer weather is often accompanied by outdoor events - hiking, camping, picnicking - in places where ticks make their home. Lehigh Valley Live reports there are now reported cases of Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness, in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. The number of cases increased fourfold between the years 2000 and 2016, from 2,271 cases to 11,443 just 16 years later.
More than 250 died in Pa. during record flu season May 30, 2018
The flu virus claimed 256 lives in Pennsylvania during a record flu season that saw more than 121,300 reported cases of the illness. According to PennLive, 50,000 more cases were reported this season than in the 2016-17 flu season. The 256 deaths are the highest on record, the number includes six pediatric deaths. Most of the cases reported were of the H3N2 strain of influenza type A.
What matters most to patients? May 29, 2018
The most important factor to patients in selecting a primary care physician is the quality of care they receive. According to Becker's Hospital Review, a recent study of patients has found that 41 percent cited care quality as what matters most. Other top answers included out-of-pocket costs (11 percent), location (7 percent), and consistency and continuity of care (4 percent).
More physicians facing non-compete clauses May 24, 2018
As physicians increasingly work for hospitals and health systems, Healthcare Dive reports one potential disadvantage is marking their employment: the non-compete clause. While hospitals say these contract provisions are necessary for building a patient base, and lawyers say they're generally common and enforceable, doctors (and even the legal system) are fighting back.
Update: Senate committee votes to pass SB 1054 May 23, 2018
In an 8-4 vote, the Pa. Senate Health and Human Services Committee has voted to pass Senate Bill 1054. The PAFP believes, given well-documented barriers to access in existence already, that this bill may reduce access to medication treatment and displace patients currently in treatment for opioid use disorder. The PAFP will continue to monitor this bill and work with its supporters.
PAFP urges opposition to from SB 1054 May 22, 2018
The Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians is urging lawmakers to oppose or withdraw from Senate Bill 1054. The bill, "providing for certification of buprenorphine office-based prescribers," would penalize family physicians who prescribe buprenorphine as a treatment for opioid use disorder by forcing them to pay to be licensed by the state, potentially harming patients.
PAFP addresses Dept. of State over licensing snafu May 18, 2018
The Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians is addressing the Pa. Dept. of State over a new online system for licensing physicians-in-training. In a letter to the department, the PAFP details the "significant issues" plaguing the system which may prevent resident physicians from obtaining their training licenses. The PAFP says delays could harm Pennsylvania's patients.
Register today for dermatology CME event May 17, 2018
Registration is now open for the PAFP's 2nd Annual Procedures and Clinical Dermatology CME event! Kicking off Thursday, Sept. 6 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in State College, the event includes wine tasting and a special session at the Mount Nittany Vineyard and Winery and a full-day educational lineup on Friday, Sept. 7. Don't miss it - click here to register!
OUD added to list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions May 16, 2018
Pennsylvania has become the first state to approve medical marijuana for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). According to the Philly Voice, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health approved the temporary measure to allow people in recovery to apply for the program, which also allows medical marijuana products for chronic conditions like autism, cancer, epilepsy, and HIV.
Pennsylvania ranks 10th in drug use by state May 15, 2018
As experts and policymakers statewide try to stem the tide of drug use and overdose deaths, a new study places Pennsylvania in the top 10 states with the biggest drug problems. WalletHub reports the Keystone State is tenth across 20 key metrics including arrests, overdose rates, and opioid prescriptions; Pennsylvania also ranks fifth in most overdose deaths per capita.
Pa. medical residents face licensing mess May 14, 2018
A new online system for licensing Pennsylvania's physicians-in-training is creating headaches for residents, potentially jeopardizing their ability to practice. According to Philly.com, eight weeks after the system's launch, only about 17 percent of the state's 9,600 trainees have received their credentials because of glitches in the system. The state says it is working to address the issues.
Stay tuned to the PAFP's Facebook for news, announcements May 11, 2018
From special pricing and promos to information and news, the PAFP's Facebook page is full of great resources for Pennsylvania's family physicians. We'll be routinely using live Facebook events to pass along important details about - and exciting offers for - PAFP happenings, so don't forget to check your email to know when to log on to your Facebook account and join us live!
Drug monitoring databases barely slow opioid deaths: report May 10, 2018
Prescription drug monitoring databases may not be as effective as experts had hoped. According to CNN, new research suggests they're only marginally effective at preventing overdose deaths: of 10 studies that looked at fatal overdoses after these such programs were implemented, just three reported a decrease in overdose deaths. Pennsylvania's database has operated since 2016.
Get familiar with PAFP legislative agenda before Primary Day May 8, 2018
Primary Election Day is just a week away. On May 15, Pennsylvanians who are registered as a member of a party will head to the polls to determine who will be on the ballot in November's general election. Check out the PAFP's 2017-18 State Legislative Agenda before you pull that lever - and don't forget to Speak Out on the issues most important to family physicians.
End the summer with our Derm Day event in State College May 7, 2018
Summer hasn't even begun, but it's not too early to plan your late-season educational getaway to State College for our second-annual Clinical Procedures in Dermatology event, Sept. 6-7, 2018 in State College! Join us in "Happy Valley" for a day and a half of excellent education, including hands-on workshops, didactic lectures, and case studies. Registration for this event is coming soon!
What are the best states to practice in? May 4, 2018
While we highly encourage all PAFP members to stay in Pennsylvania, North Dakota takes the top spot in Medscape's 2018 Best & Worst Places to Practice report. Despite harsh winters, physicians there are paid well and have low rates of burnout. Pennsylvania has the dubious distinction of the 14th-highest burnout rate at 45 percent. West Virginia ranks as the worst state to practice in.
Asking insurers' permission for treatments a 'growing frustration' May 2, 2018
The burden of prior authorizations has been having a greater impact on patients. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports how insurer prior approvals makes patients suffer and their physicians feel like they aren't able to provide the appropriate care and treatments at the right time. The PAFP supports legislation such as House Bill 1293 to lessen the burden of the prior authorization process.
Increase in autism in U.S. not evidence of epidemic May 1, 2018
Last week, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the latest autism prevalence numbers: 1 in 59 children are autistic in the United States. As Vox reports, while this represents an increase from the CDC's 2014 estimate of 1 in 68, the numbers are not due to an increase in autism, but rather improved diagnosis and services, especially among minority groups.