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January 2016
News Archive

Zika virus unlikely to spread in the U.S.: CDC Jan. 29, 2016 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there is little chance that the Zika virus - a mosquito-borne illness currently sweeping through South and Central America - will spread in the U.S., according to The Hill. The symptoms of Zika are mild in adults, but it has been linked to birth defects.  
Pa. drug overdose hospitalizations increase 225%: report Jan. 28, 2016 
Hospitalizations from drug overdoses have increased 225 percent in Pennsylvania between the years 2000 and 2014, reports WITF News. In fact, the true impact could be much higher, as the data only measures people who stay overnight, not those who are treated and released without being admitted.
Home colon cancer test a good alternative: study Jan. 27, 2016 
A new study has found that the home colorectal cancer (CRC) screening test known as the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is a good alternative to a colonoscopy, according to CBS News. The PAFP has much more information about CRC screening methods on its CRC Screening Collaborative web page. 
Federal health care spending outpaces Social Security Jan. 26, 2016 
For the first time in history, federal health care spending has overtaken Social Security, reports The Hill. The government spent $936 billion in 2015 on programs including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act, representing a 13 percent jump from 2014. Social Security spending totaled $882 billion.
Still digging out from weekend snow? Safe shoveling tips Jan. 25, 2016 
This weekend, much of the mid-Atlantic got blasted with the first snowstorm of 2016 - and one of the biggest in quite some time. If you're still digging out, make sure you stay safe: according to the Washington Post, doctors recommend taking breaks, pushing and not lifting, and avoiding alcohol before shoveling. 
New Marketplace standards may reduce out-of-pocket spending Jan. 22, 2016 
A federal proposal to create standardized plans on the Affordable Care Act's website may lead to reduced out-of-pocket spending, reports Kaiser Health News. The proposal includes standard deductibles, maximum spending limits, copayments and coinsurance, and flat rates for some visits.  
Pennsylvania ranks fifth in U.S. health insurance affordability Jan. 21, 2016 
Pennsylvania ranks in the top ten nationwide in the lowest overall health insurance costs, coming in at number five, according to the Huffington Post. The states's lowest-cost silver plan has one of the lowest deductibles studied; additionally, Pennsylvania's flat deductibles make it easy to predict and control costs. 
Proposal would protect Pennsylvanians from surprise bills Jan. 20, 2016 
Pennsylvania's Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller has announced a proposed solution to protect patients from surprise balance bills, which arise when a patient tries to receive within network care, but is faced with an out-of-network price tag. The plan can be viewed on the Pa. Insurance Dept. website.
Snow is on its way! Practice winter weather safety Jan. 19, 2016 
The Northeast U.S. is expected to get a dose of winter weather later this week - before you draft plans for a snow fort, make sure you know basic safety tips for freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. The CDC has compiled plenty of information about snow storms, hypothermia, frostbite, and power outages. 
Docs vs. Glocks: Should physicians counsel patients on gun safety? Jan. 15, 2016 
Gun safety is a hot-button public health issue, and the U.S. is in the midst of heated debate over the Second Amendment and gun laws. Medscape explores the pros and cons of physicians counseling patients on gun safety; read about "docs vs. Glocks" legislation in the latest issue of Keystone Physician. 
Medicaid programs required to revalidate most MA providers Jan. 14, 2016 
As part of the Affordable Care Act, state Medicaid programs are required to revalidate most Medical Assistance (MA) providers. If you enrolled as a provider on or before March 25, 2011, you must be revalidated by March 24, 2016. See the latest issue of the PAFP's Progress Notes newsletter for more. 
Deadline approaching for Family Physician of the Year contest Jan. 13, 2016 
If you would like to nominate a friend, colleague, mentor, or yourself for the PAFP's 2016 Family Physician of the Year contest, you'll have to do it quickly - the deadline is this Friday, Jan. 15, by 11:59 p.m.! Please visit to read the full contest rules, nominate a doctor, and meet past winners. 
ACA enrollment period to be tightened Jan. 12, 2016 
The enrollment period for insurance sign-ups under the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) HealthCare.govwebsite will be tightened, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Obama administration hopes to hold down costs that insurers blamed on late enrollments. More than 11 million have enrolled for ACA coverage in 2016. 
Giant Food Stores issues voluntary recall of cough syrup Jan. 11, 2016 
Giant Food Stores has issued a voluntary recall of a children's cough syrup product because it contains incorrect dosage information. According to Cumberlink, Giant urges anyone who has purchased Care One Children's Mucus Relief Cough to return the product's receipt to a Giant or Martin's for a refund. 
From Steel City to a Big Boat, get ready for 2016 CME Jan. 8, 2016 
The PAFP's 2016 live CME events are going to be bigger and better than ever before, from a city on three rivers to a boat on the high seas! Registration is now available for the Pittsburgh CME Conference, presented jointly with UPMC, as well as the second-ever PAFP CME Cruise. Reserve your spot today! 
Medicaid to pay for inpatient addiction treatment? Jan. 7, 2016 
Medicaid is proposing to pay for 15 days of inpatient addiction rehabilitation per month for anyone enrolled in a managed care plan. So why aren't some addiction experts happy about it? According to WITF and NPR, those in the field are concerned it's not enough time for drug addicts to truly get - and stay - clean. 
Doctors aren't urging teens to get HPV vaccine: study Jan. 6, 2016 
The vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) is safe and effective - so why aren't more doctors urging preteens to get it? According to Here and Now, a new report suggests that many doctors thought parents would object to the vaccination, which works best when administered before the patient is sexually active. 
Americans resolve to get in shape in the New Year Jan. 5, 2016 
Getting more exercise and losing weight is perhaps the most common New Year's resolution. CBS News discusses how much exercise you'll need to live up to your promise. But before you embark on your quest for better health, talk to your family doctor to make sure your exercise regimen is a safe one! 
Last chance for 5 free CME webcasts! Jan. 4, 2016 
This is your last chance to gain four free CME credits! Learn about nutritional management of obesitysystems for success in obesity careoffice-based weight management strategiesthe science of colorectal cancer (CRC) screeningand CRC screening tips and tools before these five webcasts expire Jan. 5!
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