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March 2016
News Archive

This spring a perfect storm for allergies March 31, 2016 
Patients with watery eyes and itchy noses are becoming more common in doctors' offices as spring marches forward. CBS News reports factors like higher temperatures, more rain, and El Niño winds mean this allergy season will be a miserable one. Patients seeking relief should visit their family physician first! 
Happy National Doctors' Day from the PAFP! March 30, 2016 
On March 30, America celebrates National Doctors' Day. The Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians would like to extend its appreciation to its members for the compassionate care they provide. You make the PAFP's mission of a physician-coordinated patient-centered medical home for all Pennsylvanians a reality! 
Family physicians ready for prescription monitoring database March 29, 2016 
The Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians is eager for the rollout of Pennsylvania's prescription drug monitoring database, which will be vital in combating the opioid epidemic in the state. In a release to media, PAFP President Rob Rodak, DOsaid the PAFP hopes for the program to launch this summer. 
Medical marijuana bill stalled in Senate after revisions March 28, 2016 
What once seemed like a sure thing is now anything but - The Morning Call reports medical marijuana legislation is in jeopardy in Pennsylvania. Revisions in the House of Representatives are making the bill unpalatable for some lawmakers, so the bill is in danger of dying before it can be voted on again. 
At long last, Pennsylvania has complete budget March 24, 2016 
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has announced that he'll let the remainder of the state budget package take effect without signing it into law. Just last week, the governor threatened a full veto, PennLive reports. Of course, that doesn't mean the state won't have similar issues in the future - a 2016-17 budget is due July 1. 
Just 1 in 8 Pa. residents get drug treatment they need March 23, 2016 
Only one in eight Pennsylvanians who needs treatment for drug addiction actually gets it. According to WITF, those numbers are better than the national average, but far from good: the opioid crisis has claimed thousands of lives in the state over the last few years, and some could have been saved with treatment. 
FDA seeks to ban powdered medical gloves March 22, 2016 
The ubiquitous powdered medical gloves worn by doctors and nurses in offices nationwide may soon be a thing of the past. Newsweek reports the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed a ban on the gloves, saying the powdered substance on the latex can cause serious harm to both patients and providers. 
Primary care slots continue to slowly rise March 21, 2016 
Residency Match Day on March 18 revealed encouraging news for the future of health care in America: nearly half of first-year students matched to the primary care specialties of family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. Medscape reports about 94 percent of seniors matched to a first-year position. 
PAFP president to appear on Harrisburg NPR affiliate March 18, 2016 
PAFP President Rob Rodak, DO will appear on Harrisburg NPR affiliate WITF's Radio Smart Talk program at 9 a.m. Friday, March 18 to discuss the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's (CDC) new guidelines on opioid prescribing. Click here to listen live; the program will be repeated at 7 p.m. at the same link. 
Pa. House passes medical marijuana bill March 17, 2016 
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has passed a bill to legalize medical marijuana. It's headed to the Senate, where a similar plan was approved last year. According to WITF, the proposal does not include edible or smokable forms of the drug, which would be used to treat more than a dozen illnesses. 
CDC issues opioid prescribing guidelines March 16, 2016 
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued new opioid prescribing guidelines for primary care physicians. The New York Times reports the guidelines suggest that doctors treat pain with drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin first, and that prescriptions for opioids last no longer than seven days. 
Medical marijuana legalization coming in Pa.? March 15, 2016 
Could Pennsylvania legalize medical marijuana within days? According to, the State House could vote on the measure this week; if it passes, Pennsylvania would be the 24th state to legalize medical cannabis. Gov. Tom Wolf supports medical marijuana legalization and has said he'd sign a bill in favor. 
PAFP pleased to welcome its 70th president March 14, 2016 
The Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians is pleased to welcome Rob Rodak, DO, its 70th president. Rodak is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and has held various leadership positions with the Hamot Primary Care Network and the Saint Vincent Medical Group, both in Erie. 
PAFP Annual Business Meeting to be live streamed March 11, 2016 
The PAFP will be live streaming the 2016 Annual Business Meeting for members on PAFP Connect today (Friday, March 11) from 11:45 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Members can access the live stream by clicking this link. The meeting can also be viewed on the PAFP Connect app for iOS (Apple) and Android devices. 
Insurance commissioner responds to PAFP Highmark inquiry March 10, 2016 
Responding to a PAFP letter regarding Highmark's decision to cut physician payments for Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa D. Miller says the insurance department does not have the authority to intervene. The full letter can be read exclusively on PAFP Connect. 
Read statements from at-large Board of Directors candidates March 9, 2016 
At the PAFP's Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh on Friday, March 11, PAFP members will be voting on candidates for the At Large positions on the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians 2016-2017 Board of Directors. Statements from these candidates can be found at the top of the Members Only webpage. 
Penn State College of Medicine modernizes curriculum March 8, 2016 
The Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey is revamping its curriculum to emphasize the basics of the health care system. The effort over to modernize the century-old medical school curriculum has been taking place over the last two years, reports PennLive; 31 other medical schools are making similar changes. 
Patients turn to convenience, efficiency of urgent care March 7, 2016 
Urgent care centers make it easy for patients to see a doctor when their family physician isn't available. NPR reports patients say they go to an urgent care facility because it's more convenient and takes less time than a visit to their doctor's office; the majority say the care they receive there is good or excellent.
Medicaid expansion benefits primary care doctors: study March 4, 2016 
Doctors in states that fully expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act like Pennsylvania are seeing more paying patients. Forbes reports a new analysis from the ACAView project shows the expansion is good for primary care physician practices, as doctors like family physicians reap the revenue benefits. 
New FDA head promises to back prescription painkiller reform March 3, 2016 
New Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf - just confirmed by the Senate last week - has pledged to back efforts to make harder-to-abuse prescription painkillers. Califf has already promised to add stronger warning labels to commonly prescribed drugs, reports The Associated Press. 
Not so super: health policy ranks low for voters March 2, 2016 
While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton saw a lot of support on Super Tuesday, health care policy did not. Modern Healthcare reports that in exit polls, voters chose the economy, jobs, immigration, terrorism, and government spending over health care as the issues that got them off the couch and into the voting booth. 
Important notice: All early registration closed for Pittsburgh CME March 1, 2016 
We have previously told you that online registration is closed for the Combined Pittsburgh CME Conference and UPMC Refresher Course. This includes all other methods of pre-registration, including emailed and faxed registration forms. We will now only accept walk-in registrations, which will be assessed a $70 fee.
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