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May 2016
News Archive

Central Pa. companies cut back on health care options May 31, 2016 
An annual survey by Conrad Siegel has found that some employers in midstate Pennsylvania are limiting health care benefits in an effort to curb costs. WITF reports half of companies now say they include high deductible plans for employees, up from 40 percent in 2014. A similar trend is occurring throughout the U.S. 
 
Dreaded superbug hits U.S., found in Pa. woman May 27, 2016 
A superbug resistant to last-resort antibiotics has been found in the U.S. for the first time in a 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman. According to CNN, the woman shows the presence of an antibiotic-resistant E. coli strain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is searching for potential other cases. 
 
Big insurance premium hikes on the way in Pa.? May 26, 2016 
Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller says the state is "very concerned" over proposed health insurance premium increases, reports Fox 43. The average individual plan has a proposed increase of 23.6 percent, as well as a 7.9 percent hike for group plans. One plan is asking for a 48 percent increase. 
 
State medical marijuana law takes effect May 25, 2016 
While the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf estimates it may take up to two years for the state's medical marijuana infrastructure to be built, the law has now taken effect. WITF News reports parents can now bring medical cannabis into Pennsylvania for their children, but people can still be cited for breaking local laws. 
 
Discipline for Pa. docs who overprescribe opioids falls short May 24, 2016 
Just 1.2 of every 1,000 doctors in Pennsylvania is disciplined for overprescribing narcotics. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the number falls short of other states' rates, and notes that the Keystone State doesn't have many of the tools other states have to ensure doctors protect the health and safety of their patients. 
 
CDC monitoring 279 pregnant women who may have Zika May 23, 2016 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 279 pregnant women in the U.S. have confirmed or suspected Zika virus infections, according to the New York Times. Meanwhile Lancaster Online has some helpful information on Zika, including symptoms and tips on avoiding exposure to the virus. 
 
Senate committee approves nurse practitioner bill May 20, 2016 
A Senate committee has approved Senate Bill 717, including an amendment supported by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) that a nurse practitioner may only be independent after 36 months or 3,600 hours. Sen. Pat Vance and HAP called it an "historic day." The bill remains in the Senate. 
 
This summer, come sail away with CME May 19, 2016 
The weather's getting warmer, the sun is in the sky, and it's time to start thinking about vacations to sandy beaches and blue waves. Don't forget to make the PAFP CME Cruise a part of your summer plans! From July 2-7, sail from Baltimore to Bermuda and experience "pink sand," fun entertainment, and great CME! 
 
Highmark sues federal government over ACA losses May 18, 2016 
Insurer Highmark is suing the federal government over the Affordable Care Act, saying it's owed $223 million in losses, according to the Associated Press. Earlier this year, Highmark - which holds billions in cash, reserves, and surplus - cut physician payments by 4.5 percent over losses incurred through the ACA. 
 
Most Americans want single-payer health care: poll May 17, 2016 
A majority of Americans now support federally funded, single-payer health care. ABC News reports 58 percent of U.S. adults support plans like presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for all" plan. Meanwhile, Medical Economics details how such a health care system would affect doctors. 
 
NP independence bill to move forward in Senate May 16, 2016 
Pennsylvania Senate Bill 717, which would allow for nurse practitioners (NPs) to practice independently, is set to move forward on May 18. The PAFP opposes on patient safety grounds. Please use the AAFP's SpeakOut tool to contact your legislator about this issue, or find your senator on this list and give them a call. 
 
Federal judge strikes down a portion of ACA May 13, 2016 
In a victory for House Republicans, The Washington Post reports a federal judge has struck down a portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The judge ruled that the Obama administration exceeded its authority in funding a provision that sent billions of dollars in subsidies to health insurers. An appeal is certain.  
 
AAFP compiles MACRA resources for physicians May 12, 2016 
The controversial sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula has been replaced by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, or MACRA. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has compiled resources for physicians to become familiar with MACRA, including videos, important dates, and more. 
 
Penn State, PinnacleHealth may proceed with merger May 11, 2016 
In a rare defeat of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a federal judge has ruled that Penn State Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth System may proceed with a merger. The Central Penn Business Journal reports the FTC and the state attorney general argued the merger would reduce competition. 
 
Docs, feds, pharma to blame for opioid crisis: former FDA head May 10, 2016 
The former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says physicians, pharmaceutical companies, and the agency itself are all responsible for the opioid epidemic. According to CBS News, Dr. David Kessler, who headed the FDA from 1990 through 1997, calls pain management "a costly mistake." 
 
FDA releases new rules on tobacco, e-cigarettes May 9, 2016 
Seven years after it was given the authority to regulate cigarettes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released new rules on tobacco and e-cigarettes. While NBC News reports the rules ban sales to kids and requires makers to submit products for review, they don't ban e-cigarettes or flavored products. 
 
Sign up for tomorrow's RPC/CHCC learning session May 5, 2016
Tomorrow, May 6, the Residency Program and Community Health Center Collaborative (RPC/CHCC) is hosting a learning session at the Best Western Eden Hotel in Lancaster from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration and sign-in begins at 7:30. Please visit the learning session web page for details, a map, and more! 
 
Medical errors third-leading cause of death in U.S.: study May 4, 2016 
A new study in the latest edition of BMJ suggests most medical errors go unobserved and kill more than 250,000 patients a year. CNN reports that would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer, and in front of diseases like emphysema. 
 
Mandated opioid training for doctors on the way? May 3, 2016 
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may soon require doctors to undergo training before they're allowed to prescribe painkillers to patients. According to The Hill, the FDA is considering the move after learning its voluntary opioid training program has only been used half as much as the agency expected.  
 
Get the most out of membership with PAFP Connect May 2, 2016 
Pennsylvania family doctors can get the most out of their PAFP membership by downloading PAFP Connect, the new exclusive member mobile app. Instant notifications keep you in the loop on legislation and important information so you're always in the know. Download it on iOS (Apple) and Android today!
 
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