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August 2016
News Archive

Patients' prescriptions aren't private: investigation Aug. 31, 2016 
Law enforcement is pushing hard to search patients' prescription records, even in states with privacy safeguards. According to Scripps News, the person targeted in these searches is rarely notified or given the chance to object. Pennsylvania is one of a few states requiring a search warrant or judicial review of cases. 
 
Injectable vaccine the only option for this flu season Aug. 30, 2016 
Bad news for patients who aren't fond of shots: the nasal spray version of the flu vaccine won't be available for the 2016-17 flu season. LancasterOnline reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended against the FluMist vaccine, as studies have found it's only effective 3 percent of the time. 
 
AAP: Get tough on parents who refuse to vaccinate Aug. 29, 2016 
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging states to stop offering waivers to those with non-medical objections to vaccinating their children. The Los Angeles Times reports 87 percent of the pediatrics group's members say they've been challenged in the past year by parents who refuse to immunize. 
 
Prescription drug monitoring database goes live Aug. 25, 2016 
Finally, Pennsylvania's prescription drug monitoring database is open; doctors must now review new patients' drug histories before prescribing them controlled substances like opioids. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports estimates suggest up to 15 percent of patients with opioid prescriptions abuse or sell the drugs. 
 
Pa. asks for input on medical marijuana; questions linger Aug. 24, 2016 
Pennsylvania wants input on medical marijuana regulations, according to PennLive, but as Kaiser Health News reports, doctors are struggling with a knowledge gap over the drug. We recently asked PAFP members to sound off on medical marijuana; we'll print responses in the next issue of Keystone Physician. 
 
Increase in OD deaths under new drug monitoring tool? Aug. 23, 2016 
Pennsylvania's prescription drug monitoring program launches on Aug. 25. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports while such databases are some of the most effective tools to rein in overdose rates, they can also lead to a short-term increase in deaths, as patients turn to street drugs when their prescriptions are cut off.
 
Pa. among states with most travel-related Zika cases Aug. 22, 2016 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports Pennsylvania is one of the states with the most confirmed travel-related Zika cases. CBS21 News reports there are 74 cases in the state, according to the Pa. Dept. of Health. Mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus have not made their way into Pennsylvania.
 
Zika can also affect adult brain cells: study Aug. 18, 2016 
Research has previously established that the Zika virus can cause severe birth defects like microcephaly, but The Washington Post reports that a new study suggests it can also affect adult brain cells critical to learning and memory. Hundreds of thousands have already been affected by Zika, with more cases daily. 
 
Primary care career fairs coming next month Aug. 17, 2016 
The Pennsylvania Primary Care Career Center is hosting its 2016 Primary Care Career Fairs on Sept. 8 in Philadelphia and Sept. 15 in Philadelphia. Many of the exhibitors at the events are approved sites for the National Health Service Corps and the Pennsylvania Primary Care Loan Repayment Program. 
 
Another big insurer plans to pull back from ACA Aug. 16, 2016 
According to The New York Times, Aetna, one of the nation's largest insurers, plans to reduce its participation in the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) public marketplaces in 2017. Recently, two other major insurance companies - UnitedHealth and Humana - also announced plans to pull back from the exchanges. 
 
Most doctors won't take risks under MACRA Aug. 15, 2016 
Hospitals, health systems, and physicians groups are determining what path to take under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, or MACRA. Modern Healthcare reports 90 percent of physicians are expected to use the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) over an alternative payment model. 
 
HHS to divert federal funds to support Zika vaccine efforts Aug. 12, 2016 
Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell says her agency will divert federal funds to support the development of a Zika virus vaccine. According to Modern Healthcare, the $34 million to be used in the effort was previously committed to researching illnesses like diabetes and cancer. 
 
DEA declines to reschedule medical marijuana Aug. 11, 2016 
In response to calls for marijuana to be reclassified for research, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has announced it will remain a schedule 1 drug. CNN reports the DEA will allow more researchers access to the plant. The implementation of Pennsylvania's Medical Marijuana Program will continue move forward. 
 
PAFP launches new apparel store Aug. 10, 2016 
The PAFP is excited to announce the launch of its new apparel store! From polos and puffy vests to cardigans and commuter bags, each of these high-quality items proudly displays the PAFP logo. Click here to visit the store, and if there are other items you'd like to see us make available, don't hesitate to tell us 
 
Overdose deaths once again surge in Pa. Aug. 9, 2016 
More than 3,500 people died from drug overdoses in Pennsylvania last year, representing a 30 percent increase over 2014. According to PennLive, the latest report from the Pennsylvania State Coroners Association reveals that nearly 60 percent of those deaths involved heroin or prescription painkillers.  
 
Registration now available for prescription drug monitoring portal Aug. 8, 2016 
Registration is now available for the Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Portal, also called PA PDMP AWARxE. The Pa. Dept. of Health says the portal will be available for query Aug. 25, 2016. The monitoring program collects information on all filled prescriptions for controlled substances in the state. 
 
Online CME is easy, quick, and free Aug. 5, 2016 
In addition to great live CME events like this fall's Kalahari CME Conference, the PAFP also offers plenty of free, high-quality online CME. The webcasts are a great way to get CME credits on your own schedule. Current offerings include topics like pain managementosteoarthritis, and provider-patient engagement. 
 
PAFP membership comes with array of benefits Aug. 4, 2016 
Membership with the PAFP affords you an array of benefits for virtually every area of your practice, from advocacy at the state Capitol to special discount programs. And don't forget about our biweekly Progress Notes newsletter, our quarterly Keystone Physician magazine, and our very own app, PAFP Connect. 
 
With school around the corner, think about vaccinations Aug. 3, 2016 
Back to school checklists often include new clothes, book bags, pencils, and paper - remind patients to add their children's vaccines to the list. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made changes to its vaccine recommendations effective Feb. 1, 2016. Click here to review those changes. 
 
Join the PAFP-PAC in this important election year Aug. 2, 2016 
All elections are important, but 2016 is sure to see a large voter turnout as Americans head to the polls to choose their next president. The down-ballot races are just as important, so join the PAFP-PAC, the official political action committee of family medicine in Pennsylvania. Click here to make an online investment!
 
Today is Double Points Day for Kalahari CME Conference Aug. 1, 2016 
If you've waited until now to register for the PAFP's Kalahari CME Conference, Nov. 18-20 in the Poconos, you're in luck! Today is Double Points Day, so register by 11:59 p.m. for double rewards points. You'll instantly have enough points for a $25 discount off a future live CME event or PAFP product. Register now!
 
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