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October 2016
News Archive

'Alarming' health insurance hikes coming to Pa. Oct. 31, 2016
Forget the ghouls and goblins: this Halloween, the scariest thing for many may be how much their health insurance premiums are going up. According to the Philadelphia Tribune, the "alarming" hikes mean a quarter of Pennsylvanians will be paying more next year, with some seeing hikes of more than 50 percent. 
 
Be spooky and safe this Halloween Oct. 28, 2016
Halloween is all about fun and frights, but make sure that this year's is a treat, not a trick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some great tips for staying safe, like trick-or-treating in groups, examining candy for choking hazards and tampering, and only walking on sidewalks whenever possible. 
 
Pa. legislature approves opioid restrictions Oct. 27, 2016
The Pennsylvania legislature has passed new regulations on painkiller prescribing. According to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, four bills to restrict prescribing and improve physician education await Gov. Tom Wolf's signature. Monitoring patients on Pennsylvania's new prescription database is a key component. 
 
PAFP doctors on Be Well Philly top docs list Oct. 26, 2016
Be Well Philly, a Philadelphia Magazine publication, has published its annual list of top family physicians in the Philadelphia area. The Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians is proud that its members make up the majority of the physicians on the list who practice in the Keystone State. Click here to view the full list! 
 
Shoppers see rate increases as Healthcare.gov opens Oct. 25, 2016
Now that the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) marketplaces are open for window shopping ahead of the Nov. 1 open enrollment date, patients are seeing some double-digit rate increases. However, USA Today reports, officials say most consumers will pay less than $100 a month when tax subsidies are calculated. 
 
Doctors feel the pinch in U.S. health system Oct. 24, 2016
While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded health insurance to millions of Americans, the United States still lags behind many wealthy nations in health care. The New York Times reports primary care physicians are feeling the pinch, with many saying they're unprepared to care for patients with complex needs. 
 
Think PAFP-PAC with election around the corner Oct. 21, 2016
With the 2016 election right fast approaching, consider donating to the PAFP's Political Action Committee, PAFP-PAC, and create a stronger voice for family medicine in government. A PAFP-PAC fundraiser will also be taking place Nov. 18 at the Mount Airy Casino Resort during the Kalahari CME Conference. Join us! 
 
ACA enrollment expected to rise Oct. 20, 2016
The number of Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollees is expected to go up in 2017 - and that might be because of, not despite, rising increases. According to Vox, the Obama administration expects an additional 900,000 patients who would qualify for subsidies to drop their existing plans and choose the marketplace.  
 
Health insurance rates set to skyrocket in 2017 Oct. 19, 2016
Patients might experience some sticker shock when they shop for 2017 plans on the Affordable Care Act's marketplace. WITF's Transforming Health reports rates are expected to go up an average of 42 percent in central Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department said it had little choice to approve the hikes. 
 
Today is last chance for Kalahari CME early bird rate Oct. 18, 2016
If you want to receive the early bird discount on registration and a special hotel rate for the PAFP's Kalahari CME Conference, act now! Register by 5 p.m. today, Oct. 18 - then check out the agenda for the event, including clinically relevant CME on a variety of topics, a PAFP-PAC fundraiser, and much more! 
 
Physicians caught between care and insurers Oct. 17, 2016
Physicians are increasingly finding themselves stuck between the care they want to provide and what patients' insurance will cover. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, doctors are unhappy with third-party interference into their practice and are dissatisfied overall with the direction U.S. health care is going. 
 
A final rule on MACRA may be released soon Oct. 14, 2016
A final rule on Medicare's new physician payment system could be released as soon as today. Modern Healthcare reports doctors are anxiously awaiting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) rule on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, or MACRA, scheduled to drop before Nov. 1. 
 
FDA approves quadrivalent flu vaccine Oct. 13, 2016
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Flublok, a new version of the influenza vaccine which protects against four strains, for the 2017-2018 flu season, reports Medscape. For the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations for the 2016-2017 flu season, click here. 
 
Special discount on heart disease CME program Oct. 12, 2016
The Cardiovascular Institute of Philadelphia is hosting its 23rd Annual Cardiology Update CME program on Sunday, Oct. 23, 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. The event, worth 8 AAFP-prescribed CME credits, focuses on practical approaches to treating heart disease. PAFP members get a special discount through Oct. 15. 
 
GOP doctors in Congress call for MACRA changes Oct. 11, 2016
A group of 18 Republican members of Congress, including eight physicians, is calling for changes to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, or MACRA. Medscape reports the GOP Doctors Caucus criticized the MACRA proposed rule as overly complex and burdensome. A final rule is expected this month. 
 
Doctors more concerned with weight than weed use: study Oct. 7, 2016
U.S. doctors aren't terribly concerned with their patients' use of marijuana. According to The Washington Post, a survey of primary care physicians found cannabis use came in last in a list of concerns over nine hypothetical patient behaviors including obesity, depression, firearms in the house, and not wearing a helmet.  
 
Narrower physician networks come with lower premiums Oct. 6, 2016
Narrow networks come with some additional costs under the Affordable Care Act, such as surprise bills from out-of-network providers. However, Philly.com reports narrow networks of physicians come with premiums averaging 6.7 percent lower. It's up to patients to determine whether this trade-off is worth it. 
 
As ICD-10 grace period ends, some may take financial hit Oct. 5, 2016
The new ICD-10 coding system unfolded a bit like Y2K - lots of concern over little. But some doctors may see a financial hit now that the one-year grace period following the conversion has ended. Medical Economics reports some specificity requirements will no longer be waived, and that could effect revenues. 
 
States may not get Zika funds for months Oct. 4, 2016
Although Congress approved a budget bill including $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus last month, it may be months before the funds reach states and localities, according to The Washington Post. The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports the Keystone State has 114 confirmed Zika infections and 29 probable cases. 
 
Pa. doctors are unsure of medical marijuana Oct. 3, 2016
Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program continues its slow rollout, and The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette reports it's giving some doctors pause. Although physicians are sympathetic to its appeal, lack of scientific evidence and the drug's Schedule I classification could mean few doctors will prescribe it to patients.
 
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