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December 2016
News Archive

The PAFP wishes you happy holidays! Dec. 22, 2016
As 2016 comes to a close, the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians wishes glad tidings and great joy to its members and Pennsylvania's patients. Have a safe holiday season! The PAFP will be out of the office from Dec. 23 through Jan. 1 and will return on Jan. 2, 2017 for an exciting new year for family medicine!
Opioids alone aren't responsible for drug death surge Dec. 21, 2016
While the opioid epidemic is claiming American lives at an alarming rate, other drugs are also responsible for the recent surge in drug overdose deaths. According to U.S. News & World Report, heroin leads the list and oxycodone is near the top, but cocaine and the anti-anxiety medication alprazolam also make the list. 
Female doctors are better at saving lives: report Dec. 20, 2016
After years of research suggesting male and female doctors treat patients differently, a new study has found patients who are cared for by female doctors have a lower chance of dying. The Washington Post reports if male physicians did as well as their female counterparts, they could save 32,000 lives a year. 
As GOP promises repeal, health law has its biggest day Dec. 19, 2016
A record number of Americans signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Dec. 15. Nevertheless, reports NBC News, Republicans are still gearing up to replace the health care law after President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration in January. The specifics and timeline of the plan are unclear. 
ACA enrollment deadline extended to Monday Dec. 16, 2016
Good news for procrastinators who have put off getting health insurance for 2017: the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment deadline has been extended through Monday, Dec. 19. The enrollment period runs through January, but patients who do not sign up by the deadline will not have coverage as of Jan. 1, 2017. 
Pennsylvania's health rankings in 2016 a mixed bag Dec. 15, 2016
The United Health Foundation has released its America's Health Rankings 2016 Annual Report, and Pennsylvania's results are mediocre. The state moved up a spot to 28th overall and ranks a troubling 42 out of all 50 states on drug deaths; however, it's in the top five in number of primary care physicians. 
Obama signs 21st Century Cures Act into law Dec. 14, 2016
Lauding the bipartisanship that made it possible, President Barack Obama has signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law. The Washington Post reports the bill includes funds for biomedical research and opioid abuse prevention; it will also overhaul federal mental health care policy and expedite experimental treatments. 
As the year winds down, consider a gift Dec. 13, 2016
As 2016 comes to a close, would you consider a donation to the PAFP Foundation as a part of your holiday giving? The PAFP Foundation is dedicated to improving the health of every Pennsylvanian through education, research, and philanthropy. Make a commitment to support the future of family medicine today! 
Obama to Congress: Don't repeal ACA Dec. 12, 2016
President Barack Obama, with about a month left in office, is pleading with Congress to avoid scrapping the Affordable Care Act. In his weekly online address, Obama said he's made a number of suggestions on how to improve the health law, but warned that trying to undo parts of the law could undermine all of its progress. 
Overdose deaths hit all-time high Dec. 9, 2016
More than 50,000 Americans died from overdoses last year, more than in any other previous year. The Associated Press reports soaring rates of prescription opioid and heroin abuse are responsible for the spike. Nearly 13,000 people died of heroin, slightly more than the number of deaths from gun homicide. 
U.S. life expectancy drops for first time in years Dec. 8, 2016
For the first time since 1993, the U.S. death rate has increased, leading to a drop in overall life expectancy. According to NPR, the overall life expectancy for someone born in 2015 fell from 78.9 years to 78.8 years. While some experts are concerned, there is a chance the latest data could be a one-time blip. 
Doctors are still over-prescribing drugs Dec. 7, 2016
Some doctors are still overprescribing unnecessary medications. According to HealthDay, more than a quarter of doctors said they prescribe antibiotics when they won't do any good. Other treatments of questionable value that physicians frequently use include dietary supplements and chronic pain drugs. 
The U.S. continues to miss public health goals Dec. 6, 2016
The United States is making progress in some areas, including smoking and teen pregnancy, but progress in other areas has been disappointing. According to The Associated Press, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the U.S. still lags on public health indicators like obesity and infections. 
Are you Pennsylvania's best physician? Dec. 5, 2016
Each one of the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians' 5,000-plus members plays a unique part in their community, in their practice, and in the lives of their patients. But what sets you or a colleague apart? The PAFP's 2017 Family Physician of the Year contest has kicked off! Visit for more! 
Today is World AIDS Day Dec. 1, 2016
On World AIDS Day 2016, the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is highlighting all of the progress made over the past 35 years of the AIDS and HIV epidemic. While the threat may seem less urgent in the U.S. than in years past, there's still much to be done to stem the AIDS crisis.
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