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August 2017
News Archive

What is the latest on medical marijuana in Pa.? Aug. 30, 2017
Progress continues on Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program. According to Sen. Mike Folmer at PennLive, safe harbor letters have been issued, some permits for growers-processors have been awarded, and some dispensary permits have been chosen; research through state medical schools is yet to begin. 
Hurricane Harvey: How you can help Aug. 29, 2017
We've all seen the images on the news and heard the stories about the devastation in Houston and the surrounding areas following Hurricane Harvey. At least 10 people have been killed, and tens of thousands are in shelters. More rain is expected, and the situation may become more dire. Click here to help. 
Health disparities growing in Appalachia Aug. 25, 2017
The 25 million people who live in the Appalachian region (which covers the majority of Pennsylvania) have struggled to keep up with the rest of the nation's health care gains. The Associated Press reports the region lags in 33 of 41 population health indicators, including seven out of 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. 
Longer prescriptions make opioid abuse likelier Aug. 23, 2017
When it comes to prescribing opioids, smaller supplies are safest. HealthDay reports a new study suggests a patient who is prescribed a seven-day supply of opioids is twice as likely to begin abusing the drug as one with a two-day prescription; the days supplied is more important than dosage level or the type of pain.
Did you stare at the sun? See your doctor Aug. 22, 2017
Despite myriad warnings about the dangers of staring directly into the sun, NPR reports Google searches for "my eyes hurt" spiked dramatically after yesterday's eclipse event. Symptoms of eye damage, including blurred vision and seeing spots, are very serious - anyone with these signs should see a doctor immediately. 
Pa. ranks low in health IT among states Aug. 17, 2017
Using recent information from the Center for Data Innovation, Health Data Management has ranked all 50 states for use of electronic health records, or EHRs. Pennsylvania comes in at a troubling 43 on the list, with 78 percent of hospitals adopting a basic EHR and just 73 percent of physicians using a certified EHR. 
Teen drug overdoses double since 1999 Aug. 16, 2017
In the midst of other tragedies like war and economic strife, teen drug overdose quietly spiked between 1999 and 2015. According to NBC News, 772 adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 died in 2015 from overdosing on drugs, at a rate of 3.7 per 100,000, up from 1.6 per 100,000 just 16 years before.  
Health insurers get extension for rate increases Aug. 15, 2017
Health insurance companies are receiving more time from the Trump administration to calculate rate 2018 increases. The New York Times reports that's because of the president's threat to cut off subsidies. Insurers now have until Sept. 5 to file their rate requests for next year, an extension of nearly three weeks. 
The fight over prior authorization is heating up Aug. 14, 2017
Pennsylvania doctors - including organizations such as the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians - are backing House Bill 1293, which would simplify and streamline the burdensome prior authorization process. According to Lancaster Online, doctors are concerned that long wait times can harm patients. 
Earn patient safety credit this summer Aug. 10, 2017
Squeeze in some patient safety hours this summer with our one-day CME event at the Sheraton of Bucks County in Langhorne on Saturday, Aug. 19. The daylong focus on dermatology, from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m., includes hands-on workshops, didactic lectures, and case studies. Click here to register and join us! 
Going to the doctor is radically changing Aug. 9, 2017
The traditional 15-minute, in-person doctor appointment is changing. According to Time, new technologies and a shifting health care environment mean innovative ways to get patients into the doctor's "office," whether it's a virtual visit, the return of the house call, or more personalized models like direct primary care. 
Pa. preps for new immunization requirements Aug. 8, 2017
As the school year draws closer, Pennsylvania physicians and parents are preparing for the state's new immunization requirements. Previously, students had eight months from the start of school to get their shots - now they have just five days. WITF reports some providers are trying to alert parents to the changes.
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