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January 2014
News Archive

REPORT: 1 IN 5 ACA ENROLLEES NOT PAYING UP (Jan. 31, 2014)

An estimated one in five enrollees who have selected plans through health insurance marketplaces haven't yet paid their premiums for the first month, reports CNN. That number could change once final numbers are confirmed in a few weeks. Patients who don't pay up will see their selections canceled and be left uninsured.
 
ACOs SAVE MILLIONS, BUT SOME DETAILS UNCLEAR (Jan. 31, 2014)

Medicare accountable care organizations saved provider groups a total of $380 million in the first year, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. But, the Washington Post reports, CMS is quiet on how the total compared to expectations. ACOs serve up to 13 percent of Medicare beneficiaries.
 
UNINSURED BECOMING MORE CRITICAL OF ACA (Jan. 30, 2014)

Those without insurance are becoming increasingly wary of the Affordable Care Act, Kaiser Health Newsreports. Among the uninsured, unfavorable views outnumber favorable views two to one. Among all Americans, just 15 percent report a positive experience with the law; 27 percent say their experience was negative.
 
REPORT: OBESITY GAINS HOLD BEFORE KINDERGARTEN (Jan. 30, 2014)

Most obese adults were on the path to obesity by the time they were 5 years old, according to a new study. The New York Times reports the study found one-third of overweight kindergarteners were obese by eighth grade; nearly all children who were very obese in kindergarten stayed that way through adulthood. 
 
LAWMAKERS HAVE THEIR SAY ON SCOTUS CONTRACEPTION CASE (Jan. 29, 2014)

Lawmakers from both the Democrat and Republican sides of the aisle have filed competing briefs to Supreme Court regarding its upcoming ACA contraception mandate case, according to USA Today. The paper reports the case combines legal challenges by two companies which claim the law violates their religious rights.
 
AAFP HELPING PATIENTS TO 'CHOOSE WISELY' (Jan. 29, 2014)

The American Academy of Family Physicians joined the Choosing Wisely campaign in 2012 to improve care while helping patients avoid unnecessary tests. Now, the AAFP has made it easier for physicians to navigate the Choosing Wisely advice: click here to visit the AAFP's new recommendation search tool.
 
GOP LEADERS OFFER PLAN TO 'REPEAL AND REPLACE' ACA (Jan. 28, 2014)

Three Republican senators have developed a health care plan that would replace the Affordable Care Act. According to Reuters, the plan retains some elements of the ACA, but seeks to lower insurance costs. The Obama administration says that more than 6 million people have signed up for private plans under the law.
 
THE PAFP NEEDS YOUR FEEDBACK! (Jan. 28, 2014)

The PAFP needs your feedback! We are simply asking for three minutes of your time to take an education survey about programs you have attended or would like the PAFP to offer. Help us meet your educational goals! Click here to complete the survey and be entered into a drawing to win free state dues for 2014!
 
OBAMA TO TALK ACA IN STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS? (Jan. 27, 2014)

The Affordable Care Act will likely be under the limelight when President Obama delivers his State of the Union address Jan. 28. Politico reports this is the president's biggest address since the rollout of HealthCare.gov. Health care hasn't been a large part of his State of the Union speeches since the law passed.
 
UPDATE: LIMITED SEATING AVAILABLE FOR DOT TRAINING (Jan. 24, 2014)

Registration is closed for the DOT medical examiner training session at the Hershey CME Conference on March 8, 2013. The session has reached its maximum participation number. Update: limited seating is now available for this event. The 40 additional spots will go quickly, so register as soon as you possibly can!
 
REPUBLICANS SEEKING ALTERNATIVES TO ACA (Jan. 24, 2014)

Republicans have been staunchly opposed to the Affordable Care Act since its inception. Now the GOP is seeking health care policies to replace the law. According to Reuters, House Speaker John Boehner says it will be a major topic at a Republican retreat next weekend; several alternative bills have already been introduced.
 
REPORT: PCMHS EFFECTIVE FOR CHRONICALLY ILL (Jan. 24, 2014)

A new report suggests the patient-centered medical home care model is effective in helping to care for patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes. According to Medical News Today, a southeastern Pennsylvania study shows the strategic placement of care managers in a PCMH setting is key to improving outcomes.
 
DEBATE: IS THE HEALTH CARE LAW BEYOND REPAIR? (Jan. 23, 2014)

It's no secret the Affordable Care Act has had its share of problems. But is it broken beyond repair? NPR asked that question as part of its Intelligence Squared U.S. debate series. Two teams, each comprising a medical doctor and a political writer, argued their case in a public forum. Click here to listen to the debate.
 
PAFP HOSTS TEN STATE MEETING FEB. 21-23 (Jan. 23, 2014)

Family physicians from Pennsylvania and 10 other states will convene in Hershey Feb. 21-23 for the Ten State Meeting, an annual conference that assembles physician leaders for a weekend of learning and strategic development. The PAFP is hosting. This year's theme is "Empowering Family Physicians to Lead."
 
PATIENTS STILL HAVING TROUBLE NAVIGATING ACA MAZE (Jan. 22, 2014)

The Affordable Care Act has been the law for some time, and HealthCare.gov launched months ago. But some patients are still having trouble navigating the health care maze, reports CNBC. Experts say consumers need to take the time to educate themselves about the law's ins-and-outs before looking for a plan.
 
BEAT THE WINTER WEATHER WITH THESE SAFETY TIPS (Jan. 22, 2014)

Much of Pennsylvania is covered with a fresh blanket of snow, and high temperatures throughout the state will top out in the teens. Be sure to stay safe with these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including how to recognize hypothermia, being prepared for a storm, and how to stay safe indoors.
 
EXPERTS: HEALTHCARE.GOV STILL SUSCEPTIBLE TO ATTACKERS (Jan. 17, 2014)

Many economically disadvantaged patients who don't qualify for a plan under the Affordable Care Act rely on free clinics for their health care needs. But, as CNN reports, the future of free clinics is uncertain, as most donors assume one of the neediest populations will be automatically covered by the ACA. Read more here.  
 
50 YEARS AFTER REPORT, HARMS OF SMOKING STILL BEING REVEALED (Jan. 17, 2014)

Many economically disadvantaged patients who don't qualify for a plan under the Affordable Care Act rely on free clinics for their health care needs. But, as CNN reports, the future of free clinics is uncertain, as most donors assume one of the neediest populations will be automatically covered by the ACA. Read more here.  
 
FREE CLINICS STEP UP TO COVER ACA GAPS (Jan. 16, 2014)

Many economically disadvantaged patients who don't qualify for a plan under the Affordable Care Act rely on free clinics for their health care needs. But, as CNN reports, the future of free clinics is uncertain, as most donors assume one of the neediest populations will be automatically covered by the ACA. Read more here. 
 
HOW MIGHT CONGRESS CHANGE SGR FORMULA IN 2014? (Jan. 16, 2014)

Will 2014 be the year that the Medicare physician payment formula is replaced? It's anyone's guess, but according to Kaiser Health News, both lawmakers and physicians are optimistic. Click here to find out moreabout plans to scrap the sustainable growth rate (SGR), and read about previous efforts in Keystone Physician.
 
DESPITE ASSISTANCE, ACA STILL NOT AFFORDABLE FOR SOME (Jan. 15, 2014)

The "affordable" part of the Affordable Care Act is being questioned once again. USA Today reports that, though financial help is available, it still may not be enough to entice low-income patients to select a plan. Anti-poverty agencies are concerned that health insurance will remain out of reach for the nation's poorest.
 
PCMH BILL PASSES STATE HOUSE (Jan. 15, 2014)

Pennsylvania House Bill 1655, which would establish a Patient-Centered Medical Home Advisory Council and develop a plan for a statewide medical home model, has passed the state House. PAFP leadership helped to develop the legislation. Rep. Matt Baker, of Tioga County, introduced the legislation in the House
 
GOVERNMENT TO PITCH ACA TO UNDER-35 CROWD (Jan. 14, 2014)

Only about 30 percent of patients enrolled in an Affordable Care Act plan are under 35. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the Obama administration is making a big push for younger Americans to enroll by Feb. 15 for coverage that would begin on March 1 by redoubling ACA outreach efforts in 25 states.
 
MANY KIDS EXPOSED TO 'FOOD COMMERCIALISM' IN SCHOOL (Jan. 14, 2014)

New research suggests, even in the midst of an obesity epidemic, children are still exposed to food marketing at school. Medical News Today reports nearly 70 percent of high school students attend schools with exclusive beverage contracts, which researchers argue creates an unhealthy environment for teens.
 
SPANISH-LANGUAGE ACA SITE ALSO PLAGUED WITH ISSUES (Jan. 13, 2014)

The Spanish-language version of HealthCare.gov has problems of its own, according to the Associated Press. The New York Daily News reports that the site, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, which launched two months late, is riddled with grammatical mistakes, leading some to believe the translation was computer-generated.
 
MORE STATES ADOPTING SICK LEAVE LAWS (Jan. 13, 2014)

There is no federal law mandating that employees receive paid sick leave - in fact, according to USA Today, it's estimated that as many as 40 percent of private sector employees don't receive the benefit. The paper reports that more states and cities are adopting such laws. Pennsylvania has no paid sick leave labor law.
 
FREE BREAST CANCER DRUGS FOR HIGH-RISK WOMEN UNDER ACA (Jan. 10, 2014)

A provision of the Affordable Care Act is allowing high-risk women to get drugs to help prevent breast cancer without a co-pay or a deductible, according to the Washington Post. Eligible women will be able to receive the drugs, such as tamoxifen and raloxifene, next September; insurers will have one year to make the change.
 
FOOD COMPANIES CUT TRILLIONS OF CALORIES FROM PRODUCTS (Jan. 10, 2014)

In an encouraging step in the fight against obesity, the food industry has cut 6.4 trillion calories from its products - nearly four times what 16 companies including Hershey and Coca-Cola pledged to cut by 2015.USA Today reports the study, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, equals 78 calories daily per U.S. resident.
 
HOUSE GOP TARGETS SPECIFIC PROBLEMS WITH ACA (Jan. 9, 2014)

The House GOP is back to work, and, unsurprisingly, prioritizing its opposition to the Affordable Care Act. However, Politico reports, Republicans aren't working on a full repeal. GOP lawmakers are instead targeting specific issues with the ACA, focusing on the functionality and security of the HealthCare.gov website.
 
REPORT: FEDERAL EHR PUSH LACKS FRAUD SAFEGUARDS (Jan. 9, 2014)

A new report by a watchdog of the Dept. of Health and Human Services says the federal government's push to incentivize electronic health record adoption lacks fraud and abuse safeguards. Some privacy advocates worry that the EHR program is moving too fast for security measures to keep up, reports Fox News.
 
SURVEY: WEALTHIER PATIENTS HAPPIER WITH PLANS (Jan. 8, 2014)

According to a recent survey of Californians, wealthier patients are more satisfied with their health care plans. But there's a catch, according to Kaiser Health News: the higher levels of satisfaction had nothing to do with higher income levels, per se, but quality of relationships with caregivers.
 
PA DEMS ASSAIL 'HEALTHY PA' PLAN (Jan. 8, 2014)

Pennsylvania's Democratic lawmakers are slamming Gov. Corbett's Healthy Pennsylvania plan. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, some are calling it "barely recognizable as Medicaid" and "a stall tactic." The PAFP has welcomed the plan and is encouraged by its emphasis on coordinated care, among other features.
 
DETERMINING THE ACA'S SUCCESS IN 2014 (Jan. 7, 2014)

If the late 2013 launch of HealthCare.gov was the Affordable Care Act's first big test, 2014 is the year we'll discover just how well the law is working. The Atlantic has assembled a list of 6 Questions That Will Determine Whether Obamacare Is a Success in 2014. Keep the checklist handy for the next 358 days!
 
STUDY: LET THE BRAIN TAKE A REST AFTER CONCUSSION (Jan. 7, 2014)

Skipping physical exercise is a must for kids who are recovering from concussions. But a new study shows that avoiding mental exercise, like homework, is equally as important. According to NBC News, the study found that nearly half of children and young adults who didn't reduce their mental strain took more time to recover. 
 
CAN STATES STOP THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT? (Jan. 6, 2014)

Do states have the ability to put an end to the Affordable Care Act? A new handbook released by the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC) says yes. According to the Washington Times, the handbook discusses constitutional law and legal strategies for states to individually thwart the law. Click here to read the full details. 
 
START THINKING ABOUT CME OPPORTUNITIES IN 2014 (Jan. 6, 2014)

The PAFP has plenty of incredible, affordable CME opportunities headed your way in 2014. This year's Hershey CME Conference is paired with the 2014 PAFP Annual Business Meeting; the first-ever PAFP CME Cruise this summer combines fun and sun with valuable education. And don't forget about our online CME!
 
U.S. TO SCOTUS: DON'T EXTEND CONTRACEPTION MANDATE EXEMPTION (Jan. 3, 2014)

The U.S. government has asked the Supreme Court not to extend a contraception mandate exemption to two Catholic groups. Reuters reports Justice Sonya Sotomayor, who granted the exemption, will decide alone or with the rest of the court whether to continue extending the injunction. There is no deadline for the court to act. 
 
RELIVE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF 2013 IN 'KEYSTONE PHYSICIAN' (Jan. 3, 2014)

In case you missed it during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the latest issue of Keystone Physician is now available! Within, you'll find the latest details on the Affordable Care Act, recurring features like Member News, and a month-by-month recap of all of the highlights from a wonderful 2013. Click here to check it out!
 
ACA CONTRACEPTION MANDATE DELAYED BY SCOTUS (Jan. 2, 2014)

In a last-minute move, the U.S. Supreme Court has delayed a mandate under the Affordable Care Act that would force some Catholic groups to provide contraceptive coverage. According to Fox News, the government must respond to the temporary block by 10 a.m. Friday. The policy remains in effect for other groups.
 
HELP MAKE SMOKING CESSATION RESOLUTIONS A REALITY (Jan. 2, 2014)

Many of your patients have decided to make 2014 the year they quit smoking cigarettes - and they need your help! The PAFP has many resources to aid family physicians in getting their patients to stop smoking, including free CME. Visit the PAFP's Public Health and Smoking Cessation Challenge pages for more!
 
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