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February 2014
News Archive

CUSTOMERS RECEIVE 'ACA SURCHARGE' AT FLA. RESTAURANT CHAIN (Feb. 28, 2014)

A restaurant chain in Florida is beginning to charge customers an extra fee to help recoup some of the costs of complying with the Affordable Care Act. CNN reports eight Gator's Dockside restaurants are charging a 1 percent fee on each bill so the chain can offer its full-time employees insurance coverage.
 
CONGRATULATIONS TO FAMILY PHYSICIAN, TEACHER OF THE YEAR! (Feb. 28, 2014)

The Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians is pleased to reveal its 2014 Family Physician of the Year, Craig Johnston, DO of Erie, and its Exemplary Teacher of the Year, Patrick McManus, MD of Philadelphia. Congratulations! The winners will be honored March 7 at the PAFP's Annual Business Meeting.
 
PATIENTS SHARE THEIR ACA STORIES (Feb. 27, 2014)

Between all the talk about various coverage plans, website troubles and the political debate that surrounds the Affordable Care Act, it sometimes seems patients' experiences with the health care law are getting lost in the mix. The Wall Street Journal has compiled patient stories and is asking readers to submit their own.
 
HERSHEY CME CONFERENCE REGISTRATION CLOSED (Feb. 27, 2014)

Registration for the Hershey CME Conference, March 6 through 9, is now closed. Walk-in registrations will not be accepted. However, registration for PAFP Annual Business Meeting events is still open. If you'd like to participate in the CME, please click here to register for any or all CME conference live streaming offerings.
 
ACA HITS 4 MILLION ENROLLEES (Feb. 26, 2014)

An estimated 4 million Americans have signed up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act so far, reports Time. The Obama administration had hoped 7 million would sign up before the deadline at the end of March; there are five weeks left for those still shopping. Just 25 percent of current enrollees are younger patients.
 
OBESITY DECLINING IN 2- TO 5-YEAR-OLDS (Feb. 26, 2014)

A new study suggests obesity rates are dropping in children between ages 2 and 5. According to CNN, the JAMA-published study found a 43 percent decline in the obesity rate of children in this age range, from 13.9 to 18.4 percent between 2003 and 2012. The study, however, found no significant decline in other groups' rates.
 
GOP, DEMS AT ODDS OVER HEALTH LAW REPORT (Feb. 25, 2014)

A new report on small business health costs has Republicans and Democrats at odds over the success of the Affordable Care Act. According to CNN, the GOP says the report proves small companies suffer under the ACA; Democrats say the report ignores subsidies that will decrease premiums. Read the full report here.
 
AAP: RETAIL CLINICS NOT FOR CHILDREN (Feb. 25, 2014)

Retail health clinics like CVS and Walgreens are not for children, the American Academy of Pediatrics is warning. Reuters reports an updated AAP policy statement claims that taking children to a drugstore pharmacy for their primary care needs fragments care, limits follow-up, and can potentially be unsafe for kids.
 
ACA ENROLLMENT NUMBERS HARD TO VERIFY (Feb. 24, 2014)

How many previously uninsured Americans have signed up for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act? The answer is complicated. Politico reports part of the reason there's no verifiable number is because the government isn't yet able to say how many of the newly insured didn't have coverage before.
 
SHOULD PAFP PROVIDE PCMH ASSISTANCE? (Feb. 24, 2014)

The Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians is researching whether it should offer consulting services to help practices become patient-centered medical homes. A critical part of this research is receiving input from members. Please click here to participate in a short survey about PCMH assistance.
 
LOW-INCOME FAMILIES TO PAY THOUSANDS IN ACA TAXES? (Feb. 21, 2014)

Although the top 2 percent of Americans will pay much more, those in the lowest income bracket will be on the hook for $7,000 in taxes over the course of a decade to help fund the Affordable Care Act. That's according to Forbes, which says that the top 2 percent, or "rich," will only pay for 34 percent of the tax burden.
 
TEN STATE MEETING BEGINS IN HERSHEY (Feb. 21, 2014)

The 2014 Ten State Meeting is in full swing! Feb. 21 through 23, leaders from several state Academy of Family Physicians chapters will join together for learning and strategic development. The theme is "Empowering Family Physicians to Lead." Click here for the agenda; follow the meeting on Facebook and Twitter!
 
REPORT: 250,000 POLICIES CANCELED IN PA. (Feb. 20, 2014)

An estimated quarter-million Pennsylvanians lost their health insurance after the Affordable Care Act went into effect, WITF reports. Will those patients find higher quality and more affordable products on the Marketplace? Most people who are eligible for subsidies will, one expert contends. Click here to read more.
 
PA. MEDICAID PLAN SUBMITTED TO CMS  (Feb. 20, 2014)

Gov. Tom Corbett's administration has submitted its Medicaid overhaul plan to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. According to WITF, the plan isn't an expansion; the governor wants to use the federal expansion dollars to subsidize private health care to half a million of Pennsylvania's working poor.
 
ARE NEWLY INSURED RUNNING OUT OF HELP? (Feb. 19, 2014)

America's newly insured may have a problem looming on the horizon: a lack of assistance in helping them understand their new plans. Federal funding for consumer assistance programs has been either spent or turned down, according to Politico; only a handful of states' assistance programs are still running.
 
STUDIES LINK LONELINESS TO HEALTH PROBLEMS (Feb. 19, 2014)

Loneliness is more than just a social disposition - research shows that it could have serious health effects. Recent studies suggest loneliness is linked to everything from sleep loss and dementia to premature death. For more information about the health implications of loneliness, read this revealing piece from CNN.
 
TEN TOP QUESTIONS CONSUMERS ASK ABOUT ACA (Feb. 18, 2014)

new poll has found that a third of Americans are unfamiliar with the Affordable Care Act, and The Fiscal Times reports that the many changes to the law over the last several months only adds to consumers' confusion. That's why the publication has assembled a list of 10 top ACA questions - and the answers.

MORE EMPLOYERS OPT FOR HIGH-DEDUCTIBLE PLANS (Feb. 18, 2014)

Health care costs are still rising, but at a lower rate than they have in years. Unfortunately, that doesn't always translate to patients, who seem to be paying more and more for care. NPR reports one of the reasons why: employers are cutting back on their costs by opting for high-deductible plans. Listen to the story here. 
 
UPDATE: ONE-FIFTH OF ACA ENROLLEES DIDN'T PAY PREMIUM (Feb. 14, 2014)

Last month, we told you that an estimated one in five ACA enrollees was expected to fail to pay their first month's premium. Today, the New York Times reports that figure seems to be coming true, with numbers varying slightly between different insurers. Those who did not pay did not receive coverage in January.
 
TWO WEEKS LEFT TO PRE-REGISTER FOR HERSHEY CME CONFERENCE (Feb. 14, 2014)

The Hershey CME Conference is approaching quickly, and there are only two weeks left to pre-register! Don't miss the CME-packed weekend, March 6 through 9, which includes relevant clinical training, a SAM study group, DOT medical examiner training, and more. Then join us for the PAFP's Annual Meeting luncheon.
 
PLATINUM, GOLD, SILVER, BRONZE ... AND COPPER? (Feb. 13, 2014)

The White House is considering a proposal that would create a new tier of ACA insurance plans, theWall Street Journal reports. The so-called "copper" policies would offer a lower level of coverage than existing ACA plans and require more ordinary costs up front. If that sounds confusing, click here to read more.
 
SIGN UP FOR FREE PRACTICE MANAGER WORKSHOPS (Feb. 13, 2014)

The PAFP's Government Affairs and Practice Advocacy team is focusing on information essential to practice managers and staff. In April, three conveniently located practice manager workshops will provide the latest on relevant up-to-date topics like regulations and industry trends. Click here for more information! 
 
EXPERTS: ACA 'FAILURE' JUST AS LIKELY AS REPEAL (Feb. 12, 2014)

Is the Affordable Care Act doomed? According to experts, the law is just as unlikely to fail as it is to be repealed. According to USA Today, that's because the law has provisions to protect insurers from an unfavorable balance of sick and healthy patients; additionally, insurers stand to gain too much to let it fail. 
 
STATES SHIFT AWAY FROM VACCINE EXEMPTIONS (Feb. 12, 2014)

In an encouraging sign for public health, U.S. News & World Report says states may be getting stricter regarding vaccine exemptions for children. Most states allow parents to nix vaccines for religious reasons, but researchers have found additional "personal belief" exemptions have been unsuccessful in recent years.
 
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DELAYS EMPLOYER MANDATE (Feb. 11, 2014)

The Obama administration is delaying the employer mandate for a year, giving employers more time to determine how they'll expand coverage or provide insurance to their employees. USA Today reports the extension was granted after input from employers and Congress. The rule will now begin January 2015.
 
STUDY: 70 PERCENT OF PHYSICIANS SAY EHR 'NOT WORTH IT' (Feb. 11, 2014)

More than 5 million people are stuck in the Affordable Care Act's "coverage gap" in states that opted out of expanding Medicaid coverage. While many of those patients are clustered in the south, the Wall Street Journal reports between 20 and 25 percent of Pennsylvania's uninsured population falls into that gap.
 
NEARLY 5 MILLION STUCK IN ACA COVERAGE GAP (Feb. 10, 2014)

More than 5 million people are stuck in the Affordable Care Act's "coverage gap" in states that opted out of expanding Medicaid coverage. While many of those patients are clustered in the south, the Wall Street Journal reports between 20 and 25 percent of Pennsylvania's uninsured population falls into that gap.
 
RESEARCH: REFRESHING 'FOOD DESERT' REQUIRES INTERVENTION (Feb. 10, 2014)

A new study suggests simply placing produce aisles or new stores in "food deserts" - areas where fresh produce is scarce, such as neighborhoods in some cities - isn't enough to increase consumption of healthy foods. NPR reports researchers have found much more needs to be done to change consumers' behaviors.
 
WHITE HOUSE LISTS SIX ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF ACA (Feb. 7, 2014)

The Obama administration is defending the Affordable Care Act against claims that the Congressional Budget Office's recent report paints the law as a "job killer." On WhiteHouse.gov, the administration has listed six economic benefits of the ACA, including reducing the deficit, boosting demand, and reducing "job lock."
 
LAWMAKERS REACH DEAL ON REPLACING SGR FORMULA (Feb. 7, 2014)

Leaders from both political parties have reached a deal to replace the physician payment formula known as the sustainable growth rate and reward doctors for quality of care. Kaiser Health News, which compiled this SGR news roundup, reports lawmakers have not yet found a way to pay for the so-called doc fix.
 
FACT CHECK: RESPONSES TO CBO REPORT (Feb. 6, 2014)

Yesterday, we told you about the Congressional Budget Office's estimation that the health care law will create a net loss of the equivalent of 2 million jobs. But the difference between deciding to work less or losing a job, as some Republicans suggest, is stark. USA Today has a fact check about what the numbers really mean.
 
MAKE HPV VACCINE A YEAR-ROUND PRIORITY (Feb. 6, 2014)

Make the HPV vaccine a year-round priority in your office. Completion of the three-shot series is recommended for boys and girls before sexual debut for the best protection; research shows vaccination does not increase sexual activity. Make a strong recommendation and use reminders to support series completion.
 
CBO: ACA TO COST 2 MILLION JOBS BY 2017 (Feb. 5, 2014)

The Congressional Budget Office's new economic report suggests the Affordable Care Act will cause Americans to work fewer hours, costing the equivalent of 2 million jobs by 2017. Politico reports that number is nearly three times as high as the office's previous prediction. Meanwhile, the White House has responded.
 
CVS TO PULL TOBACCO PRODUCTS FROM SHELVES (Feb. 5, 2014)

In the company's push toward providing health care, CVS has decided that tobacco products don't align with its strategy. All such products will be phased out by October, according to the Wall Street Journal. For more information about smoking (and quitting), please visit the PAFP's Smoking Cessation CME.
 
GET THE MOST OUT OF ACA BY AVOIDING 4 BIG MISTAKES (Feb. 4, 2014)

Pennsylvania patients who are selecting coverage plans through 
HealthCare.gov have plenty of options. But signing up for health insurance is a tremendous commitment, and confusion sometimes sets in when there are so many products to choose from. ABC News has compiled a list of mistakes to avoid when signing up.
 
EARLY BIRD RATES FOR HERSHEY CME CONFERENCE END FEB. 5 (Feb. 4, 2014)

The World Health Organization is warning of a dizzying rise in cancer cases over the next two decades. According to CNN, the WHO's World Cancer Report predicts new cancer cases will rise 57 percent, from around 14 million in 2012 to 22 million in 20 years. The WHO is urging a renewed focus on prevention.
 
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