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July 2014
News Archive

REPORT: DOCTOR SHORTAGE DOESN'T EXIST AFTER ALL (July 31, 2014)

We've all heard about a nationwide shortage of physicians, but a new study suggests that may not be the case. According to Vox, the Institute of Medicine report has found "no credible evidence" of a doctor shortage, citing "flawed assumptions" like doctor-patient ratios and geographic differences in physician supply. 
 
HAS ACA HELPED REDUCE EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS? (July 30, 2014)

One of the selling points of the Affordable Care Act was an expected drop in emergency room visits which would help control costs. But Marketplace reports that ERs across the United States are still busy, even among the newly insured, who may even be visiting the ER more since it's now cheaper for them to do so.
 
REPORT: FIVE MINUTES OF RUNNING CAN COMBAT HEART DISEASE (July 29, 2014)

Patients who are worried about their heart health but can't seem to get off the couch should listen to their family physicians when they say every little bit helps. According to CNN, a new report shows that just a few minutes of running a day (whether it's at a sprinter's pace or not!) significantly lowers heart disease rates.
 
CONGRESS AGREES ON BIPARTISAN VA BILL (July 28, 2014)

Congress has finally agreed on a bipartisan bill to reform the Dept. of Veterans Affairs after a much-publicized scandal involving care quality and waiting times for visits. NPR reports the deal includes additional funding for more care providers, as well as funding to allow veterans to get care outside the VA system. 
 
DECISION-MAKING ALL ABOUT DATA PRESENTATION (July 25, 2014)

No two patients are alike, and sometimes, the patient's decision-making process hinges on just how the data is presented. NPR's All Things Considered talked to both physicians and patients about the importance of information delivery, and why different methods make sense for different patients. Click here for more.
 
SUMMER CME REWARD POINTS SALE IS BACK! (July 24, 2014)

Like the July weather in Pennsylvania, CME reward points are hot! Through midnight on Friday, July 25, register for the Pittsburgh CME Conference and receive three member reward points. By earning these points and attending the conference, you'll automatically earn a $25 credit toward your next PAFP CME activity!
 
WHAT'S NEXT FOR ACA AFTER CONFLICTING COURT RULINGS? (July 23, 2014)

What's going to happen to the Affordable Care Act after yesterday's conflicting court rulings over subsidies? Nothing yet, reports the New York Times. The decisions are not the final word on the law. The PAFP is reviewing these cases and expects to have a full report on the matter in the next issue of Keystone Physician.
 
PAFP SEEKS NEW COMMUNICATIONS STAFF MEMBER (July 22, 2014)

The Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians is looking for a talented graphic design and web development specialist to join its communications department! This person will be responsible for the creation and implementation of a wide variety of communications materials. Click here for details and to apply!
 
CHILDHOOD ABDOMINAL OBESITY LEVELING OFF (July 21, 2014)

Obesity has been called a worldwide crisis, but new research shows a positive development: the rate of childhood abdominal obesity held steady between 2003 and 2012. According to Reuters, health officials say there's plenty of room for improvement, as more severe forms of obesity continue to increase in the U.S.
 
EMPLOYERS MUST DISCLOSE COVERAGE CHANGE (July 18, 2014)

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision over contraceptives, the Obama administration says employers must make their employees aware of any changes in contraceptive coverage. The Wall Street Journal reports that this notification generally happens no later than 60 days after the change.
 
COULD TOUGH SMOKING LAWS LOWER SUICIDE RISK? (July 17, 2014)

A new study suggests that tough smoking laws help combat suicide. According to U.S. News & World Report, while previous research has revealed smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to take their own lives, some scientists now believe that smoking itself may be responsible for increasing the risk of suicide. 
 
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR SUMMER REWARD POINTS SALE! (July 16, 2014)

Did you miss the PAFP's last Summer Reward Points Sale? Never fear ... rumor has it that another one may be coming up soon! Keep an eye out for the sale, just in time to get your registration wrapped up for the Pittsburgh CME Conference, Nov. 7-9. Remember, the PAFP also has plenty of free online CME! 
 
HOW FAR-REACHING IS SCOTUS CONTRACEPTION DECISION? (July 15, 2014)

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that some companies aren't required to provide certain types of birth control as a part of their health care package. Today, Kaiser Health News reports most companies likely won't (or can't) change their plans: in fact, there are incentives for offering all birth control methods. 
 
THIS SUMMER, LEARN SIGNS OF HEAT STROKE (July 14, 2014)

Summer is an "outdoor season," from barbecues to pool parties. And, according to the Wall Street Journal, anyone who spends time outside is susceptible to heat-related illness. While certain risk factors exist, especially for athletes, it's important for everyone to know how to prevent heat stroke. Click here for more.

PCMH, FAMILY DOCS KEY TO CONTAINING COSTS? (July 11, 2014)

One of the biggest problems with the U.S. health care system is rising costs. But, as Kaiser Health Newsreports, some insurers feel they've found the key to cost containment in family physicians and the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model, to which they credit higher quality of care and lower admission rates. 
 
GOV. CORBETT APPROVES MOST OF BUDGET (July 10, 2014)

Gov. Tom Corbett has signed the Pennsylvania budget, but with line-item vetoes on more than $72 million in spending, according to Eric Veronikis of PennLive. The PAFP is examining the budget and will keep members abreast of how it affects the family physician community, including residency slot expansion.
 
FORMER PAFP PRESIDENT GINGRICH WINS NATIONAL AWARD (July 9, 2014)

Dennis Gingrich, MD, the PAFP's 2011-12 president, has been selected as winner of the American Academy of Family Physicians' (AAFP) 2014 Exemplary Teaching Award in the Full-Time Teacher category. Gingrich is a professor of family and community medicine with the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine.
 
LACK OF EXERCISE OR OVEREATING MORE RESPONSIBLE FOR OBESITY? (July 8, 2014)

It's a pretty simple equation: Moderate food intake and exercise to lose weight. But between overeating and lack of physical activity, which is more responsible for the United States' obesity epidemic? CBS News reports the former may be to blame, according to the American Journal of Medicine. Click here to see why.
 
U.S. PAYS MOST FOR HEALTH CARE, OUTCOMES LAG FAR BEHIND (July 7, 2014)

The United States pays more per capita than any other country on health care, yet, as USA Today reports, outcomes lag far behind. Part of the reason: There is no central mechanism that helps to regulate prices, according to data released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
 
NCQA 2014 STANDARDS NOW REQUIRED (July 3, 2014)

Practices beginning the journey to achieve recognition as a patient-centered medical home will now have to follow the new 2014 standards set forth by the National Committee for Quality Insurance (NCQA). The new standards heavily emphasize quality improvement and patient access. For more information, click here.
 
BIG HEALTH DATA SECURITY BREACH ON THE HORIZON? (July 2, 2014)

Experts who monitor online crime say that it's just a matter of time before a big health data hack exposes sensitive patient health and financial data. Cybersecurity legislation is lagging, reports Politico, and those who wish to profit from the information stored in electronic health records (EHRs) are sophisticated.
 
STUDY: VACCINES NOT LINKED TO AUTISM; SIDE EFFECTS RARE (July 1, 2014)

A new study in Pediatrics has reaffirmed there's no evidence that vaccines cause autism. According to USA Today, the analysis of 67 research studies also found that serious side effects are extremely rare. The paper also reports a recent increase in measles across 20 states is linked to low vaccination rates in those areas.
 
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