AAFP News Now
The family physician's trusted source for news --
Updated: 40 min 57 sec ago
The AAFP and scores of other physician-led organizations are urging Congress to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and instead adopt a series of payment principles that would convert Medicare from a volume-based system to a value-based system promoting innovative payment and care models. In a letter to House and Senate committees, the AAFP and more than 100 other health care organizations describe the SGR as an "enormous impediment to successful health care delivery and payment reforms," that must be eliminated.
Family physicians need to know what to expect when they are asked to become the medical home for a young adult who is transitioning from pediatric care to adult care. However, effectively managing that transition and ensuring a positive patient experience can be challenging for all participants. Join family physician Laura Pickler, M.D., M.P.H., of Aurora, Colo., on Oct. 29 at 1 p.m. CDT for a webinar titled Supporting Health Care Transitions in the Medical Home, that will be offered via the TransforMED Delta-Exchange network.
This roundup includes the following news briefs: Parity Regulation Likely Will Lead to More Physicians Accepting Medicaid, Says Study; CMS Contractor Invites Physicians to Participate in Free Call on Billing Reports; Anti-Fraud Initiative Brings Together Public and Private Sectors; Atypical Antipsychotics Show Limited Off-Label Success; and USDA, FDA Partner on Food Safety Guides for At-risk Populations.
CMS recently held a national provider call designed to help family physicians and other health care professionals understand how the agency plans to implement its new value-based payment modifier initiative, as called for in the proposed 2013 Medicare physician fee schedule. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires that Medicare implement a value-based payment modifier that would apply to Medicare fee-for-service payments beginning in 2015. CMS has proposed phasing in use of the modifier beginning in 2015 by applying the requirement only to physicians in groups of 25 or more eligible health professionals; participation by all physicians and groups would be implemented by 2017.
CMS recently announced that the application process is open for family physician and other primary care practices interested in participating in CMS' Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) Initiative set to start up this summer. According to CMS' June 6 news release, the first step for practices interested in participating is to complete an online application prescreening tool. Practices cannot move forward in the application process until they complete the screening questionnaire.
Family physicians, always on the hunt for better ways to manage the care of their patients with asthma, have an opportunity to learn more on the topic from two physician experts who will co-host a free webinar, The Patient Journey: Implementing Excellence in Asthma Care, on tap for Monday , June 17, from 1-2 p.m. CDT. Webinar co-host Len Fromer, M.D., is an assistant clinical professor of family medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and serves as the executive medical director of Group Practice Forum, an independent network of physician group experts and education professionals.
In cooperation with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the AAFP is offering family physicians a new perspective on drug abuse and addiction, as well as tools to help physicians care for patients and families who are dealing with these issues. Composed, in part, of video recorded live during the 2012 AAFP Scientific Assembly in Philadelphia, the Addiction Performance Project was designed by NIDA to help break down the stigma associated with addiction and help doctors and other health professionals better identify and help drug-abusing patients, particularly in primary care settings.
The AAFP is urging CMS to create an interim review process for a national transparency program to give physicians an opportunity to review pertinent data before drug and device manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) submit the data to CMS as part of the program's reporting requirements. The National Physician Payment Transparency Program, also known as the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, requires drug and device manufacturers and GPOs to report payments or gifts of $10 or more made to physicians, hospitals and other health care professionals on a yearly basis.
Come July 1, family physicians around the country may be on the receiving end of questions from their Medicare patients about changes in durable medical equipment suppliers brought about by an expanding CMS competitive bidding program designed to prevent fraud and save Medicare dollars. FPs can assure their patients in the 91 new areas affected by the program that Medicare will continue to cover medical equipment and supplies such as oxygen equipment, wheelchairs, scooters, hospital beds and walkers. However, beginning July 1, Medicare patients who live in -- or are visiting -- one of the targeted areas may have to locate a new supplier based on newly awarded Medicare contracts.
According to a Swedish study published recently in the
The AAFP and other health care organizations are calling on HHS to create a provision within the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) that would allow states to report the identities of individuals who are barred from buying or owning firearms because of a mental illness to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). In a June 6 letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the AAFP and five other health care organizations say a proposed rule creating an express permission provision within HIPAA would serve as a "step toward reducing gun violence" and a means of improving the NICS, the federal government's background check system for the sale or transfer of firearms by licensed dealers.
The task of automating America's health care system via physicians' use of electronic health record (EHR) technology is progressing but far from finished. That's the conclusion offered by authors of a new study in the June 4 issue of
The AAFP is rallying member support for three core issues that could determine the fate of family medicine for years to come. In a Speak Out alert posted on the Academy's grassroots page, the AAFP is calling on family physicians to contact their representatives in the House to voice support for two key pieces of legislation: H.R. 574, which would eliminate the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and provide Medicare payment increases for primary care services, and H.R. 487, which would promote primary care residency training in nonhospital settings where most primary care is practiced and delivered.
For years, sunscreen and antioxidants have been advocated to prevent skin aging, but to date, there has been no scientific evidence to back up such claims other than studies on hairless mice and one 35-patient trial of patients with a history of skin cancer that evaluated sunscreen's effect on histologic skin aging. Now, new research in the June 3 issue of
Looking for some good news on the payment front? Family physicians who see Medicare patients in rural health centers (RHCs) or federally qualified health centers (FQHCs)
On the day before graduation at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, where I am chairman of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, the school recognizes students who have performed well during an awards ceremony. The ceremony also offers an opportunity for students from both our Reno and Las Vegas campuses to recognize the faculty mentors who were important to them during their training through individual and departmental awards.
The AAFP continues to call on Congress to repeal and replace the sustainable growth rate formula with a Medicare payment system that relies on primary care and the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) to achieve higher quality, better efficiency and lower costs. In a May 30 letter to the Senate Finance Committee, AAFP Board Chair Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I., of Spokane, Wash., urged Congress to adopt a payment system that would include a new category of evaluation and management codes to reflect the intensity and complexity of primary care office visits.
Until last year, when she spent a month practicing obstetrics in a rural clinic in Uganda, New Hampshire family medicine resident Mary Moreno, M.D., of the NH Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency Program in Concord, never fully understood the breadth and scope of family medicine. By the end of a one-month rotation delivering babies, performing cesarean sections and treating a variety of afflictions not commonly seen in the United States, however, Moreno had developed a greater respect and appreciation for family medicine. And she returned to the United States with renewed motivation and confidence in her skills as a family physician. Moreno's trip to Uganda was funded, in part, by the New Hampshire Academy of Family Physicians.
According to a safety announcement from the FDA, administering magnesium sulfate injection to stop preterm labor in pregnant women -- an off-label use of the drug -- for longer than five to seven days may lead to low calcium levels and bone problems in the developing fetus, including osteopenia and fractures. The agency also noted that the shortest duration of treatment that can result in harm to an infant is not known at this time.