Am Fam Physician. 2000 Jun 1;61(11):3223-3224.
AAFP Selects Douglas Henley, M.D., for EVP Post
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has announced that Douglas Henley, M.D., has accepted the position of executive vice president (EVP) at the AAFP headquarters in Leawood, Kan. The announcement came at the academy's Annual Leadership Forum on April 29 in Kansas City, Mo. “Dr. Henley is an incredibly bright physician—energetic, enthusiastic and highly skilled in all aspects of organized medicine,” Board Chair Lanny Copeland, M.D., told an audience of family practice leaders, chapter executives and AAFP staff. “He has a passion for family practice and a profound commitment to address the challenges that the specialty and the health care system face. The academy is fortunate to have such a strong and thoughtful new leader.” Henley, who served as AAFP president in 1995, will be the first practicing family physician to serve in the position of EVP. Henley is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill. He has been in private practice in his hometown of Hope Mills, N.C., since 1980. He will step into the position vacated by Robert Graham, M.D., who announced his decision to leave the AAFP in July 1999.
Health Insurance Premiums Are on the Rise Again
A report issued May 5 by the Washington-based National Coalition on Health Care states that health insurance premiums now are rising at four times the rate of inflation. Moreover, these rates of increase are expected to continue over the next three years and will result in more people joining the ranks of the uninsured. Premium increases of 9 to 12 percent are expected in 2000, with small employers experiencing increases of 15 to 20 percent. The report estimates that if a 12 percent increase in premiums occurs in 2000, up to 750,000 persons could lose their health insurance. The increases are attributed to many factors—new medical technology, overuse and misuse of medical services, oversupply of health care facilities, aging of the population, cost shifting, pressure on health plans to raise premiums for profitability, pharmaceutical costs and utilization, and consumer demands for easier and broader access to care. Titled “Déjà vu All Over Again: The Soaring Cost of Private Health Insurance and Its Impact on Consumers and Employers,” the report is available from the coalition through its Web site at http://www.nchc.org or by calling 202-638-7151.
NIDA Launches Campaign Against Steroid Abuse by Teenagers
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has announced a public education campaign designed to alert people of the dangers of anabolic steroid use. The announcement was made after recent surveys showed that steroid use by eighth- and 10th-graders was on the rise. NIDA plans to use a variety of media to reach young people. The organization will launch a Web site (http://www.steroidabuse.org) and will distribute special bulletins on anabolic steroids and how to prevent the use of these drugs. NIDA is teaming up with several partners in its efforts, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association, American College of Sports Medicine, American Academy of Pediatrics and National Federation of High Schools, among others. NIDA did point to recent initiatives that have been successful in preventing steroid use. One program, called Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS), used a team-centered and gender-specific approach that addressed key risk factors associated with anabolic steroid use. The program also provided sports nutrition and strength training alternatives.
CDC Expands Recommendations for Influenza Shots
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now urging persons 50 years and older to receive an annual influenza vaccination. The CDC previously had recommended the vaccine for persons older than 65 years. Approximately 41 million Americans are aged 50 to 64 years. The CDC found that almost one third of persons in this age group had chronic medical conditions that put them at high risk for influenza, but only 40 percent received the annual vaccine. About 20,000 persons die of influenza each year in the United States. In addition to persons 50 and older, the CDC recommends the influenza vaccine for other high-risk groups: women in the second or third trimester of pregnancy; nursing home residents; persons with chronic metabolic diseases (including diabetes); persons with pulmonary or cardiovascular disorders (including asthma); and children who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and are therefore at increased risk of developing Reye's syndrome. The best time to administer influenza vaccine in high-risk groups is from early October to mid-November.
Physicians Urged to Report Toys and Products That Injure Children
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is asking physicians and other health professionals to report to the CPSC when they see a death or serious injury that may have been caused by a consumer product. This will help the CPSC to find products, including toys, in the marketplace that have the potential to cause death or serious injury, especially to children. There are two ways for reports to be made to the CPSC. Physicians may call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-638-2772, ext. 300, or visit the CPSC Web site at http://www.cpsc.gov and click on “Report Unsafe Products” to fill out an incident report.
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