News in Brief: Week of April 14-18

April 16, 2014 01:44 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

FDA Lowers Age Indication for Adacel Tdap Vaccine

On March 24, the FDA lowered the minimum age indication(www.fda.gov) for Sanofi Pasteur's tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap ) vaccine Adacel from 11 years to 10 years. Both Adacel and GlaxoSmithKline's Tdap product, Boostrix, now share the same age indication, which may be helpful for health care professionals if Tdap vaccination is required for middle school enrollment.

Although the 2014 recommended immunization schedule for children and adolescents(5 page PDF) still calls for a single dose of Tdap at age 11-12 years in those who completed the full DTaP vaccine series, people age 7 years or older who were not fully immunized with DTaP "should receive Tdap vaccine as one (preferably the first) dose in the catch-up series."

"For children 7 through 10 years who receive a dose of Tdap as part of the catch-up series, an adolescent Tdap vaccine dose at age 11 through 12 years should not be administered."

CMS Directs RACs to Wind Down Current Operations

According to a March 27 entry in Family Practice Management's "Getting Paid Blog," CMS intends to wind down some ongoing operations being conducted by CMS' Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs).

In the posting, Kent Moore, the AAFP's senior strategist for physician payment, noted that RACs were directed to stop sending pre- and postpayment "additional documentation requests" by the beginning of March and review the ones they were already holding. In addition, Moore wrote, "RACs have until June 1, 2014, to send improper payment files to Medicare administrative contractors for adjustment."

CMS pulled back RAC operations to ensure that contractors would be able to complete their work before currently held contracts expire.

Ebola Virus Disease FAQs Available to Health Care Professionals

In light of the current outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in Guinea and Liberia, HHS' Division of Health Systems Policy and the Emergency Care Coordination Center, through its Hospital Preparedness Program, have released a frequently asked questions(217 KB PDF) (FAQs) resource about the disease and the current outbreak.

Although Ebola outbreaks in some African nations are not uncommon, the cases currently reported are occurring in the capital and populated regions of these two countries, raising the risk of transmission to other areas of the world. More information about the current outbreak(www.cdc.gov) can be found on the CDC website.

Family Physicians Invited to Participate in Digital Discussion Group

On April 28-29, the Commission for Office Laboratory Accreditation (COLA), an organization recognized as the largest private accreditor of medical laboratories, will hold its 2014 Leadership Summit(www.cola.org) in San Francisco.

Although attendance at the event is by invitation only -- and several family physicians are on that invitation list -- all interested physicians are invited to participate via online discussion groups(www.calabsummit.org), where they can offer their knowledge, experience and insights on a variety of topics. COLA leaders assure online participants that their efforts will make a difference as discussion group comments will be shared at the summit.


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