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News in Brief: Week of Oct. 8-12
By News Staff
Free Vitamin B-12 Patient Education Brochure
The free brochure is specific to family medicine and comes in a 25-count package. Academy members are encouraged to use it in teachable moments in the exam room, distribute it as take-home material, or place it as a handout in the waiting room.
Degree of Fellow Applications Open
Fellows of the AAFP are champions for family medicine, says the AAFP. Being a Fellow signifies not only "tenure" but additional work in the community, within organized medicine, and within teaching, as well as a greater commitment to continuing professional development and research.
Any active, life or inactive member -- with dues and reelections in good standing -- may, upon application to the AAFP, be elected to receive the degree of Fellow. Applicants need to fulfill the following requirements:
- must have held active membership for six years or held a combination of resident and active membership for a total of six years;
- accrue a grand total of 100 points as defined by the application and cite experiences and activities in life-long learning, practice quality and improvement, volunteer teaching, public service, publishing and research, and service to the specialty; and
- submit a one-time fee of $175.
CMS Offers Resources to Assist Physicians With ICD-10 Transition
In addition, physicians can stay tuned in to the latest information by signing up to receive e-mail updates and by subscribing to CMS' "latest news" page watch.
HHS announced the final rule (58-page PDF; About PDFs) on ICD-10 late in August and set Oct. 1, 2014, as the date by which the health care industry must be in compliance with the ICD-10-CM code set.
Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Caps on Noneconomic Damages
Kansas enacted the tort reform law in 1988, and in its ruling, the state Supreme Court said the state's decision to put the cap in place was related to a valid legislative purpose -- to ensure the availability of quality health care and to promote affordable, available malpractice insurance for physicians and other health care providers. Therefore, the law does not violate the state's constitutional protections, the court ruled.
In a brief summary of the decision, the state's medical society said the ruling "turned on the fact that physicians, hospitals and other health care providers are required by law to carry liability insurance and participate in the Health Care Stabilization Fund." The combination of these two measures "provides a guaranteed source of recovery for patients injured through a provider's negligence," according to the medical society. This, in turn, creates a "quid pro quo wherein individuals give up the right to recover unlimited pain and suffering damages in return for an assured source of recovery."
Study Documents Decline in Physician and Medical Provider Visits
Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 made an average of 3.9 visits to physicians, nurses and other medical professionals in 2010, a decrease from 4.8 visits in 2001, says the study, which is based on a periodic report (16-page PDF; About PDFs) that examines the relationship between the use of medical services, health status, health insurance coverage, and other demographic and economic characteristics.
"The decline in the use of medical services was widespread, taking place regardless of health status," said Brett O'Hara, chief of the Census Bureau's Health and Disability Statistics Branch.
The average number of annual visits dropped from 12.9 to 11.6 from 2001 to 2010 among working age adults who reported that their health was either poor or fair. At the same time, the number of visits declined from 5.3 to 4.2 visits for those reporting good health and from 3.2 to 2.5 for those who said their health was excellent or very good, the survey showed.
The number of visits to physicians and other medical providers became more frequent with age; 37 percent of young adults aged 18-24 did not visit a medical provider in a given year compared to 8 percent of those 65 and older. Hispanics, meanwhile, were the least likely racial or ethnic group to visit a physician or medical provider; 42 percent did not visit one during a given year, the report said.
The report also found that among uninsured adults who visited a physician or other medical provider during the year, 13 percent visited an emergency room and 10 percent visited a hospital but not an emergency room.
News in Brief: Week of Oct. 8-12