News in Brief: Week of Sept. 23-27

September 25, 2013 06:45 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

AAFP, USPSTF Finalize Breast Cancer Chemoprevention Recommendations

The AAFP and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force( (USPSTF) have issued final recommendations on the use of medications to help reduce breast cancer risk in women at increased risk for the disease. Specifically, the groups recommend that "clinicians engage in shared, informed decision making with women who are at increased risk for breast cancer about medications to reduce their risk."

[News in Brief]

As noted in previous AAFP News Now coverage, key risk factors for breast cancer include increasing age, family history of breast cancer, previous breast biopsy and other factors. Uncovering such risk factors may prompt clinicians to conduct a formal breast cancer risk assessment. Women who are found to have an increased breast cancer risk and who are at low risk for adverse effects should be offered risk-reducing medications, such as tamoxifen or raloxifene.

In addition, for women not at risk for the disease, both the AAFP and the USPSTF recommend against the use of such medications to prevent primary breast cancer.

TransforMED Videos Highlight Family Medicine Clinics' PCMH Successes

Physicians who need a little inspiration to either begin or continue their patient-centered medical home journey might take a few moments to learn how their colleagues around the county are successfully working to transform their practices.

Visit TransformMED's website to watch three short videos collected under the banner "Stories of Change: PCMH Transformation in Practice(" Featured family medicine clinics are Adena Family and Internal Medicine in Waverly, Ohio; Adena Jackson Family Practice and Pediatrics in Oak Hill, Ohio; and Goppert-Trinity Family Care in Kansas City, Mo.

Prepare to Meet January Deadline for Electronic Operating Rules

On Jan. 1 family physicians and all other entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) must be in compliance with electronic funds transfer (EFT) and electronic remittance advice (ERA) operating rules established by the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare's (CAQH) Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange (CORE).

Implementation of the EFT and ERA operating rules are required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

To ensure that physicians are prepared to meet their deadline obligations, CAQH and CORE already have begun to roll out a series of online resources( Physicians should check the CAQH website regularly throughout the fall to read updated fact sheets about the rules, access helpful tools, and sign up for educational sessions and webinars that will assist in compliance preparations.

Help Patients Understand Electronic Sharing of Health Information

HHS recently launched an online resource dubbed "meaningful consent(" to help family physicians and other health care professionals engage, educate and support patients in making meaningful decisions about how they want their electronic health information shared.

According to a Sept. 17 press release(, materials on the site also address laws, policies and issues related to the electronic exchange of health information.

The site offers users a variety of components, including videos and tools already tested via an e-consent pilot project completed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT in March.

FDA Extends Public Comment Period for Menthol Cigarette Proposal

The public now has until Nov. 22 to comment on a proposed rule that would give the FDA the authority to regulate menthol cigarettes.

The agency issued the proposed rule( on July 24 and initially gave the public until Sept. 23 to submit comments. But in a recent Federal Register notice(, the agency announced it was extending the deadline until Nov. 22 after concluding that "a 60-day extension allows adequate time for interested persons to submit comments without significantly delaying any potential regulatory action on these important issues."

In an Aug. 7 comment letter to the FDA, the AAFP urged the agency to ban the use of menthol in cigarettes and other tobacco products. In that letter, the AAFP described menthol as a flavoring agent that encourages tobacco use.