News in Brief: Week of Oct. 13-17

October 13, 2014 03:03 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

AAFP Signs On to Letter Urging Immunization of Pregnant Women

The AAFP has signed on to a joint letter spearheaded by HHS and the CDC that encourages clinicians to immunize pregnant women against seasonal influenza at any time in their pregnancy, as well as against pertussis if they are between 27 and 36 weeks' gestation.

The letter explained that studies have confirmed that a physician's recommendation and offer of vaccines are crucial to boosting coverage. One study referenced showed that patients who were offered influenza vaccination during an office visit were seven times more likely to be vaccinated than patients who said their physician did not recommend or offer vaccination.

Thirteen other organizations joined the AAFP in backing this message, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Pharmacists Association, the American Nurses Association, and the National Medical Association. The Academy was involved in the discussions leading up to the letter's crafting and has participated in similar campaigns for the past several years.

Register Now for ICD-10 Training Call

CMS recently announced an upcoming national provider call aimed at helping to prepare physicians, their practice staff members and all other entities that will be touched by the nation's impending transition to the ICD-10 code sets for outpatient diagnostic coding.

The call is scheduled for Nov. 5 from 1:30-3:00 p.m. EST. Registration( is now open, but space may be limited, so register early.

During the call, CMS subject matter experts will discuss, among other things, ICD-10 implementation issues, opportunities for testing and resources available to help those working on the transition. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

The implementation deadline for ICD-10 is Oct. 1, 2015.

Join APHA Webinar on Reducing Tobacco Use

Representatives from the American Public Health Association (APHA) and CVS Health, along with keynoter Acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak M.D., M.P.H., and additional panelists discussed new approaches to helping Americans live tobacco-free lives in a free webinar( broadcast Sept. 23 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT. The event has been archived on the APHA website.

The webcast explores how traditional and nontraditional partners can come together to reduce tobacco use and ultimately improve population health and reduce costs to the health care system.

Apply Now for Commonwealth Fund Fellowship Program

The Mongan Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy( is accepting applications for the 2015-16 class.

The fellowship program supports training for physician leaders passionate about developing health systems for at-risk populations such as racial and ethnic minorities, as well as economically disadvantaged groups. Successful applicants will enter a one-year academic program that leads to either a master's degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston or a master's degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass.

Applications( are due by Dec. 15.

Group Offers Behavioral Health Integration Materials

The Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative has created two customizable presentation slide decks( that explain the value of integrating behavioral health into primary care and the patient-centered medical home (PCMH).

The slides are designed for presentations to different audiences, such as organizations considering PCMH transformation and practices searching for ways to improve their integration models. The presentations are titled "Why Behavioral Health Integration Is Critical to the PCMH" and "Where & How Behavioral Health Can Be Integrated Into the PCMH."

Survey Shows Latinos Benefiting From Affordable Care Act

According to a new survey from the Commonwealth Fund, a significant number of young and low-income Latinos have gained health insurance coverage as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In a Sept. 25 issue brief,( researchers probe results from the Commonwealth Fund Affordable Care Act Tracking Survey that was conducted from April 9 to June 2. They noted that for decades, Latinos have had the highest uninsured rates of any group in the United States.

The overall Latino uninsured rate dropped from 36 percent to 23 percent; however, the uninsured rates in states that had not expanded their Medicaid programs, including Texas and Florida, remained statistically unchanged. Researchers estimated that about 20 million Latinos live in states that declined Medicaid expansion.