News in Brief: Week of Dec. 8-12

December 08, 2014 12:39 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

Study Finds Mixed Results on Prophylactic Low-dose Aspirin Use in Healthy Women

A study published online Dec. 4( in the journal Heart concluded that although long-term use of low-dose aspirin in healthy women has previously shown modest benefits in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease and even other cancers, the harm if gastrointestinal bleeding occurs likely outweighs this slight benefit.

Age was the most important determinant of relative benefit of aspirin treatment. Treating selected women age 65 or older yielded the highest net benefit with regard to the combined outcomes compared to treating all or no women or prediction-based treatment.

Register Today for Free ICD-10 Webinar

Physicians who need more information about the transition to the ICD-10 code sets for outpatient diagnostic coding can participate in a free webinar( on Dec. 10 from noon to 1:30 p.m.

CMS will present the webinar in collaboration with the American Health Information Management Association to help ensure that physicians are ready for the Oct. 1, 2015, ICD-10 compliance date.

Webinar attendees will learn why detailed clinical documentation is important for the transition and what steps to take to ensure clinic staff members are properly trained in the new system. A portion of the webinar will be dedicated to questions.

Register today( because space is limited for this event. Registrants will receive a follow-up email with instructions on how to access the webinar. Looking for a previous webinar? Past events may be accessed from the eHealth events page( on the CMS website.

Medicare Home Health Benefit Changes Coming on Jan. 1

Family physicians who certify patients for the Medicare home health benefit need a working knowledge of the new patient certification requirements established by a final rule( published in the Nov. 6 Federal Register. To help fill that learning gap, CMS will host a free national provider call on Dec. 16 from 1:30-3 p.m. EST.

According to a CMS announcement( about the call, subject matter experts will discuss the changes that will affect this Medicare benefit beginning on Jan. 1. After giving an overview of the benefit, these experts will cover such issues as patient eligibility, certification requirements -- including the face-to-face encounter -- and recertification requirements.

Online registration( now is open; CMS suggests that registrants review( a frequently-asked-questions document before the call. For more information on the home health benefit, visit the agency's Home Health Agency Center Web page(

AAFP Supports Action for Dental Health Initiative

The Academy has announced its support of the American Dental Association's Action for Dental Health initiative(, which aims to prevent dental disease before it starts and reduce the proportion of adults and children with untreated dental disease. The goal of the program is to help all Americans attain the best oral health possible.

Action for Dental Health's three-pronged action plan seeks to

  • provide care to people who are suffering from untreated disease,
  • strengthen and expand the public/private safety net, and
  • focus on disease prevention and dental health education.

The program is composed of eight initiatives( designed to address specific barriers to care.

The AAFP also is promoting oral health during December on its website.

CMS Offers Small-business Health Insurance Webinars

CMS is offering a webinar series( for small-business employers, agents, brokers and other interested stakeholders about important changes in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). The presentations will focus on the federally run SHOP Marketplace and subject matter experts will be on hand to take questions following the presentation.

The webinars will be offered from 2-3 p.m. every Tuesday from Dec. 2 through Feb. 24 (except Dec. 23 and 30). For more information, including a slide presentation on the SHOP Marketplace available in either English or Spanish, check the SHOP resources page(