AAFP Selects New Officers and Board Members for Upcoming Year
The Congress of Delegates of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) selected new officers and board members at the 2004 AAFP Scientific Assembly in Orlando, Fla. Larry Fields, M.D., Ashland, Ky., was chosen as the AAFP’s president-elect. Three new directors were selected: Judith Chamberlain, M.D., Brunswick, Me.; Ted Epperly, M.D., Boise, Ida.; and Virgilio Licona, M.D., Fort Lupton, Colo. The new resident board member is Michael King, M.D., Lexington, Ky. The new student board member is Gretchen Dickson, Pittsburgh, Pa. Thomas Weida, M.D., Hershey, Pa., is speaker of the congress, and Leah Raye Mabry, M.D., R.Ph., San Antonio, Tex., is vice speaker.
The delegates also selected three finalists as candidates for the AAFP position on the board of directors of the American Board of Family Practice (ABFP): Craig Czarsty, M.D., Oakville, Conn.; Barbara Hughes Kostick, M.D., Fremont, Calif.; and Alain Montegut, M.D., Brunswick, Me. The ABFP board will elect one of the three candidates in spring 2005 to serve on the board for five years.
Also at the Assembly, Mary E. Frank, M.D., Mill Valley, Calif., was installed as president of AAFP for the upcoming year, and outgoing president, Michael O. Fleming, M.D., Shreveport, La., became board chair.
AAFP Chooses 2005 Family Physician of the Year
The AAFP Congress of Delegates named Richard Paris, M.D, a practicing family physician from Hailey, Ida., the 2005 AAFP Family Physician of the Year. Dr. Paris is chief of the medical staff for Blaine County Hospital and has been caring for patients in his community for almost 25 years. In addition to his patients in Hailey, Dr. Paris provides care to residents in Challis, a mountain outpost 130 miles from Hailey, serving as medical director of their rural health clinic since 1999. He teaches two courses through the University of Washington School of Medicine for medical students advancing into their second year of training and a rural program for third-year students. Dr. Paris received his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, N.Y., and completed a family practice residency at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Physicians in Shortage Areas Will Get Bonus Fee Payment in 2005
Beginning in January 2005, physicians practicing in primary care physician scarcity areas will be eligible for a 5 percent bonus fee payment from Medicare. Those working in fully designated primary care health professional shortage areas will no longer need to add the QU or QB modifier to receive their 10 percent bonus payment. Eligible physicians delivering covered services in areas with both of these designations will receive a bonus of 15 percent. In the physician scarcity areas, family physicians, general practitioners, internists, and obstetrician-gynecologists are eligible for the bonuses. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has published a resource that lists the shortage areas and provides information on eligibility qualifications. For an explanation of the changes and a spreadsheet of the designated areas listed by ZIP code, go to http://www.cms.hhs.gov/providers/bonuspayment/.
AAFP Congress of Delegates Votes to Establish a Federal PAC
During the annual scientific assembly, the Congress of Delegates voted to establish a federal political action committee (PAC), which will become operational in June 2005. All funds donated to the PAC by members will be used for contributions and other activities related to the support of political candidates, as determined by the PAC board. None of these funds will be spent on political advertising. The PAC board will be appointed by the AAFP Board, will include at least three AAFP directors, and will report to the Board of Directors annually. The Board will assess the PAC and its activities every three years, and any change in the PAC bylaws will require the Board’s approval. For more information, go to https://www.aafp.org/ fpr/assembly2004/1014/1.html.
Robert Graham Center Releases An Article on International Research Dynamics
The Robert Graham Center: Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, located in Washington, D.C., has issued a new article on international research collaborations. The article, “Opportunities, Challenges, and Lessons of International Research in Practice-Based Research Networks: The Case of an International Study of Acute Otitis Media,” appears in the September/October issue of Annals of Family Medicine. Researchers from the United Kingdom, Netherlands, and North America investigating acute otitis media discuss the challenges and opportunities inherent in international research. The article is available online at http://www.annfammed.org/cgi/content/full/2/5/429. An accompanying editorial is available at http://www.annfammed.org/cgi/content/full/2/5/386.
HHS Awards $49 Million in Grants for Creating New Health Centers
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded 76 new health center grants totaling $49 million. The centers will help approximately 488,000 patients receive comprehensive primary health care services. Health centers provide preventive and primary care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. About 40 percent of the patients treated at health centers have no insurance coverage, and others have inadequate coverage. Fees for health services are determined according to income. Awards will be made to grantees in December contingent on the availability of fiscal year 2005 funds. The list of grantees is available online at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2004pres/20041014a.html.