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January 7, 2013
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  Top Story 
  • SGR repeal, payment reform among AAFP top priorities in 2012
    The AAFP made eliminating the sustainable growth rate formula a legislative priority in 2012, along with payment reform that recognizes the importance of primary care physicians, such as that proposed in the Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act. The Academy lobbied Congress to protect graduate medical education funding and filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a lawsuit to overturn Florida's law banning physicians from asking patients about guns in their homes and noting it on a medical chart. AAFP News Now (1/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Clinical News 
  • Flu activity on the rise, CDC reports
    The CDC issued an update noting an early and serious flu season, with the number of people seeking care for influenza-like conditions increasing from 2.8% to 5.6% in a four-week period. "Antiviral treatment, started as early as possible after becoming ill, is recommended for any patients with confirmed or suspected influenza who are hospitalized, seriously ill, or ill and at high risk of serious influenza-related complications, including young children, people 65 and older, people with certain underlying medical conditions, and pregnant women," the agency said. News (1/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Many people don't know all risks of obesity, survey shows
    More than 70% of people surveyed correctly identified heart disease and diabetes as two serious consequences of obesity, but only about 15% mentioned arthritis and 7% said cancer, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey showed that about 25% of people said it is possible to be healthy while very overweight, and 52% said they had talked with a physician about the health risks of being overweight. (Tampa, Fla.)/The Associated Press (1/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Practice Management 
  • AAFP joins letter asking for stop to ICD-10 implementation
    The AAFP joined the American Medical Association and 38 other national physician groups in signing a letter to CMS asking that the implementation of the ICD-10-CM code sets for outpatient diagnosis coding be stopped. The letter said physicians already face excessive cost and training burdens and implementing the system could adversely affect their ability to participate in new care delivery and payment reform models. AAFP News Now (1/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Legislation 
  • CMS postpones HIPAA operating rules deadline
    Enforcement of HIPAA operating rules for transactions has been moved to April, according to a CMS Office of E-Health Standards and Services statement. "Industry feedback suggests that HIPAA-covered entities have not reached a threshold whereby a majority of covered entities would be able to be in compliance with operating rules by Jan. 1, 2013," according to the agency. (1/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Legislator introduces bill to improve federal support for telemedicine
    Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., has introduced the Telehealth Promotion Act of 2012 that would boost federal financial support for telemedicine services. The bill, which has received support from the American Telemedicine Association, would improve current Medicare and Medicaid initiatives by launching new programs using telehealth to augment care. Healthcare IT News (1/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Professional Issues & Trends 
  • Educational debt may push pediatric residents toward primary care
    Graduating pediatric residents with at least $51,000 of educational debt were about 50% more likely to pursue primary care or hospitalist practice, rather than pursuing medical subspecialties, than residents with less or no debt, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics. Nearly three-quarters of respondents in the study had educational debt, and the average debt grew 34% between 2006 and 2010. Reuters (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Inside the AAFP 
  • Rural FPs don't have to go it alone
    For the nearly 1 in 5 AAFP members practicing in rural settings, it's easy to feel isolated when you're the only physician -- or one of the few -- in town. In fact, it can sometimes seem as though small-town docs don't have a voice in what the Academy is doing on behalf of its members. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jen Brull, M.D., convener of the AAFP Working Group on Rural Health, explains how the working group can carry rural members' concerns straight to the heart of the Academy in this AAFP News Now guest editorial. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master. The covetous man cannot so properly be said to possess wealth, as that may be said to possess him."
--Francis Bacon,
British author and statesman

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This news roundup is provided as a timely update to AAFP members and other health care professionals about family medicine topics in the news media. Links to articles are provided for the convenience of family physicians who may find them of use in discussions with patients or colleagues. Opinions expressed in AAFP SmartBrief are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the American Academy of Family Physicians. On occasion, media articles may include or imply incorrect information about the AAFP and its policies, positions or relationships. For clarification on AAFP positions and policies, we refer you to

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