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January 21, 2013
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  Top Story 
  • CDC reports "worse-than-average" flu season
    CDC officials reported Friday that 48 states are now experiencing widespread flu activity, and public health officials have documented 29 pediatric deaths as well as sharp increases in hospitalization among seniors. Rates of infection are dropping in some parts of the country, but levels are rising in the West, where the season began later. "We are in the middle of flu season, about halfway through, and it's shaping up to be a worse-than-average season and a bad season, particularly, for the elderly," said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. HealthDay News (1/18) , CNN (1/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Clinical News 
  • Study: Measuring emphysema severity may predict mortality
    Using computed tomography to measure the severity of emphysema can help predict mortality in patients who smoke or who used to smoke, regardless of whether they have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, researchers reported in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The study also found the thickness of the airway wall was linked to respiratory mortality in patients with severe emphysema. Medscape (free registration) (1/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Pediatric cases of equine encephalitis on the rise in U.S.
    U.S. researchers reviewed two outbreaks of mosquito-borne Eastern equine encephalitis that occurred since the mid-2000s, and found 15 pediatric cases in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. CDC officials receive an average of about five to 10 cases per year nationwide, but Massachusetts recorded the highest incidence rate since 1956 with seven cases last year alone. The findings appear in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. HealthDay News (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Practice Management 
  • NCQA offers certification for PCMH consultants
    The National Committee for Quality Assurance has made available the Patient-Centered Medical Homes Content Expert Certification to give "advocates and coaches a way to stand out from their peers by demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of the NCQA PCMH model," and provide practices with "a way to gauge the qualifications of the growing numbers of consultants," a news release stated. Modern Healthcare (free registration) (1/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • MU penalties to fuel growth in e-Rx use this year, study finds
    The rate of e-prescribing use among doctors rose to 65% last year from 6% in 2007 and is poised for significant growth in 2013 as meaningful use penalties kick in, according to a Black Book Market Research study that ranks this year's top 10 e-prescribing tools for attaining MU. Issues tied to funding, connectivity and state regulations, however, were cited as barriers. InformationWeek (1/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Legislation 
  • HHS grants $1.5 billion for insurance exchanges
    HHS said 11 states will receive exchange establishment grants from the federal government totaling $1.5 billion. California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon have all been given multi-year Level Two grants, an indication officials believe those states have made significant progress. One-year Level One grants have been granted to Delaware, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina and Vermont. Level One funds are designed for early work on exchanges. National Underwriter Life & Health (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Professional Issues & Trends 
  • UnitedHealth, Mayo partner in new research initiative
    UnitedHealth Group and Mayo Clinic are partners in a research initiative called Optum Labs that will analyze data from millions of health insurance claims and medical records for insights on best outcomes in health care. Initial projects include improving how hepatitis C is diagnosed and studying the cost-effectiveness of certain medical devices. Data will be shared with other health care organizations. The Wall Street Journal (1/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Inside the AAFP 
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    • Track all your CME in one centralized location.
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    Get started today. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  SmartQuote 
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."
--Abraham Lincoln,
16th U.S. president


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About AAFP
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 http://aafp.org.

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