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January 8, 2013
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  Top Story 
  • PPACA uncertainty tops list of issues to watch for 2013
    Uncertainty about implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the top issue on the Physicians Foundation's list of issues for 2013. Ranking second on the "Physicians Watch List for 2013" was how hospital systems and medical groups are quickly buying up small physician practices, followed by the expected influx of millions of new patients due to the health care reform law. AAFP News Now (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Clinical News 
  • Influenza burden remains high among U.S. children, study shows
    Despite the expansion of influenza vaccine recommendations to include all children aged 6 months or older, fewer than 45% of children without influenza received complete vaccination, according to a study based on data from 2004 through 2009. Of children younger than age 5, young babies had the highest hospitalization rate for a single influenza season, researchers said. The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics. (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report finds continued decline of cancer deaths in U.S.
    Cancer mortality rates among men, women and children up to age 14 dropped every year from 2000 to 2009, continuing the downward trend that started in the 1990s, a report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed. New cancer diagnoses dropped in men and remained unchanged in women, but pediatric cancer diagnoses rose by 0.6% during the study period. WebMD (1/7) , HealthDay News (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study: Some youths still don't meet daily physical activity goals
    U.S. researchers looked at 1,218 6- to 11-year-olds included in the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that only 38.3% met both daily physical-activity and screen-time recommendations. More than 70% of respondents got the recommended 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily, while 53.5% had screen time of two or fewer hours per day, according to the study in JAMA Pediatrics. Education Week/Schooled in Sports blog (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Practice Management 
  • GAO: Payers track performance, pay incentives at group level
    A Government Accountability Office report that looked at the practices of nine private payers showed they measure performance and provide incentives at the physician group level rather than by individual doctors. Payments also were based on nationally endorsed performance metrics and fixed performance targets. The GAO said the CMS could benefit from using some of the protocols in its performance-based reimbursements. (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • More evidence is needed to support BP screening in children
    Studies have linked elevated blood pressure to cardiovascular problems in adults, but less is known about the long-term effects of high blood pressure in children and few studies have examined the pros and cons of screening children for high blood pressure, a review showed. Research must address the reliability of blood pressure tests in children, whether treatment is safe and effective, and whether screening reduces heart and mortality risks, researchers reported in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Reuters (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Legislation 
  • Health care spending may be poised to accelerate, report finds
    Data from a CMS report showed U.S. spending on health care grew by 3.9% in 2011, marking the third year in a row of relatively small increases in spending. However, the report suggests spending growth may pick up in the coming years as the economy rebounds. The report appears in the journal Health Affairs. Reuters (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • IOM plans to probe rising concussion cases among young athletes
    The Institute of Medicine announced on Monday its intention to investigate the increasing number of young athletes suffering from sports-related concussions. The report will involve military officials and their dependents and is expected to be published later this year. Reuters (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Professional Issues & Trends 
  Inside the AAFP 
  • Campaign calls on patients and their doctors to choose wisely
    The Choosing Wisely campaign was created as an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation to improve health care quality. Nine leading physician specialty societies, including the AAFP, have identified tests or procedures commonly used within their specialty areas that are possibly overused. As part of the new campaign, the AAFP has endorsed a list of five tests and procedures that are frequently ordered, but are at times unnecessary or even harmful. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Help FamMedPAC take family medicine's message to Washington
    The elections are over, and a last-minute budget deal between Congress and the White House temporarily prevented a 26.5% reduction in the Medicare physician payment rate. But there's more work to be done to prevent additional cuts to Medicare payments and to funding for Title VII health professions grants and other primary care programs. Your donations to FamMedPAC, the Academy's federal political action committee, can turn the tide in family medicine's favor. FamMedPAC Board Chair Randy Wexler, M.D., M.P.H., explains how in this AAFP News Now guest editorial. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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It is wise to keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final."
--Roger Babson,
American entrepreneur and business theorist

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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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