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November 13, 2012
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  Top Story 
  • Graduate medical education accreditation system may be unified
    The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education is working with the American Osteopathic Association and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine to bring all graduate medical education program accreditations under one process. "We just don't know how this will play out, but the AAFP is encouraged that the two accrediting organizations -- the ACGME and the AOA -- have agreed to work together toward a solution that should benefit family medicine residencies," said AAFP medical education division assistant director Wendy Biggs, M.D. AAFP News Now (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Clinical News 
  • Study links depression and higher mortality rates for RA patients
    Mortality rates and depression are linked for patients, especially men, with rheumatoid arthritis, a study from the University of Twente in Enschede, Netherlands, found. "Patients need to be made aware that depression is something to pay attention to in RA, and they need to tell their physician about it," a study co-author said in a statement. (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study refutes link between headaches, vision problems in youths
    Researchers reviewing the medical records of almost 160 children younger than 18 with recurrent headaches found no significant association between headaches and vision problems. Nonetheless, the researchers said a vision test should be part of every pediatric well-child visit because some vision problems cannot be corrected after children reach a certain age. The study was presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting. CNN/The Chart blog (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Hip replacement patients at greater risk of stroke
    Adults who underwent a total hip replacement had a higher risk of suffering an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke two weeks after the procedure than those who didn't get the surgery, a Dutch study found. Researchers noted that antiplatelet therapy following discharge was associated with lower odds of ischemic stroke in the six weeks after the procedure. The findings were published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. MedPage Today(free registration) (11/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Practice Management 
  • Hardship exemption deadline extended by CMS
    The CMS has extended its deadline for filing hardship exemptions to avoid Medicare payment penalties next year. CMS groups and qualified professionals can claim the exemption on the CMS website until Jan. 31, 2013. Physicians who did not meet e-prescribing requirements could lose 1.5% of their Medicare payment rates next year without the exemption. Modern Medicine/Medical Economics (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Legislation 
  • CMS issues $8.36B in EHR incentives through October
    The CMS has paid $8.36 billion in EHR incentives to 165,800 doctors and hospitals through October. Medicare payments to eligible providers and hospitals during October amounted to $435 million, while Medicaid incentives paid to professionals and hospitals for using and upgrading EHRs totaled $210 million. Healthcare IT News (11/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Federal agency proposes "frontier" area definition
    The Health Resources and Services Administration has proposed an improved voluntary methodology to designate rural areas with high geographic remoteness and low population as "frontier" territories for federal health programs. The agency will accept comments on the measure until Jan. 4. AHA News Now (11/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Professional Issues & Trends 
  • Study: Retail clinics could damage primary care continuity
    Patients who get treatment at a retail clinic are less likely to follow up with their primary provider, a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found. However, researchers say that may not result in the fragmentation of primary care. "Others might argue that continuity and first-contact care are less important than preventive care, especially for a health patient population. In this light, retail clinics' impact on primary care may not be as great as feared," the researchers wrote. (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Inside the AAFP 
  • AAFP creates Medicare bonus/penalty box for members
    Several new Medicare initiatives have proven particularly challenging for physicians because of their complexity. In response, the Academy has created a summary chart of the pros and cons of these initiatives. The Medicare Initiatives and You: Bonuses and Penalties chart provides explanations about possible bonus monies that can be earned and financial penalties that will be assessed in association with meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs) and, specifically, the Medicare EHR Incentive Program; the Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program; the Physician Quality Reporting System; and the Value-Based Payment Modifier Program. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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For the happiest life, rigorously plan your days, leave your nights open to chance."
--Mignon McLaughlin,
American author and journalist

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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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