April 23, 2021
Family Medicine SmartBrief
Top Story
HHS has proposed a rule that would roll back many changes made in 2019 to the Title X program, which includes family planning and other health services for low-income women, and the AAFP is urging for it to be finalized. The AAFP advocated against the changes in 2019, arguing that they would interfere with the physician-patient relationship, and called for legislative action after the rule was finalized.
Full Story: AAFP News (4/22) 
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Clinical News
Racial and ethnic health disparities linked to the COVID-19 pandemic are found in testing, infection rates, hospitalization and death rates, and vaccinations, according to an issue brief from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. "This report is yet another reason why our role as family physicians is so crucial," said Santina Wheat, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.
Full Story: AAFP News (4/22) 
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A final recommendation from the US Preventive Services Task Force said there was insufficient evidence to assess the benefits and harms of screening asymptomatic adults for vitamin D deficiency. The recommendation is consistent with a 2014 recommendation from the task force, and the AAFP's Commission on Health of the Public and Science will review the evidence to determine the Academy's position.
Full Story: AAFP News (4/22) 
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A study in The Journal of Pediatrics found that 124 of 4,401 children with Down syndrome were diagnosed with leukemia, compared with 1,941 of over 3.9 million children without Down syndrome. The findings also showed that the cumulative incidence of acute myeloid leukemia was 1,405 per 100,000 at age 4 and unchanged at age 14 among those with Down syndrome, while the cumulative incidence of acute lymphoid leukemia in children with Down syndrome was 1,059 per 100,000 at age 4 and 1,714 per 100,000 at age 14.
Full Story: Physician's Briefing/HealthDay News (4/20) 
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Patients who survived COVID-19 and did not require hospitalization 30 days after their diagnosis had a 59% higher risk of death over the next six months than those who were not infected with the virus, according to a study in Nature. The study, based on data from Department of Veterans Affairs patients, found the risk of death after 30 days of illness was 51% greater for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 than patients who were hospitalized with seasonal flu.
Full Story: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (4/23),  Forbes (tiered subscription model) (4/22) 
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Practice Management
The AAFP has released a free resource for members on continuous glucose monitoring. "AAFP TIPS: Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM): Enhancing Diabetes Care, Workflows, Education, and Payment" examines the technology and how family medicine practices can incorporate it in patient care.
Full Story: AAFP News (4/22) 
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Data from 657 clinicians in 48 states showed 38% said their practice was providing COVID-19 vaccinations but only 19% had received enough vaccine for their patients, according to a survey by the Primary Care Collaborative, Larry A. Green Center and 3rd Conversation. CDC data shows about 40% of people in the US have received at least one vaccine dose, and Steven Stack, M.D., commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, told a vaccine briefing that primary care and other small practice settings are the best way to reach many of the rest of those who need to be vaccinated.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (4/22),  Medscape (free registration) (4/22) 
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Health Policy & Legislation
HHS' Office of Inspector General has reminded health care facilities participating in the CDC's COVID-19 vaccination program that they should administer any vaccine free of charge to recipients amid reports that some patients are being charged for the vaccines. "Providers that charge impermissible fees must refund them and ensure that individuals are not charged fees for the COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine administration in the future," OIG wrote.
Full Story: Healthcare Finance (4/22) 
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Professional Issues & Trends
Long-term effects of COVID-19 pandemic on health care likely will include having a mix of in-person and virtual care, more home care and monitoring, and increased reliance on cloud-based platforms, experts told the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives' virtual CHIME21 Spring Forum. Cook Children's Health Care System CIO Teresa Meadows said the pandemic will lead to greater consumerization of health care, with a focus on health literacy and care provided outside hospital and office settings.
Full Story: HealthLeaders Media (4/21) 
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A 10-member multidisciplinary team of health information and informatics specialists that collected and prioritized EHR optimization requests was able to get some problems fixed immediately through additional training, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association Open. The team was able to get other problems solved quickly by updating order sets, adding documentation templates and creating autotext, and a majority of clinicians said the team improved their EHR proficiency.
Full Story: EHR Intelligence (4/20) 
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Inside the AAFP
Board Review: Better prep, better outcomes
The AAFP's Board Review Self-Study Package offers 500+ board review-style questions covering all categories tested, mapped to the ABFM blueprint and reviewed by family medicine experts. It's content you can trust in the flexible format you need. Buy now.
Toolkit helps practices build sustainable telehealth programs
In March 2020, only about 13% of AAFP members had conducted video or telephone patient visits. Two months later, that figure had jumped to 94%, thanks largely to temporary removal of regulatory and payment barriers. Continuing to provide these services benefits patients and can boost your practice's bottom line, but you need to understand the changing environment. This AAFP toolkit can help.
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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 Family Medicine 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.
External Resources are not a part of the AAFP website. AAFP is not responsible for the content of sites that are external to the AAFP. Linking to a website does not constitute an endorsement by AAFP of the sponsors of the site or the information presented on the site.

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