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Maternal Death Rate is rising in the US


Date: October 25th, 2016

According to a the research, the period from 2000 to 2014 saw a significant increase in the maternal death rate by about 27%. In 2000, each 100,000 live births witnessed the death of 19 women during or within 42 days after delivery. This number increased to 24 women for each 100,000 live births in 2014. This new finding is much worse than it was thought previously. The federal health officials had already reported that the maternal death rate is increasing, but their figures were lower – 16 % per 100,000.

Liraglutide Makes Diabetic HF Patients Cautious


Date: October 23rd, 2016

MD Kenneth Margulies from the Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia and a lead author said that the group getting GLP-1 agonist liraglutide treatment showed insignificant differences (12% vs. 11%). The type 2 diabetes patients were included here. Margulies and colleagues reported that rehospitalizations for patients with heart failure similarly had no significant difference. In addition, the study could not locate any difference between placebo and treatment of any of the said prespecified endpoints. But the researchers noted that the type 2 diabetes group showed the possibility of worse outcomes.

Increased Opioid use Disorder Care may be Burdensome


Date: October 21st, 2016

AFFP feels that the steps to up the number of patients under care for opioid use disorders can be overburdening to the physicians. The new proposals are being championed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA and will need the physicians to track patients progressively after they have received medical associated treatment (MAT) due to opioid disorder. But M.D. Robert Wergin, AFFP’s Board Chair, wrote a letter to the Acting Administrator Kana Enomoto expressing reservations that administrative tasks may increase.

What the proposed rules entail

The new rules proposed by SAMHSA highlights specific requirements that practitioners will have to adhere to. The physicians will be required to keep an exhaustive documentation of the opioid use disorders patients’ progress. Some of the things to be documented include:

Buprenorphine patients’ average monthly caseload
What is the percentage of active buprenorphine users?
How many patients have finished a treatment?
What is the percentage of patients who opted to drop buprenorphine?

The key issue of concern is that the rules only increase the documentation that physicians will be performing without improving patient care. AFFP suggested that the needed information can be sourced from sources like prescription drug monitoring program databases. Since physicians need the prescription history of their patients, AFFP asked SAMHSA to see to it that the information is available in an online system and is easy to use.

Wergin Letter to SAMHSA

In his letter to SAMHSA, Wergin urged the federal body to carefully into the matter whether claims data meets some of the requirements of a report. He said that SAMHSA should use claims data not to create burdens but collect the vital information.
Wergin listed other options that can be used for data collection instead of having to burden the busy practices. It is important to shield off more tasks considering now that physicians treat as many as 275 patients requiring MAT, which is a rise from the previous 100 patients.

Wergin went on to explain that the reporting requirements will not bring any improvements to patient care but instead will add undue burden of reporting the progress of 275 patients. He insisted that the need to report the status of not only the current patients under treatment but also those who have gone through in the past one year was unwarranted.

Primary care practices do not have the privilege to get updates about the status of a patient who received a referral. They are also not notified in case there is a discontinuation in the behavioral health consults. Wergin suggested that to make the process less burdensome, the primary care providers can report the number of patients who got treatment in a year and those who are still active in the treatment.

He said that AFFP acknowledges that the disposition of patients who are out of treatment should be tracked but mentioned it is not possible for a physician to have the disposition of all the patients.

Can Tobacco Industry win the e-cigs fight?


Date: October 19th, 2016

The Food and Drug Administration effected a rule from 8th August 2016 that seeks to regulate the e-cigs as well as other tobacco products such as premium cigars and hookahs just like it regulates the smokeless tobacco and traditional cigarettes. The main intention is to limit the minors from accessing it and also ensure some products are reviewed scientifically. This announcement had been made by the FDA in May.

Using Visual Exams to Screen Adults for skin Cancer


Date: October 17th, 2016

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded its recommendation statement on skin cancer screening and cited that it did not get enough evidence that supports or is against using visual exams to screen adults for skin cancer. This involves only the asymptomatic adults that do not have any risk related to skin cancer. M.D., M.P.H David Grossman, the USPSTF Vice Chair said that it is wise to remember that this report does not pertain the people with cancerous skin lesions, history of precancerous skin or skin cancer syndromes or signs of skin cancer.

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