In the News
HHS Secretary’s Report: Surprise Billing
Report Calls for Congressional Action to Combat Surprise Billing and Promote Price Transparency
July 30, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the HHS Secretary’s Report on Addressing Surprise Billing. The report, called for in Section 7 of President Trump’s Executive Order 13877, Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare to Put Patients First, outlines critical steps, including Congressional action, to implement the Administration’s principles on surprise billing. Sound surprise billing legislation will not only protect patients but will encourage a fairer, more transparent, patient-centered healthcare system that benefits all Americans.
“Americans have the right to know what a healthcare service is going to cost before they receive it,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “President Trump and his administration have done their part to deliver historic transparency around the prices of many procedures. Now it’s time for Congress to do what we all agree is necessary: combat surprise billing with an approach that puts patients in control and benefits all Americans.”
HHS has taken regulatory and administrative action to increase price transparency permanently. On June 24, 2019, President Trump signed Executive Order 13877. Following direction from this Executive Order, HHS published two rules supporting the Administration’s mission to improve accessibility of healthcare price information to help patients make informed decisions about their use of healthcare services. The first, poised to go into effect January 1, 2021, requires hospitals operating in the United States to establish, update, and make public, at least annually, a list of their standard charges for the items and services that they provide. The second companion proposed rule would demand similar transparency from most group health plans and issuers of health insurance coverage within both the individual and group markets.
To supplement this progress, Congress must take additional action to build on the achievements of the Administration to eliminate the threat of surprise billing once and for all. This should be accomplished with the following principles in mind, as laid out by the Trump Administration on May 9th, 2019.
If done swiftly, a remarkable burden will be lifted from the shoulders of millions of Americans. By building on the foundation placed by Executive Order 13877, there is an opportunity to fill the remaining gaps and solve comprehensively a longstanding flaw, equivalent to price-gouging, within our healthcare industry.
The CDC TRAIN provides access to more than 1,000 courses developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) programs, grantees, and other funded partners. Courses offered by CDC course providers have been approved and verified by CDC. Many of which are self-study modules to do in your own time.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released its scientific report that advises federal agencies on the development of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The agencies are taking public comment on the more than 800-page report until Aug. 13, 2020.
TRAIN is a catalog of public health training opportunities and a free service for learners hosted by the Public Health Foundation.
Congratulations to University of Maryland Family Medicine Resident, Latéy Bradford, MD PhD!
May 18, 2020: Laura Latéy Bradford, MD PhD was granted a $16,500 Family Medicine Cares Resident Service Award for her service project, “Queens Court: A postpartum education and support group designed to empower and facilitate wellness in women of color.”
The $16,500 award includes the following elements:
- A $10,000 award for her to use for the service project;
- A $5,000 award for the University of Family Medicine Clinic, where the service project will be implemented;
- A travel award of up to $1000 to attend the 2021 National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students and present the results of her project; and
- A $500 stipend to her Family Medicine Residency to celebrate and be recognized as the winner of the 2020 Family Medicine Cares Resident Service Award.
The MDAFP is very proud, and wishes her the best of luck!
REMINDER: The application to apply to participate in the Maryland Primary Care Program (MDPCP) for 2021 is now open!
Will close Tuesday, July 14. Practices interested in joining the program beginning January 2021 should submit an application via the online practice application portal. (Organizations interested in becoming CTOs should apply via a separate CTO application portal.)
As a reminder, a completed practice application includes the following components:
- Completed questionnaire in the online practice application portal
- Letters of Support from:
1) Clinical Leader
2) Parent/Owner Organization – if the Clinical Leader also owns the practice you may upload the same letter in both sections.
3) CRISP – A downloadable template and instructions are available. Please make sure to request your letter of support from CRISP well in advance so that you have time to receive and upload a countersigned copy.
Additional guidance from the PMO can be found on our program application webpage. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Practice Transitions Due to COVID-19 = ABFM Credit & CME!
The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) has created a COVID-19 Self-Directed Clinical Pilot that allows Diplomates to direct a custom rapid cycle quality improvement effort, regardless of whether they provide continuing care. This activity provides a mechanism for meeting the Performance Improvement (PI) requirement by describing the unprecedented and rapid changes that you had to make in the ways that you deliver care, regardless of practice type or scope. This PI can address many different dimensions of care—not just clinical quality measures but process effectiveness and efficiency, patient satisfaction, safety, and the other characteristics that the practice has identified.
To help walk you through this application process, the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians (OAFP), with help from Ryan Kauffman, MD, FAAFP, AAFP Alternate Delegate and Quality Improvement Champion, made an instructional video. Watch Dr. Kauffman take you step-by-step through the online application!
Bonus! The ABFM just announced that this activity, as well as the general Self-Directed Clinical activity, have each been approved for 20 continuing medical education (CME) credits! The CME credit for the COVID-19 Self-Directed Clinical Pilot is retroactive to start on April 4, 2020, and the Self-Directed Clinical is retroactive to start on January 1, 2020.
If you have any questions regarding your PI activity requirement for ABFM Family Medicine Certification, please contact Ann Williamson at the ABFM. If you have questions about the video or would like to speak with an OAFP staff member, please contact Kaitlin McGuffie.
The COVID-19 Pandemic Digest
By Michelle Prentice, MD MSc – All Saints Family Medicine Residency PGY3
From atop the pandemic’s first peak, we can reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the pandemic response thus far. As attention and debate inevitably shift toward the loosening of social restrictions, “[w]e must remain vigilant and disciplined” in our population health approach, for our patients, our families, and for each other’s families.In preparation, this issue will discuss important elements for vigilance and discipline, including:
- Global concern regarding under-reporting of COVID-19
- Removal of U.S. funding from the World Health Organization
- Testing capabilities and “immunity passports”
- The Covidnearyou.org tracker
- Racial disparities in COVID-19 cases
- Cautionary tales of re-socialization from across the globe
- President Trump’s 3-Phase plan for re-opening the economy
- PPE challenges
- The AAFP Foundation Relief Fund and other funding opportunities
Here are the results from our first, second and third surveys. We are using these results to further advocacy and educational efforts. We appreciate your participation and hope you find the results informative.
All Saints Family Medicine Residency PGY3
Dr. Prentice is a 3rd year resident with the Medical College of Wisconsin – All Saints Family Medicine residency, training in their Urgent Care track. She is also a member of the American College of Preventive Medicine, with clinical and academic training from public health and preventive medicine programs, such as the NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response analyzing frontline health care facilities preparedness for the ebola outbreak, as well as investigational work the Public Health Ontario in Toronto on an active Hepatitis A outbreak. She has also worked closely with the University of Ottawa Public Health and Preventive Medicine residency on their didactic curriculum, and has been a population health researcher for Ontario’s Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
Are you looking to stay up to date on research into patient-centered, high-quality research? Then be sure to check out this newly released supplement to the Annals of Family Medicine. The Annals of Family Medicine is a peer-reviewed research journal to meet the needs of scientists, practitioners, policymakers, and the patients and communities they serve.
The current Annals of Family Medicine supplement issue features editorials on facilitating practice transformation, and original research on a variety of topics including “A Longitudinal Study of Trends in Burnout During Primary Care Transformation”. Be sure to click the read more link for access to over a dozen research articles, editorials, and briefs in the August supplement. Read More
Bringing Family Medicine’s Past to Bear on Its Future
By David Mitchell (July 01, 2019)
Dennis Mychak, M.D., was only 51 when he died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but he made an impact on the small, Pennsylvania coal mining town where he grew up and to which he later returned to practice family medicine.
He also made a lasting impression on Aaron George, D.O., who was just 11 years old when he attended his uncle’s visitation.
“Everyone knew him,” George said. “He was a community icon. Hundreds of people were lined up down the block for the viewing. I thought, ‘This is how you make an impact on people’s lives.’ It was crystal clear to me that family medicine was unparalleled in touching people’s lives.”
After completing his training at the Duke Family Medicine Residency Program in Durham, N.C., in 2015 (which included a global health rotation in Vienna, Austria), George — like his uncle — returned to his small hometown in Pennsylvania to practice family medicine. His clinic was a mile away from his boyhood home, and his patient panel included his high school principal, his priest and old friends.
“I poured my heart into the expectation that I was going to be there for a long time to serve them,” he said. “I thought I would be there for 40 years. There’s something really special about the bond you form with the community you grow up in.”
The 2019 FMAS Experience
By Ariel J. Warden-JarreF, MD, FAAFP
To advocate beyond the comfort of our exams rooms or to chart while silent, that is the question. The FMAS Experience offers a unique opportunity or family physicians from around the country to join in a bipartisan way to advocate for health care initiatives that are important to ALL Americans.
It is invigorating to gather in a room with medical professionals who are all family physicians fighting the same fight to make America strong and healthy.
We all agree that primary care is important to this nation. We all agree that Family Physicians are well trained to meet the health care primary care needs in our nation. However, policy makers do not know the “secrets”we know. The FMAS Experience takes us to the source, and opens a door for us to cross pollinate ideas to continue the discussion with policy makers, who still, on many levels, don’t know what the average Family Physician does on a daily basis.
The FMAS Experience centers in on relationship building that should grow from year to year with policy makers. We become stronger when we are fighting in the right places.
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