Archive for July, 2017

2017 Annual Research Poster Competition

The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians is seeking submissions for the Annual Research Poster Competition to be held Friday, October 27, 2017, during the GAFP’s Annual Scientific Assembly.

Posters presented may be research results, case reports, summer projects, or educational projects. Posters may address any topic relevant to family medicine. Submissions must be of original work not yet published or presented at regional or national meetings. Medical student projects previously presented at medical schools or student “Research Days” are accepted. Concurrent (2017) submissions to other conferences such as NAPCRG and STFM are considered legitimate and are, in fact, encouraged.

Please visit the GAFP website and access the Poster Competition information by clicking on the CME & Events tab, then selecting the 2017 Research Poster Competition link. Complete the entry form and submit it back to Angela Flanigan at by Friday, September 29th with the requested information.

Posters will be judged for awards at the time of presentation at the meeting. Review will focus on the Significance of findings for practicing family physicians; Quality of presentation of findings; and, Quality of methods used to generate findings. Each submission will be reviewed by a panel of judges and finalists will be notified via email by Friday, October 13th . Awards up to $500 will be awarded to an outstanding pre-med student(s), medical student(s), and resident(s). Practicing physicians/fellow receive a recognition award.

For more information, please contact Angela Flanigan (800) 392-3841 or

Understanding Cost in MACRA (aka Quality Payment Program) through your personalized Quality Resource Use Report (QRUR)

For every physician that bills Medicare Part B, CMS has created a performance report called the Quality Resource Use Report (QRUR).  This report shows their interpretation of your relative cost of all care compared with your peers for the patients you see and bill Medicare Part B.  The most recently available data is the 2015 QRUR.  This report assists you in choosing quality measures and improvement activities under MACRA (aka Quality Payment Program).  It was also used to calculate the 2017 Value Modifier that is currently impacting your Medicare reimbursements this year

We are excited to announce a free web based education opportunity for you on the evening of Wednesday, August 2, 2017 from 7- 8 pm. This educational session will be a presentation on interpreting your Quality Resource Use Report (QRUR).   As the Medicare Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization, we are contacted by CMS to provide this free technical assistance.

In preparation for the session, we suggest that you log into the CMS portal and download your report to have on hand during the call.  If you have not previously set up the specific EIDM account to access this report you can follow this guide at  This guide will walk you through how to set up and EIDM account (page 3) and how to download the report.  Please allow 2 weeks to go through this process prior to the call.   It will be very helpful for you to have your report with you when you attend the presentation as we walk you through each of the tables in the report.

Don’t wait.  Start preparing for MACRA (aka Quality Payment Program) now!

Click here to register


AAFP Student & Resident Leadership Opportunities

The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians highly values the contributions made by family medicine residents and medical students and recognizes the importance of training future leaders of medicine. It is one of the few specialty organizations to actively enlist resident and student members in leadership roles. Information about AAFP and other family medicine organization resident and student leadership positions for 2017-2018 is available on, including a comprehensive list of positions, position descriptions and requirements, time commitments, and an application timeline. If you are interested in applying for an AAFP leadership position, please contact the GAFP Chapter with requested materials no later than August 5th. As a requirement to apply for many of these positions, residents and students are asked to submit a letter of support to their chapter. Nominations for elected positions at National Conference should be submitted to the AAFP by July 26th. If not submitted by July 26th, candidate materials may be submitted onsite, however submitting the materials in advance is requested. A new video( showcases 2015 residents and student leaders sharing information on their role, why they chose to be involved in a leadership position, and what they’ve learned along the way. Chapters may wish to share this video to assist with the application process. For a full list of available positions and nomination deadlines, please visit

Several changes to the Georgia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)










Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D.

Commissioner, Georgia Department of Public Health

Dear Health Care Provider,

During the 2017 legislative session, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 249 which provided for several changes to the Georgia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). The first of these changes takes effect July 1, 2017, when management of the PDMP transfers to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). DPH will continue to work closely with the Georgia Drug and Narcotics Agency, which will retain enforcement responsibilities.

While these changes will not impact the way most dispensers and prescribers input information into the system, there are new requirements mandated by law.

  1. Effective July 1, 2017, dispensers will be required to enter prescription information for Schedule II, III, IV, V controlled substances within 24 hours. This will provide prescribers more efficient access to information with less wait time as they make the best clinical decisions possible for their patients.
  2. All prescribers will be required to register in the PDMP by Jan. 1, 2018. Currently only about 10 percent of prescribers in Georgia are registered in the PDMP. Prescribers already registered DO NOT need to re-register.
  3. Beginning July 1, 2018, prescribers will be required to check PDMP before prescribing Schedule II drugs or benzodiazepines. (Prescribers are currently encouraged to check the PDMP before prescribing Schedule II drugs or benzodiazepines, but are not yet required to do so.)

The purpose of the PDMP is to reduce the abuse of controlled substances and to promote proper use of medications used to treat pain and terminal illness. The PDMP also helps reduce duplicative prescribing and overprescribing of controlled substances. To that end, the PDMP will now generate clinical alerts when you log in to check a patient if:

  • A patient has five prescriptions or uses five pharmacies for controlled substances over 90 days (Tennessee model)


  • A prescribed daily dosage of greater than 100 MME (morphine milligram equivalents)

Because there is a large number of prescribers to be registered in the PDMP by Jan. 1, 2018, we have devised a system for prescribers to register based on their birth month. Refer to the table below to find out when to register.

If you were born in: Register in PDMP in:
January, February, March July
April, May, June August
July, August, September September
October, November, December October

To register, go to You will need:

  • Your name and business address
  • Primary phone number
  • Last 4 digits of SSN
  • DEA number
  • NPI number
  • Professional license number and type
  • Health care specialty

Under the new law, prescribers and dispensers are allowed to register two delegates (staff without a DEA number) per shift or rotation to check the PDMP and enter prescription information. However, to ensure prescribers and dispensers are all registered by their mandated date, DPH will register new users in two phases. In the first phase, DPH will ensure all prescribers are registered by Jan. 1, 2018, and in the second phase, DPH will allow new delegates to register. We will provide more information about delegates and how they may be registered after Jan. 1, 2018.

Trainings and webinars will be available on the DPH website to assist you during this transition. You will also find a copy of the amended law regarding PDMP and a list of frequently asked questions. If you have any questions about the PDMP or registering, please send an email to or call 404-463-1517.

We know that Georgia, like the rest of the country, is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Whether it manifests itself in a cluster of opioid overdoses as we saw earlier this month, or the number of babies being born addicted to drugs and experiencing heartbreaking withdrawal symptoms in the first hours after birth, opioid addiction, overdoses and abuse of prescription pain medications are a public health crisis. Working together we have the power to help reduce the number of Georgians severely affected by or dying from opioid overdoses.



Very truly yours,

Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D.


Letter to the Editor: Say ‘No’ to GOP health legislation

Dear Editor:

I am writing to express my concern over the actions of Congress on health reform. Currently, the U.S. Senate is working behind closed doors to draft legislation that could change the future of health care in America. The U.S. House of Representatives’ approach to health reform led to the truly flawed American Health Care Act (AHCA) — legislation that would weaken benefits and cause millions of Americans to lose their health insurance. As a family physician from Eatonton, I provide comprehensive care to my patients. The AHCA would harm many of them. Analysis of the bill shows 987,600 people in Georgia would lose health care coverage and see dramatically increased premiums — an average of $1,034 in Georgia. The AHCA threatens the health security of people who have pre-existing conditions or cannot pay for skyrocketing premiums or co-payments and deductibles. It doesn’t address the real-life challenges people have with health care. The policies in the AHCA disguise discrimination as flexibility and make health care less accessible and more expensive for those who need it most. Health reform is needed, but we must maintain the gains in patient protections provided by the current law, and I encourage Congress to work toward a bipartisan solution.

I urge readers to contact U.S. Sens. Isakson and Perdue to urge them to oppose any legislation that would deprive the citizens of Georgia of meaningful health care coverage. It is important to me that none of my patients (and other Georgians) lose access to care because they have lost affordable health insurance.


Eddie Richardson, Jr., MD, FAAFP President – Georgia Academy of Family Physicians

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