Archive for October, 2017

Recruitment for 2018 Georgia Academy Leadership!

Recruitment for 2018 Georgia Academy Leadership!

(Please reply back by November 5, 2017)

 To:       GAFP Colleague (Active, Life, Resident, Medical Student)

From:   Loy D. “Chip” Cowart, MD, FAAFP – President Elect

One of the most important roles serving as your President for this upcoming year is appointing the Committee members for 2018.  I am soliciting your interest in participating on one of the Georgia Academy’s committees for next year.

I ask that you only volunteer to be nominated if you can attend either in person or by phone all 3 meetings in 2018.  Although several committees meet more than 3 times a year, here are the dates for the 2018 Committee Conclaves:

Saturday, March 3 – Atlanta, GA (Westin Atlanta Perimeter)

Thursday, June 14 – Amelia Island, FL (in conjunction with the GAFP Summer CME Meeting at Omni Amelia Island Resort)

Saturday, August 4 – Savannah, GA (Hyatt Regency Savannah)

I appreciate your consideration of service with your colleagues on a committee.  We are only strong with many voices of family medicine working together.

Committee membership will be held to no more than 15 members. For most committees, this will include one slot for a resident and a medical student. The expectation is that each member selected for a committee will have the ability to 1) attend the three committee conclave meetings, 2) respond to emails, and 3) review committee materials and be ready to offer advice and guidance.

There will also be a Legislative Session Working Group that meets for a shorter time period (January-March 2018) to assist in Georgia Academy programs.

Following is a list of the opportunities for service. We encourage your interest and participation as this is certainly an important and pivotal time for family medicine. We are only as strong as the commitment and involvement of our members.

Bylaws Committee (15 members):  This committee will review governance issues and review any needed bylaws changes.  Bylaws changes must be sent to the general membership for review and approved by the GAFP Congress of Delegates.

Education and Research Committee (15 members): This committee is responsible for all the educational activities of the Georgia Academy, including the annual and summer meeting, as well as our national GO! Diabetes project and the education for the Patient Centered Medical Home University.

Finance Committee (15 members): This committee reviews the financials including staff benefits and the budget. It also makes recommendations to the Board on financial policies.

Legislative Committee (15 members): This committee oversees all advocacy and legislative activities and recommends action to the Board to assure representation of family medicine and our patients.

State Legislative Session Working Group (unlimited members): This working group will meet weekly by phone from January – March to review the policy priorities of the Georgia Academy along with receiving updates on the activities of the Georgia General Assembly. Areas of focus will include the State Budget (Medicaid, Public Health), Tort Reform, Insurance Initiatives, Public Safety, Medical Education, Georgia Board Physician Workforce Funding of Family Medicine Residency Programs and Scope of Practice.

Membership Services Committee (15 members): This committee has the responsibility for membership recruitment and retention, overview of leadership development, as well as, for all local and national award nominations. This committee is also tasked with monitoring the communications to our members.

Practice Management Committee (15 members): The Practice Management Committee monitors insurance policies and issues that affect the business of family medicine. It also works on practice transformation and the patient centered medical home. The committee is continually monitoring new payment models and works to educate our membership on patient centered medical home, accountable care organizations, Medical Advantage plans and other business models.

Public Health Committee (15 members): This committee works to improve the health and welfare of our state’s citizens by assisting Georgia’s Department of Public Health in their mission. The Georgia Academy has an ongoing contractual relationship with the Department of Public Health that is overseen by this committee.

Student and Resident Recruitment (15 members – 6 active/life members, 3 students, 3 residents) This Committee promotes family medicine to our Georgia medical students, pre-medical and high school students as well as looks for areas to support family medicine physicians-in-training.

Committee Membership Application


I am a __________Medical Student ______________Resident ________________Family Physician

______________________________is the Committee I would like to serve on in 2018.

____________I can attend all 3 committee dates (either in person or by phone).

I cannot attend all three committee dates, I can attend _______________of the meetings.

My talents and expertise that will assist the committee are:




If I am not selected for my committee of choice. I would like to be considered for the _______________ Committee.

I would also like to volunteer for the Legislative Session Working Group:____________________


Application for Committee-Membership-for-2018

Children 1st Referrals-Why It’s Important

Monique Davis-Smith, M.D., FAAFP, Residency Directory- Department of Family Medicine Medical Center of Central Georgia

Tenesha Wallace, MA, Communication and Public Health Manager


Children 1st Referrals-Why It’s Important

The early years of life are the most critical time for child development. Identifying issues early and providing interventions can make a world of difference for children and their families. During well-child visits, if a child is at risk for developmental delays or a developmental delay is identified, there are programs available within the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) to assist physicians with linking families to early intervention services and support available in their communities. Physicians may also refer families with medically complex children and youth (birth to 21 years of age) with chronic medical conditions to the Department for care coordination services, access to specialty care clinics, and transition from pediatric to adult health care preparation and planning. Early intervention and children and youth with special health care needs services are accessed through the Children 1st program.

Children 1st serves as the single point of entry into all DPH, Maternal and Child Health programs. Services are designed to provide family support, education, linkage to a medical home, and community resources to improve health and developmental outcomes for children as well as enhance parenting skills.

Who should be referred? If there are children in your practice with suspected or confirmed developmental delays, families needing additional support to care for their child with a chronic illness as well as children with significant biological, social and/or emotional risk factors, make a referral to Children 1st. See Table 1.

How do I make a referral?  Referring to Children 1st is simple and can be completed during an office visit. Children 1st is available in every county in Georgia.  Physicians can refer a child by completing the Children 1st Screening and Referral Form and faxing it to their local Children 1st office. Referrals can also be made online and by phone.

  1. Visit the Children 1st website ( to download and complete the Screening and Referral form. When completing the Screening and Referral form, please ensure:


  • There is clear patient information on referral form (Name, address, phone number) to reach the family being referred.
  • Identified risk factors are clearly indicated on both pages of the screening and referral form.
  • Physician notes, discharge summaries and all other associated paperwork with the child’s diagnosis, including ICD-10 codes are attached with the referral form.
  • Any developmental screenings that have been completed are attached to the referral form.
  • The physician order for therapy or other services being requested are attached to the referral form.
  • The physician’s name and contact information is clearly identified on the screening and referral form.


  1. Fax the completed Screening and Referral form to the local Children 1st District Coordinator. Using the Maternal and Child Health Locator (!mch.coord_search), select the county in which the child currently resides; select the Children 1st program and click search for locations.
  1. Contact a local public health Children 1st District Coordinator and make the referral by phone (See the Maternal and Child Health Locator).
  1. Complete a referral via the Georgia Department of Public Health’s central intake referral system by phone 1-855-707-8277 or online (

Common Risk Factors for Referral to the Children 1st Program

Table 1

Prenatal Risk Factors


  • History of maternal alcohol or substance abuse
  • Lack of prenatal care
  • Illness or traumatic injury during pregnancy
  • Prenatal exposure to therapeutic drugs with known potential for developmental implications
Birth Risk Factors


  • Premature birth
  • Extended stays in the hospital/ NICU
  • Congenital infections/abnormalities
  • Low/very low birth weight
Infancy/Childhood Risk Factors


  • Exposure to environmental lead or other toxic
  • Suspected or confirmed hearing or vision impairment
  • Congenital and heritable disorders
  • Traumatic injury to the child
Childhood Chronic Illnesses


  • Asthma
  • Endocrine disorders (including diabetes)
  • Neurological and neurosurgical disorders (including epilepsy)
  • Orthopedic and neuromuscular disorders
  • Craniofacial anomalies (including cleft lip and/or palate)
Parental/Family Risk Factors


  • Parental concern about the child’s development
  • Parental developmental disabilities or mental illness
  •  Homelessness or parental unemployment
  • Family history of child abuse or neglect


“I have personally had the opportunity to work with Children 1st with several of my patients. Premature births, babies born to teenage mothers, and developmental delay noted on the exam are just a few of the clinical situations that prompted the referral. I found the experience to be extremely simple to initiate. I completed the paper form and my office staff faxed it to the appropriate office. The patient’s families appreciated the care and concern of the Children 1st staff. The communication and feedback I received from the organization was timely and well documented. The patients benefited greatly from the experience. More than half of the children eligible for these services are not identified or referred until school age. This is very unfortunate because early interventions are more effective and less costly than those initiated later in the process. The Children 1st Coordinator is a true friend of the family physician. Please utilize the services and resources Children 1st has to offer your patients. “

-Y. Monique Davis-Smith, M.D., FAAFP


Georgia Academy Supports Puerto Rico Colleagues

The Georgia Academy leadership has voted to support efforts being led by a small cadre of Family Physician leaders with a $1,000 donation to purchase generators and other supplies for Family Physicians in Puerto Rico. The donations will help to get their offices open to support the growing needs of their patient population after the devastation of the recent hurricane.

AAFP leader Dr. Kim Yu initiated working with relief groups to get supplies to Puerto Rico. In late September, she began rallying the troops to donate funds specifically to purchase generators to power the clinics and offices of PRAFP members. The first of the generators should arrive in Puerto Rico in early October.  With government officials saying that much of the island could be without power for 4-6 months, they are in dire need.

This funding is being collected by the Indiana Academy’s Foundation.  They have set up an information page, which shows a running tally of donations and generators purchased.

The goal is sixty generators purchased – one for each year that the PRAFP has been serving Puerto Rico citizen.  Dr. Yu is featured explaining how this outreach work began: Here she is telling the story.

MACRA Assistance: Quality Payment Program Introduces Virtual Groups


What are Virtual Groups?

CMS included a virtual group option in the QPP proposed rule that starts in 2018. This option allows solo practitioners and TINs with 10 and less NPIs to submit aggregated data across TINs for MIPS in 2018.

What resources are available for virtual groups?

Click here to find out more including:

·         Overview of Virtual Groups Fact Sheet

·         Sample Agreement

·         Checklist to get started

What is the time line to join a Virtual Group?

To form a virtual group for 2018, solo practitioners and groups would need to engage in an election process. For the 2018 MIPS performance period, the election period for virtual groups to make an election is from October 11, 2017 to December 1, 2017.

What technical assistance for virtual groups is available from Alliant Quality?

·         Determining eligibility

·         Assisting eligible clinicians understand the basics of virtual group participation

·         Providing resources on virtual groups

·         Guiding eligible clinicians and practices through the process of submitting agreements

Contact us at



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