Archive for the ‘GAFP Membership News’ Category

GAFP Nominating committee seeks candidates for 2023 Board of Directors

To:       All Active and Life GAFP Members in All Districts

From:   Susana A. Alfonso, MD, MHCM, FAAFP – Chair, Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee is working to compile a slate of candidates for the 2023 GAFP Board of Directors.  GAFP leadership has a history of excelling at both the state and national levels and far outpaces other physician groups in innovative and new initiatives.

The Congress of Delegates will vote on the slate for the 2023 Board in late summer.  (Residents and Medical Students will hold their own elections in the fall.)

If you are interested in becoming more active in the Georgia Academy, please consider applying.  Your time commitment is 4 meetings a year (typically March, June, August and November) and being available to GAFP leaders, staff, and your district colleagues should issues emerge that require your leadership input and participation.

All Board members receive one free registration per year for either our Summer CME or Annual Meeting as a token of our appreciation for your hard work.

Board members are asked to be the eyes and ears of your community and bring to leadership issues important to family physicians from your hometown

Please click this link, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K5SMJ7T and respond by May 23rd if you are interested in applying for the 2023 Board. 

Potential vacancies are listed below:

Officers

*President-Elect (automatically becomes President in November 2022 and Board Chair in November 2023)

*Secretary (3-year term)

*Vice President (1-year term)

*COD Speaker (1-year term)

COD Vice Speaker (1-year term)

Summer CME Weekend Hotel Registration Extended Through May 20

The countdown continues! However, we are happy to share that we were able to extend hotel registration until Friday, May 20! You now have one more week.

Rooms are going fast.  There are still rooms available at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, but Hotel Effie is almost sold out. Our block at the Sandestin Resort vacation rentals features everything from studio efficiencies to 1, 2, and 3-bedroom units, condos, and villas, all located within walking distance of our conference center—along with all the complimentary perks and amenities.

GAFP has a full schedule offering up to 18 hours of CME and many opportunities to network and relax. Regular registration for the 2022 Summer Family Medicine Weekend ends June 10.

Join us at the welcome reception, visit the social & information hub throughout the weekend, and bring the family and participate in the sandcastle competition. Visit our website today and make plans to join us.

Updated Recommendations for Adenovirus Testing and Reporting of Children with Acute Hepatitis of Unknown Etiology

CDC HEALTH UPDATE

Distributed via the CDC Health Alert Network

May 11, 2022, 12:15 PM ET  

CDCHAN-00465

Summary

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing this Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Update to provide clinicians and public health authorities with updated information about an epidemiologic investigation of pediatric cases of hepatitis of unknown etiology in the United States. This investigation focuses on collecting information to describe the epidemiology, etiology, clinical presentation, severity, and risk factors related to illness and to identify any relationship between adenovirus infection or other factors and hepatitis. As of May 5, 2022, CDC and state partners are investigating 109 children with hepatitis of unknown origin across 25 states and territories, more than half of whom have tested positive for adenovirus with more than 90% hospitalized, 14% with liver transplants, and five deaths under investigation. Because this investigation is ongoing and includes reviewing cases of hepatitis of unknown cause with onset since October 2021, patients under investigation are not limited to current or newly diagnosed pediatric hepatitis illnesses.

This HAN Health Update also provides updated recommendations for testing specimens from patients under investigation. It is an update to a HAN Health Advisory that CDC issued on April 21, 2022, that initially notified clinicians and public health authorities of children identified with hepatitis of unknown origin and adenovirus infection.

Background

A cluster of pediatric cases of hepatitis without an apparent etiology was identified and reported to CDC in November 2021. A possible association between pediatric hepatitis and adenovirus infection is under investigation after laboratory testing identified adenovirus infection in all nine patients in the initial cluster; the five specimens that could be typed were all adenovirus type 41. Investigators continue to examine the role of other possible causes and identify contributing factors.

Recommendations for Clinicians

  • Clinicians should continue to follow standard practice for evaluating and managing patients with hepatitis of known and unknown etiology.
  • Clinicians are recommended to consider adenovirus testing for patients with hepatitis of unknown etiology and to report such cases to their state or jurisdictional public health authorities.
  • Because the potential relationship between adenovirus infection and hepatitis is still under investigation, clinicians should consider collecting the following specimen types if available from pediatric patients with hepatitis of unknown cause for adenovirus detection:  
  • Blood specimen collected in Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid (EDTA) (whole blood, plasma, or serum); whole blood is preferred to plasma and serum)
  • Respiratory specimen (nasopharyngeal swab, sputum, or bronchioalveolar lavage [BAL])
  • Stool specimen or rectal swab; a stool specimen is preferred to a rectal swab
  • Liver tissue, if a biopsy was clinically indicated, or if tissue from native liver explant or autopsy is available: 
  • Formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) liver tissue
  • Fresh liver tissue, frozen on dry ice or liquid nitrogen immediately or as soon as possible, and stored at ≤ -70°C

Nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT), such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), is preferred for adenovirus detection (currently not available for FFPE liver biopsy or native liver explant). Testing whole blood by PCR is more sensitive to and is preferred over testing plasma by PCR. 

Were possible, clinical specimens should be tested locally to ensure timely results for patient care. For any diagnostic testing needs beyond the local capacity, CDC recommends that clinicians contact their state public health laboratory. For More Information

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________

Categories of Health Alert Network messages:

Health Alert          Requires immediate action or attention; highest level of importance

Health Advisory   May not require immediate action; provides important information for a specific incident or situation

Health Update      Unlikely to require immediate action; provides updated information regarding an incident or situation

HAN Info Service Does not require immediate action; provides general public health information

Virtual KSA Opportunities Up to 12 CME Credits Pending

We are proud to present three virtual opportunities to complete ABFM Knowledge Self-Assessment Workshops coming up in May and June. Consider adding one (or all three) of these convenient virtual opportunities to your Summer Family Medicine Weekend Conference Registration. If you cannot attend the Family Medicine Weekend, you can still attend these virtual sessions.

Hypertension – A Virtual KSA Opportunity 
Saturday, May 14, 2022
10:00 am – 2:00 pm

NEW!  Care of the Older Adult – A Virtual KSA Opportunity
Saturday, May 21, 2022
10:00 am – 2:00 pm

NEW!  Care of Hospital Patients – A Virtual KSA Opportunity
Saturday, June 4, 2022
10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Register here.

Up to 12 CME credits pending.

Sarah Bigorowski Hired as GAFP Director of Education

The Georgia Academy welcomes Sarah Bigorowski as director of education effective April 2022. Sarah will lead planning, development, and implementation of all educational activities and meetings for GAFP. 

Prior to joining GAFP, Sarah served as director of alumni services for Mercer University College of Pharmacy with a focus on improving alumni engagement efforts, managing the alumni association board of directors and planning events and programs to strengthen relationships with the college. She also previously served at the Georgia Pharmacy Association and the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Grand Valley State University in Michigan and has lived in Georgia since 2009. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her family.

Contact Sarah at sbigorowski@gafp.org or (404) 321-7445.

ABFM Certification Extension Ends June 30

ABFM provided a deadline extension to all physicians who had a three-year certification stage ending in 2020 or 2021. The extension, implemented to ease their burden during the Covid-19 pandemic, will conclude for both groups of physicians on June 30, 2022. To learn about what provisions ABFM has offered to help physicians maintain their certification during the pandemic, visit www.theabfm.org/covid-19.

Many new resources are also available to help physicians meet their certification requirements. For a complete summary of what’s new with certification and tips to help physicians complete their current stage, review our new handout

It’s important to note that the current stage extension overlaps with the physician’s next stage. The sooner they complete their current stage requirements, the more time these physicians will have to complete their new stage that will end in 2023 or 2024, respectively.

Please encourage your members to look at their requirements soon, especially if they have a June 30, 2022 deadline. If they have questions or need help, please refer them to the ABFM Support Center at 877-223-7437 or help@theabfm.org.

GHFA Seeking Applicants For Second Cycle 2022 Community Health Grant Awards Program

The Georgia Healthy Family Alliance (GHFA) is currently seeking applications for the second cycle of the 2022 Community Health Grant Awards program. Grant awards of up to $5,000 are made to GAFP member-sponsored community groups that support program priorities including underserved populations and community projects that promote healthy practices consistent with the principles of Family Medicine. Current GAFP members including medical students, residents and active/ life members are eligible to apply.

The application deadline for second cycle 2022 awards is May 14, 2022. Second cycle grant awards will be announced in June 2022.

Over the last ten years, the Community Health Grant Program has given over $500,000 in grants back to GAFP members, residency programs, FMIG groups and their communities including Wellstar Kennestone Family Medicine for the “Let’s Get Moving” Pedometer Project:                                                        

 ” I am motivated to live healthier for my children. I want to control my diabetes through exercise.” A Wellstar “Let’s Get Moving” Pedometer project participant on what motivates her to make healthy nutrition and exercise choices.

Visit www.georgiahealthyfamilyalliance.org/grants/ to download the 2022 application or view a list of previously funded grant projects.

Even if you do not have a community project that could benefit from a grant, please consider making a contribution so that the Alliance can continue to support these vital projects. All donations are tax deductible. Alliance contributions can be made easily online at www.georgiahealthyfamilyalliance.org/donate/ or  by contacting Alexis Klima at aklima@gafp.org or calling (800) 392-3841.

Members in the News

Congratulations to Amy Bailey, MD of Gainesville for receiving the Exemplary Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching in Undergraduate Medical Education from the Medical College of Georgia!

2022 Legislative Session Wrap Up

The Second Session of the 156th Georgia General Assembly gaveled the end of the session, Sine Die, on Monday, April 4.  All bills that did not pass both the House and Senate are dead. The bills that did pass both chambers now move to the Governor’s desk for his consideration and signature. The Governor has 40 days to sign or veto bills. We will continue to monitor these bills through the mid-May deadline. For the bills that become law, state agencies will then begin to issue regulations to support the new law.   A new legislative session (two-years/biennial) will start next year on Monday, January 9, 2023.

Session Wins – Key Initiatives:

  • $81 million added to the State Budget for Fiscal Year 2023 (begins July 1, 2022) to bring 108 codes (most commonly used by primary care physicians) up to 2018 Medicare rates. House Bill 911
  • Provide funds to increase select Obstetrical and Gynecological codes (59400, 59510, 59610, 59618) to 2020 Medicare reimbursement levels. House Bill 911
  • Mental Health Parity Act (House Bill 1013) – Includes sweeping reform for behavioral health including mental health insurance parity and loan forgiveness for primary care and psychiatric physicians. It will also mandate an 85 percent minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) requirement for Medicaid insurance plans. The bill was signed by Governor Kemp on April 4, 2022.
  • Expanding Medicaid Coverage for Post-Partum Women from Six Months to 12 Months –SB 338 The funding for this expansion of $28.2 million has been included in the 2023 budget.
  • Tort Reform – Allows for evidence of a non-party’s fault and authorize apportionment of damages in single-defendant lawsuits – House Bill 961
  • Scope of Practice- No advancement of independent practice by non-physician clinicians occurred during this session

Additional Bills We Supported/ Opposed:

House Bill 369 which included numerous expansions for APRNs, and PAs – did not pass.

House Bill 430 would have allowed APRNs and PAs to fill out documentation for a patient to apply for license plates and parking permits for those with disabilities – did not pass. 

Public Health – Include Vaping in State Indoor Smoking Act – House Bill 1348 House Bill 1348, which if passed, would add “vaping” as an additional smoking device that is outlawed in code from the 20005 Indoor Smoking Act.  This bill passed the House (149-12) on March 3rd and was one of the many bills left “on the table” on the last day of the session.  This bill, unfortunately, did not pass.

Administrative Relief – Removal of Prior Authorizations for Chronic Medications – Senate Bill 341 The Georgia Academy voted to support passage of Senate Bill 341, sponsored by Senator Kay Kirkpatrick, MD.  This will mandate insurance plans to forgo prior authorization for chronic medications.  This would be for non-ERISA (federally exempt) insurance plans as the State cannot enact changes to ERISA Insurance plans.  This bill did pass.

Medical Malpractice Legislative Relief Bills  – House Bill 807 and House Bill 961 House Bill 961, which the Academy supported, along with a large coalition, including the trial attorneys and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce would restore apportioning of damages to all responsible parties.  This bill passed and is pending the Governor’s signature. The Academy also supported House Bill 807 (CANDOR – Communication & Optimum Resolution).  This bill, if passed, would have allowed there to be pre-litigation between the medical community and patients if there has been a perceived harm during treatment.  This bill did not pass.

COVID Vaccine exemption (Senate Bill 345) prohibits state and local governments and their agencies from mandating COVID-19 vaccine passports for any services or access to any facility.  The law will cease to be in effect on June 30, 2023, and does not apply if compliance is required by CMS regulations.

Death Certificates (Senate Bill 496) requires a medical examiner’s inquiry after the death of a pregnant women or a women who has been pregnant within 365 days prior and would also define the term “unattended by a physician” for the purposes of a medical examiner’s inquiry as a patient who has not been seen by a physician within 180 days for a condition or illness likely to have cause or contributed to such individual’s death.  This bill passed and is pending the Governor’s review/signature. Health

Care Workers Wellness Program (House Bill 1533) would have provided confidentiality protections to participants in a wellness program for clinicians.  The Georgia Academy supported this measure, and it passed the House but died “on the table” in the Senate on Day 40.

Transgender High School Athletes (House Bill 1087) authorizes the Georgia High School Association to ban transgender girls to compete against other girls in public school sports.  This bill passed on the last day of the session and has been sent to the Governor for review/signature.

Lead Screening for Children (House Bill 1355) will lower the level of lead in children’s blood that would trigger state regulatory action, which includes testing, warning letters and required correction of the problem.  The new poisoning level threshold would be the CDC guideline of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter. That’s much lower than Georgia’s current 10 micrograms, a standard that experts say leaves many children at risk.  This bill passed on the last day of the session is pending review / signature by the Governor.

Got Transition Webinar Available Now Focusing on Preventive Care for Adolescents

The Georgia Academy partners with the Department of Public Health’s Maternal and Child Division to educate family physicians and their clinical teams on an array of issues.  One key component is education related to transitioning the pediatric and adolescent patient population to the appropriate physician, if the patient is no longer able to be treated by the family physician (moved / college-bound, etc.).

Got Transition hosted a recent online seminar to discuss ways to incorporate health care transition into preventive care for adolescents. Learn how to align the transition and preventive care national performance measures and hear directly from the Title V team from Hawaii about their own experience, including examples of trainings and tools.

Click here to listen and learn:  New Webinar Recording: Incorporating HCT into Preventive Care (with Hawaii Title V)

Got Transition® is the federally funded national resource center on health care transition (HCT). Its aim is to improve the transition from pediatric to adult health care through the use of evidence-driven strategies for clinicians and other health care professionals; public health programs; payers and plans; youth and young adults; and parents and caregivers.

Got Transition is a program of The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health and is funded through a cooperative agreement from the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration.

Working with a broad range of partners, our goals are to:

  • Establish a new network with the medical home and financing centers to coordinate efforts to achieve quality care, decrease costs, and improve experience of care.
  • Engage youth/young adults/families on the importance of a planned transition from pediatric to adult care.
  • Strengthen HCT evidence and policy analysis.
  • Increase practice/system adoption of evidence-informed practices.
  • Enhance engagement of key stakeholder organizations in HCT clinical, educational, and policy improvements.
  • Update and expand Got Transition’s website capability and communication strategies.