IAFP News Bites
April 22, 2020
For the next several weeks, we will be sending out IAFP New Bites every Wednesday. 

The weekly e-news will increase our ability to provide you COVID-19 updates in one central location.
COVID-19 Resources
With the global spread of COVID-19,  IAFP wishes to provide members with the most accurate information as the Coronavirus situation evolves and wishes to direct members to four primary resources: 

  CDC's Coronavirus Center for Healthcare Professionals: Updated daily. Direct access to interim guidance on key issues, extensive health resources, etc.

  AAFP's Coronavirus Center: As more is being learned about the coronavirus infection, the AAFP has a team that is monitoring the situation on a daily basis and posting all relevant updates on its  dedicated COVID-19 resource . There is a lot of evolving, and sometimes inaccurate, information about the situation, so members can be confident that this page contains the most recent information they need that is aligned with the CDC and focused squarely on family medicine.

IOWA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH:  Provides a variety of resources for physicians, patients and the public.

We are also continually  adding links to resources and information to our IAFP COVID-19 website  that we think will benefit our members. 

AAFP to Hold Weekly
 Town Hall  on COVID-19 on Wednesdays
AAFP will be holding a weekly town hall
every Wednesday night from 7:00- 8:00 pm to provide updates on COVID-19. CME is available for participating. 

Here is a description of tonight's webinar:
Adapting in the midst of chaos is critical to serving patients during a pandemic. Join us tomorrow night to learn practical tips from employed family physicians, Deborah Edberg, MD and Michael Hanak, MD, FAAFP, from Rush University Medical Center. They'll share how they've adapted during the COVID-19 crisis to the challenges of evolving clinical needs and processes, balancing life at home while managing telehealth visits, advising and influencing health system leadership, and demonstrating the value of family medicine to their health system during COVID-19 and beyond

You can join the Town Hall via the links below:
Twitter:  twitter.com/aafp

AAFP to Offer Free COVID-19 Live Webinar Update with CME on Fridays
AAFP has put together a Live CME credit webinar series that will take place each Friday night at  7:00 pm central on the COVID-19 crisis.  This week the topic is "Ventilator Management and the COVID-19 Crisis: What Family Physicians Need to Know."

The sessions are  completely free  and involve a presentation with extensive learner driven Q&A with follow-up on the learning community. Each week they will address clinical issues that they hope will help learners tackle this crisis. More information can be found at the link below
Daily COVID-19 Updates from
 IAFP Lobbyist 
IAFP Lobbyist, David Adelman, from Cornerstone Government Affairs, is providing state and national COVID-19 updates daily.  These can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the IAFP COVID-19 website.
Join the New IAFP Member COVID-19 Facebook Community
The IAFP has created a private Facebook community group for Iowa Academy of Family Physicians members. The purpose of this group is to provide Iowa family physicians a place to connect and share ideas and information regarding COVID-19. You can request to join the private group HERE.
COVID-19: AAFP Changes to CME Requirements and Member Dues  
As you focus on serving your patients, AAFP has canceled all live, in-person CME events through May 31, we want to make sure you have one less thing to worry about. Thus, we are making the following changes related to CME requirements and dues, effective immediately:
  • AAFP members whose CME re-election cycle ends on Dec. 31, 2020, who have not met the requirement, will have an additional year to fulfill their CME requirement.
  • Members whose CME re-election cycle ended on Dec. 31, 2019 will now have until Dec. 31, 2020 to report their CME, which they earned prior to Dec. 31, 2019, to remain eligible for membership (original deadline was May 5, 2020).
  • Any members who have not yet paid their 2020 dues will now have until July 14, 2020 to do so.

More information can be found HERE

Six Things to Know About the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Payments
The federal government recently started doling out an initial $30 billion in COVID-19 aid payments to physicians and other Medicare fee-for-service providers, as part of the $100 billion provider relief fund under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The direct deposit payments began hitting bank accounts April 10. Whether you were expecting these deposits or they were a nice surprise, there are a few things physicians should know about them. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
CMS Encouraging Clinicians who Participate in QPP to Contribute to Scientific Research and Evidence to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic. 
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is encouraging clinicians who participate in the Quality Payment Program (QPP), such as physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and others, to contribute to scientific research and evidence to fight the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Clinicians may now earn credit in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), a performance-based track of QPP that incentivizes quality and value, for participation in a clinical trial and reporting clinical information by attesting to the new COVID-19 Clinical Trials improvement activity. This action will provide vital data to help drive improvement in patient care and develop innovative best practices to manage the spread of COVID-19 within communities.

"T he best scientific and medical minds in the world are working night and day to find treatments to combat Coronavirus," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. "But without solid data, their efforts are liable to run up against a brick wall. At the direction of President Trump, CMS is supporting efforts of researchers to obtain solid, actionable data to accelerate the development of new treatments and our understanding of the coronavirus. Today's action encourages clinicians to report data that will help us monitor the spread of the virus, find innovative medical solutions, and unleash scientific discovery as we seek to overcome this terrible disease."

In o rder to receive credit for the new MIPS COVID-19 Clinical Trials improvement activity, clinicians must attest that they participate in a COVID-19 clinical trial utilizing a drug or biological product to treat a patient with a COVID-19 infection and report their findings through a clinical data repository or clinical data registry for the duration of their study.

The new improvement activity provides flexibility in the type of clinical trial, which could include the traditional double-blind placebo-controlled trial to an adaptive or pragmatic design that flexes to workflow and clinical practice. It also carries a high weight from a scoring perspective. This means that clinicians who report this activity will automatically earn half of the total credit needed to earn a maximum score in the MIPS improvement activities performance category, which counts as 15 percent of the MIPS final score.

For example, clinical trials could include those conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH). Clinicians could also report through a clinical data repository, such as Oracle's COVID-19 Therapeutic Learning System. Oracle has developed and donated a system to the U.S. government that allows clinicians and patients at no cost to record the effectiveness of promising COVID-19 drug therapies. Having clinicians use an open source data tool to submit their findings will bring the results of their research to the forefront of healthcare much faster, leading to improvements in care delivery and the ability to treat COVID-19 patients.

This action, along with the unprecedented regulatory flexibilities recently introduced, is just one part of the agency's efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic. CMS, in coordination with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, remains committed to reducing regulator burden and supporting clinicians, stakeholders, and the health care community to identify unique solutions that enhance care for patients and further mitigate the spread of the virus.

This action, and earlier CMS actions in response to the COVID-19 virus, are part of the ongoing White House Task Force efforts. To keep up with the important work the Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19 click here www.coronavirus.gov. For information specific to CMS, please visit the Current Emergencies Website.

To view a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies currently being conducted on corona virus visit: https://clinicaltrials.gov/
Palliative Medicine in 
COVID-19 Patients  
 A message from IAFP Board Chair, James Bell, M.D., St. Luke's Palliative Care Medical Director

Dear colleagues,
There are many ways Iowa family physicians may be called on to support our patients and the public in the midst of the pandemic crisis.  Information is overwhelming, coming from multiple sources, and seems to be ever changing.  We at the IAFP want to be responsive to the needs of our membership but not just part of the information overload.  I practice palliative medicine and have access to resources for conversations and symptom management at end of life for patients with Covid-19. 

Click HERE for links on some specific topics of interest.   Please reach out to me personally at the email address below if I can provide assistance or answer any questions. 
Sincerely, Jim Bell, MD
IAFP Board Chair
Iowa Academy of Family Physicians | 515-283-9370 | m ail@iaafp.org | w ww.iaafp.org
Pam Williams, Executive Vice President, pwilliams@iaafp.org
Katie Cox, Deputy  Executive Vice President , kcox@iaafp.org
Kelly Scallon, Director of Education and Advocacy, kscallon@iaafp.org