Volume 112, No.2
February 2016
They Said It

"Mosquito transmission is the highway, whereas sexual transmission is the byway. Sexual transmission cannot account for this sudden and widespread transmission of this virus." Dr. William Schaffner, Chief of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical School, on a person in Texas contracting the Zika virus through sex. New York Times , February 2, 2016

In The News 

He's Dr. Thomas A. Farley, the man who shook up the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene when he was that agency's boss.

The feds have second thoughts about the meaningful use program, and they're a killer.

T here's now an easy-breezy way to get a hardship exception from the Medicare Electronic Health Records Incentive Program.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration makes a move concerning marijuana that puts a smile on the face of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (If it had a face).

The Pennsylvania budget is seven months overdue, and that's a real migraine for many health-related programs in the state.

Pretty soon it may no longer take almost forever to go through Pennsylvania's physician credentialing process.

Philly Pops celebrates our community's effort to battle breast cancer by performing in front of a standing room only Kimmel Center crowd that will include many breast cancer survivors.

It's time to nominate your favorite doctors for the Philadelphia County Medical Society's most prestigious honors.

Nobody counted calories at the 23rd Annual Wing Bowl at the Wells Fargo Center, Friday, February 5, so we did.

topdocPhilly's New Top Doc
Mayor Kenney has appointed Dr. Thomas A. Farley, as Philadelphia's new health commissioner. Dr. Farley, a trained pediatrician is the former commissioner of New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. During his time in NYC he helped make the city's parks and beaches smoke-free, banned the price discounting of cigarettes, rained the legal age for tobacco sales to 21, and restricted the burning of dirty fuels to heat buildings.

"The job of the city's Health Commissioner is to help make Philadelphia a healthy place in which to live, work, and play," Dr. Farley said, after his appointment, "I'm excited to help the city take the next steps to becoming one of the healthiest cities in the nation."

nevermindNever Mind
It looks like the end is near for the meaningful use program. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, says the program would likely end this year. As recently as this past October, Slavitt said meaningful use stage 3 is "what everybody will be doing...in 2018 and beyond." He now says it will be replaced with something better. The AMA has been critical of the program, and has been working with CMS to come up with something better.

When Hardship Isn't So Hard
It's now easier to get a hardship exception from the Medicare Electronic Health Records Incentive Program 2017. The new simpler applications you have to fill out are now available. Hardship exceptions are now considered for categories of eligible professionals (EPs) and hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs). EPs have until March 15 to submit an application. Eligible hospitals and CAHs have until April 1. Here's where to go for more details: Medicare EHR Hardship Exception Information 

Weeding the Garden
The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) has given an atta boy (or atta girl) to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for deciding to relax requirements on marijuana research. 

PAMED has been urging the FDA to make marijuana a Schedule II substance, so more research can be done on it for potential medical uses.

As we recently reported in our magazine version of Philadelphia Medicine , PAMED is doing all it can to try to stop the Pennsylvania legislature from passing a medical marijuana bill. PAMED argues that such a bill should not be approved until research verifies the drug's safety and effectiveness.

There's No Clock in Baseball
This week, Governor Wolf submits his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. The only problem is the state doesn't have a finished budget for THIS year. The Pennsylvania state budget is now seven months past due. The Governor signed a partial budget at the end of December, but that document doesn't help pay for many programs that depend on state money, including health-related items such as hospital-based burn centers, obstetrics and neonatal services, and regional cancer institutes.

If you know when the rest of the budget will be passed, you should be playing the lottery.

footballBut There's a Clock in Football
A bill in the state house would streamline the physician credentialing process. Right now it takes pretty close to forever - well, often several months -- for a licensed health care professional to get fully credentialed. Insurers don't reimburse hospitals and physician practices for the work done by these newly hired health care professionals until the credentialing process is complete. The delays are costing those parties a lot of money. HB 1663 would change all of that. Learn more at www.pamedsoc.org/credentialing.

goingsroGoing SRO in the Fight Against Breast Cancer
The Kimmel Center will be packed on Saturday February 13, for an entertainment extravaganza honoring the heroic efforts being made in our area to battle breast cancer. 

Former PCMS President, Dr. Curtis Miyamoto, who is Chair of Temple University Hospital's Department of Radiation Oncology, is medical Co-Director of Strength & Survival: The Universal Language.

The event is sponsored by Komen Philadelphia, which is a part of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists. Twenty-five local doctors will be on stage, paired with 25 breast cancer survivors, to give testimonials on the effort to overcome the disease. Their presentations will be augmented by performances by the Philly Pops and other entertainers. 

It's our version of the Oscars, but no acting skills are needed. All you have to do to be honored, is be one heck of a good doctor.

STRITTMATTER AWARD - To a PCMS physician who has demonstrated to the Society the most valuable contributions to the healing art, surgical or medical.
PRACTITIONER OF THE YEAR AWARD - To a PCMS member for excellence in patient care and community service.
THE VANITHA APPPADORAI VAIDYA AWARD FOR HUMANENESS IN -MEDICINE - To a resident/fellow physician for his/her exceptional ability to work with people, patients, and their families, and for their understanding of human as well as clinical needs.
CRISTOL AWARD - To a PCMS physician member who has made a significant contribution to the Society by furthering and enhancing functions of organized medicine. 
Send your nomination letters to: eryan@philamedsoc.org
Please phone (215) 563-5343 X 113 for information.
Nomination deadline for all Awards is February 14, 2016.

weightwatchersFalling Off the Weight Watchers Wagon
The winner of the 94 WIP Sports Radio's 24th annual Wing Bowl is Molly Schuyler. She won for the second time in three years by wolfing down 429 buffalo wings.  If you count her calorie intake, you'd come up with a very big number - in the neighborhood of about 21,450. That means the 125 pound Schuyler consumed about the same number of calories that the average woman consumes in just under two weeks.
Six contestants were disqualified for vomiting.



9 -    A Talk on the Ebola Epidemic in Sierra Leone - Dr. Claudena Skran will share her findings from recent interviews with dozens of children and adults from Sierra Leone today at 5:30 PM in Room 108 at the Free Library of Philadelphia on the Parkway; no tickets required. Phone (215) 817-0029 for information.
16  Contract Review Program (FREE)   Addresses employment contracts, negotiating tips, duties and obligations. A must for residents and fellows 
and historically widely attended. 
Where:  PCMS-- 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

17 -   LARC Increasing Access to Long Acting Reversible Contraception For Women in Philadelphia -  (FREE)   CME Public Health Program with the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
Where: College of Physicians -- 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

26 - Opportunities for patient care coordination in Emergency Departments across the Greater Philadelphia Region -    
(FREE) CME program with the HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pa.  
Where: PCMS -- 8:00 AM - 10:30 AM 

   Philadelphia County Medical Society |  stat@philamedsoc.org 
215-563-5343 | http://philamedsoc.org/