Volume 115, No. 4Top
April 2019 Edition

They Said It...

"There does appear to be a statistically significant 'Philadelphia Effect' in malpractice cases compared to the rest of the state, indicating that venue does indeed play a role in outcomes." Conclusion of a study carried out by Doctors James Miranda, Gerald Wydro and John Schroeder, Department of Emergency Medicine, Jefferson Health Northeast. Their article is in the spring issue of the PCMS magazine, "Philadelphia Medicine." You can find the article by going here.

In the News... 

"Safehouse" Tells Judge the Law's on its Side A1

The Philadelphia nonprofit, Safehouse, has responded to the February federal civil lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice, to try to prevent Safehouse from opening in the city the nation's first supervised injection site for opioid users.

Attorneys for Safehouse argue in a filing in federal court that drug laws do not apply to medical facilities and that the organization is driven by a "moral and religious imperative to save lives."

Prosecutors have asked a judge to rule on the legality of a facility where people with addiction bring their own illegal drugs and use them under the supervision of medical staff. Federal prosecutors cited federal law known as the crack house statute, which states that it's a crime to open a facility "for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing or using any controlled substance."

The Safehouse legal team has responded that the proposed facility would not be a crack house, but a facility designed to provide "urgent, lifesaving medical care" to those at risk of dying from an overdose.

Lead attorney for Safehouse, Ilana Eisenstein, a former federal prosecutor, said the crack house statute was not created in order to prevent what she calls a "public health intervention."

The nonprofit's lawyers also argue that preventing such injection sites would violate the group's Judeo-Christian convictions about "preserving life."

There's no word on when U.S. District Court Judge Gerald McHugh will rule on the case.

What's Your Opinion? A2

The Philadelphia County Medical Society is conducting a brief, one question survey regarding the above article. Your response will be confidential.

Do you support "Safehouse," the Philadelphia nonprofit that's trying to open the nation's first supervised injection site for opioid users?

Veterans Suicide Prevention Summit A3

The Society of Ibero Latin American Medical Professionals (SILAMP) and the Philadelphia County Medical Society have partnered with the Pennsylvania Governor's Commission for Latino Affairs (GACLA) to host a "Veterans Suicide Prevention Summit" on Saturday, April 27.

About 22 veterans commit suicide every day, which amounts to a devastating national crisis. Our mission for this summit is to effectively problem solve, generate realistic action plans and develop guidelines in an effort to help solve this problem. The summit will include brief presentations, panel discussions and questions and answer sessions with experts who will discuss this crisis and its risk factors; such as, substance use disorders, behavioral disorders and social determinants. We will review the efficacy of the current interventions and collaborate in strategic group breakout sessions to elicit concrete action plans. The summit will conclude with a reception and networking event.

The program runs from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM at the Philadelphia County Medical Society building. All PCMS members are invited to attend. If you are interested, please register at: https://www.silamphealth.com/veterans-suicide-summit

Volunteers are needed on the day of the event to help with registration, greeting and transcription. For additional details, please call Mark Austerberry at 215-563-5343 x 101.

Scam Artists Targeting Physicians A4

Physicians in Pennsylvania are getting emails telling them they must go to a link to verify their licensure status.

The email includes the subject line "Maintenance of Licensure (MOL) ACTION REQUIRED." It claims that "the state of Pennsylvania requires annual validation of each provider's basic demographic information for the purpose of Maintenance and Licensure (MOL)."

The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) says the email is a scam and is calling on physicians to not click on the link, and to not provide any personal information in response to it. PAMED says the State Board of Medicine has confirmed that it has not sent or authorized the email.

You can view a sample of the email here: https://www.pamedsoc.org/docs/librariesprovider2/pamed-documents/licensure-scam-email.pdf?sfvrsn=83fc40a1_2

PAMED says cardiologists have received fraudulent mail from a phony organization called the "American Board of Cardiovascular Disease," asking them to complete a form and submit a $500 payment to continue certification in cardiology.

The bogus correspondence looks like this: https://www.pamedsoc.org/docs/librariesprovider2/pamed-documents/cardiology-scam.pdf?sfvrsn=c0d362a8_2

PAMED Reacts to Pres. Trump's Call to End Affordable Care Act A5

The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) strongly opposes any effort to end the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without having a viable plan to replace it.

Dr. John Gallagher, chair of PAMED's Board of Trustees wrote to Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, that the latest legal attack on the ACA will have an impact on virtually every American and create a budget disaster for Pennsylvania.

Dr. Gallagher wrote, "one of PAMED's guiding principles regarding health system reform is health care coverage should be available and affordable to all American citizens and legal residents."

He added that PAMED has great concerns about removing affordable health care coverage from patients without a plan for replacement coverage.

"When patients lose their health care coverage," he wrote, "they will frequently delay, or worse, stop seeking health care, regardless of their needs. This results in sicker patients, a less healthy population, and ultimately worse patient outcomes."

Since calling for an end to the ACA a few weeks ago, President Trump has backtracked, saying the voters should decide in 2020 who should fix the health care system.

You can find Dr. Gallagher's entire letter by going to www.pamedsoc.org

PAMED Joins Coalition Opposing Tax on ASCs A6

PAMED has joined a coalition of 18 state medical societies and the Pennsylvania Ambulatory Surgery Association to oppose Governor Wolf's call for a tax on ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs).

PAMED said such a tax would force at least a quarter of the facilities to operate in the red. Some of them would be forced to cut back on investing in replacement technology, cut services, or close.

PAMED writes that the tax "could dramatically decrease patients access to quality, affordable community-based health care in Pennsylvania."

PAMED warns that the tax would force many patients to go to hospitals, where the costs for such procedures are much higher.

You can let your legislator know of your opposition to the tax by going to http://cqrcengage.com/pamed/Lookup?0

It's Time to Get Rid of Your Old Prescription Drugs A7

April 27 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a day dedicated to removing from homes controlled prescription drugs that are no longer being used. Studies have shown that those who get their hands on prescription drugs illegally, often find them in the homes of family or friends, usually in a medicine cabinet.

To find a drop-off location near you, click here -- https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.

Time to Gear up for the Season of Sneezes and Wheezes A8

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) is reminding health care providers that spring can be a very tough time for patients with asthma and allergic rhino-conjunctivitis.

Providers are urged to help patients prepare for pollen season-related illnesses, by:
  • Assessing patients' asthma and allergy control needs;
  • Educating patients about avoiding asthma and allergy triggers, by monitoring daily pollen counts, which can be checked online at http://pollen.aaaai.org/nab/index.cfm?p=allergenreport&stationid=92
  • Limiting time outdoors when pollen counts are high;
  • Changing clothes and showering after outdoor activities;
  • Wearing sunglasses when outdoors;
  • Keeping windows closed;
  • Helping parents create an asthma action plan for their children when they are at school.
Additional resources about asthma and environmental triggers, including printable checklists for caregivers and educational materials for children, are available from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at https://www.epa.gov/asthma/resources-about-asthma.

A Call for Physicians to "Heal Thyself" A9

The current statistics on physician burnout is alarming.

Half of all physicians polled report feeling burnout and/or symptoms of clinical depression. Untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide, and physicians have the highest rate of suicide of any profession.

Female physicians are 2.3 times more likely to kill themselves than the general population. Male physicians are 1.4 times more likely.

In Philadelphia there is an agency designed to help - "LiveWell Physicians." It provides mental health wellness support for physicians, by physicians. To learn more about how it can help you better manage stress, burnout, or depression go to https://www.livewell-foundation.org/livewellphysicians.

Calendar of EventsCalendar

16 - Medical Cannabis Certification 4-Hour Live Webinar

Date: Tuesday, April 16
Time: 5:15 PM - 9:30 PM

The purpose of this course is to educate physicians, pharmacists, certified registered nurse practitioners or physician assistants seeking to register with the Pennsylvania Department of Health's Medical Marijuana Program. All health professionals interested in learning more about medical cannabis are also encouraged to attend. Discounted rates are available to members of PCMS (Equivalent to the rate for USciences Alumni).

23 - Women in Medicine

Date: Tuesday, April 23
Time: 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society, 2100 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Come join us as we host our 2019 Women in Medicine networking program. Our event promotes networking and collegiality and presents ideas and solutions for issues specifically affecting female physicians in Philadelphia.

27 - Veterans Suicide Prevention Summit

Date: Saturday, April 27
Time: 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society, 2100 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

The Society of Ibero Latin American Medical Professionals (SILAMP) and the Philadelphia County Medical Society have partnered with the Pennsylvania Governor's Commission for Latino Affairs (GACLA) to host a "Veterans Suicide Prevention Summit" on Saturday, April 27.

Our mission for this summit is to effectively problem solve, generate realistic action plans and develop guidelines in an effort to help resolve this national crisis. The summit will include brief presentations, panel discussions, questions and answer sessions with experts, group breakout sessions and will conclude with a reception and networking event. All PCMS members are invited to attend.

23 - Deterring Dementia Through Diet

Date: Thursday, May 23
Time: 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society, 2100 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

What are the nutritional factors in the dementia epidemic? How much of this disorder is preventable? Learn the surprising data on nutritional factors at this free evening program at PCMS.

29 - President's Installation and Awards Night

Date: Saturday, June 29
Place: The Philadelphia Country Club, 1601 Spring Mill Road, Gladwyne, PA 19035

Save the date! This year we will be celebrating the Inauguration of James L. Cristol, MD, as the 158th President of the Philadelphia County Medical Society.

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