Volume 112, No.12
December 2016 Edition
They Said It...
"A costly, punitive process that gives the illusion of evaluating physician competence with a recertification test that bears little resemblance to the skills needed to deliver high quality medical care." Dr. Scott Shapiro, immediate past president of the Pa. Medical Society (PAMED), makes it clear he's not a fan of the ABIM's maintenance of certification process. You can read his detailed criticism in the winter issue of the PCMS magazine, Philadelphia Medicine.

Deadly Batch of Heroin Blamed for Nine Deaths in PhiladelphiaA1

Philadelphia Police say a batch of heroin in the Kensington section of the city during the first weekend in December, has been linked to at least nine deaths. The victims died within a few blocks of each other. They were men and women, ranging in age from their 20s to 40s.

District Attorney Seth Williams said more people would've died if first responders had not reversed some overdoses with NARCAN. Philadelphia Police say NARCAN has saved more than 150 lives in the city this year. Williams vowed to increase efforts to track down and prosecute drug dealers.

The deadly drug overdoses in Kensington are the latest tragic chapter in the drug abuse epidemic in the city. Philadelphia is on a pace to have 840 drug overdose deaths this year-three times the number of homicides in the city. Eighty percent of those deaths will involve opioids, including prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl.

PCMS is working closely with Mayor Kenney's administration, to help confront the crisis.

Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) Releases New Guidelines for Prescribing OpioidsA2

PDPH issued the guidelines to help prevent one cause of the drug epidemic - patients becoming addicted to legally prescribed pain medication.

PDPH urges physicians to prescribe short-acting forms of opioids for three days or less. The department also says opioids should not be used as a first line or routine therapy for chronic pain. It says long-term opioid use should be reserved for cancer-related pain and palliative care.

PDPH says doctors should avoid prescribing both benzodiazepine and opioids at the same time. Doctors should also check the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) before writing a prescription.

For more information on the PDPH guidelines you can go to the PDPH health information portal at https://hip.phila.gov/EmergentHealthTopics/Opioids , or you can email PDPH at overdose.prevention@phila.gov .

The Perfect Time to Go for that Free Sample A3

PAMED has announced the completion of a sample Universal Patient Transfer Form (UPTF) for providers. The form is the culmination of a two-year effort on behalf of PAMED, the Hospital and Health Association of Pa., LeadingAge PA, and the Pa. Health Care Association.

It's designed to streamline the admission process for patients transferring from a nursing, assisted living, or personal care facility, to an inpatient hospital. Nineteen states are using UPTFs. So far, New Jersey is the only state that has mandated the use of the form.

The workgroup will now turn their efforts to creating a form that would be used when a patient is transferred from a hospital to a nursing or assisted living facility. To get details on the just-completed sample form contact Dennis Olmstead, PAMED senior advisor for health and economic policy, at dolmstead@pamedsoc.org .

It's still very early in the flu season, but there have been few severe influenza cases in Philadelphia. In the last week reported by the Philadelphia Dept. of Public Health - the week of November 20 - there were three confirmed reports of hospitalized flu cases in the city. Five laboratory confirmed cases of the flu were also reported, an increase from the previous week.

So far this season, no influenza deaths have been reported in the city. Officials also report that Pennsylvania's flu activity this season has been low and sporadic.

Several PCMS medical student members are concerned about the AMA's support for U.S. Rep. Tom Price for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The AMA endorsed the nomination of Dr. Price, saying he is "a leader in the development of health policies to advance patient choice and market-based solutions, as well as reduce excessive regulatory burdens that diminish time devoted to patient care and increase costs."

Jarrett Beaudoin, a medical student at Jefferson and a PCMS member, said he and several of his fellow students took issue with the AMA endorsement. "A bunch of us Jeff students were a little shocked to see the AMA coming out in support of Tom Price for HHS secretary, and more generally concerned about AMA's policy stance on repealing the ACA/Medicaid expansion."

Don't Forget to Take the Course on Child Abuse Recognition and ReportingA6

You cannot get your medical license renewed in Pennsylvania without taking an authorized program on recognizing child abuse and reporting it. You can take the two-hour course online by going to pamedsoc.org, then going to "Recognition and Reporting of Child Abuse."

The Ultimate Pat on the BackA7

It's time to submit your nominations for the 2017 PCMS awards:
  • Practitioner of the Year - Presented to a PCMS member for excellence in patient care and community service.
  • The Vanitha Appadorai Vaidya, MD Award for Humaneness in Medicine - Presented to a PCMS resident/fellow physician for working with people, patients, and their families, with an understanding of their human as well as clinical needs.
  • Cristol Award - Presented to a PCMS physician member who has made a significant contribution to the society, and has enhanced the educational, scientific and charitable goals, purposes and functions of organized medicine.
  • Strittmatter Award - Since 1923, this award has honored a PCMS physician who has demonstrated the most valuable contributions to the healing art, surgical or medical.
Submit your nominating letters to eryan@Philamedsoc.org , or by fax - 215-563-3627. The letters should describe in detail why you think the nominee deserves the award. For more information on the awards, you can call 215-563-5343, ext. 113.
Dating ServiceA8

9 - Teen Health Week

Date: January 9 - 15

10 - Public Health Committee

Date: January 10
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society

11 - Membership Committee

Date: January 11
Time: 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society

12 - Drexel Med Talk

Date: January 12
Time: Approximately 5:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Place: Drexel (Queen Lane Campus)

Check our website for updates on these events. 
Like our newsletter? Feel free to forward it to your colleagues!

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