Volume 114, No. 3Top
March 2018 Edition

They Said It...

"This therapy is a significant step forward in individualized cancer treatment that may have a tremendous impact on patients' lives" Carl June, MD, talks about his breakthrough in gene therapy. The Richard W. Vague Professor of Immunotherapy, Director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in Penn's Perelman School of Medicine is the cover story of the Spring 2018 issue of our magazine, Philadelphia Medicine, that will soon reach your mailbox.

In the News... 
Insurer Refused to Get Physician Review as it Repeatedly Rejected Patient Requests for Coverage A1

A former California medical director for Aetna has admitted under oath that he never looked at patients' records before deciding whether to approve or deny care.

The California insurance commissioner said making such decisions without a physician actually ever reviewing medical records is "potentially a violation of law."

Theodore Christopher, MD, president of the Pa. Medical Society (PAMED) says, "if it's happening in California, where else is it happening?"

The problem stems from prior authorization, the process health insurers follow before approving care recommended to a patient by their physician. Dr. Christopher said a Pa. proposal that could help solve the problem in this state, HB 1293, is stalled in committee. The bill would improve transparency and give health insurers a deadline to make a decision.

Dr. Christopher encourages you to contact your state representatives and urge them to support HB 1293.

If you are having prior authorization problems with an insurer you can file a complaint through the Pa. Dept. of Insurance website or call: 1-877-881-6388.

Soda Tax Fight Again Bubbles to the Surface A2

The Philadelphia tax on soda and other sweetened beverages is going to have yet another day in court. The Pa. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of the American Beverage Association and local businesses who lost in Commonwealth Court last year.

Lawyers representing the beverage industry and local retailers argue that the levy is an unconstitutional double tax on consumers. The 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax is imposed on distributors, but the beverage industry says retailers are passing on the tax to consumers who already pay sales tax.

The city says it raised $78.8 million in the first year of the tax. The money's being used to fund pre-K, community schools, and improve parks and recreation centers. Opponents of the law say it has cost jobs.

A Tie Can Sometimes be Worse Than Kissing Your Sister A3

Members of the Pennsylvania House rejected a measure designed to help curb opioid abuse among injured workers, by the narrowest of margins, a tie vote of 98-98.

The Senate had approved SB 936 by a 34 to 16 vote, but supporters say an aggressive effort by labor unions and trial lawyers blocked passage in the House. The bill would use formularies to guide what medications to prescribe, to help keep patients from taking too many addictive pain killers.

Supporters say Texas, Ohio and California have similar laws in place that have helped reduce the number of injured workers who become addicted to opioids.

Critics argue that the bill is not an effort to aid injured workers or reduce opioid abuse but is just another way to save insurers money.

A Handoff the Eagles Would Admire A4

The Pa. Dept. of Health (DOH) is holding a regional summit for our area on how to carry out a warm handoff for opioid overdose survivors. The summit will gather stakeholders from the public and private sector to demonstrate how to transfer opioid overdose survivors from emergency care to a treatment provider.

The summit in the Southeast Region will be held on March 27 at 1:30 PM at the Presidential Caterers of Distinction in East Norriton, Montgomery County. To view event details and register, go to: https://www.haponline.org/Event-Details/id/249. Registration will close on March 20.

You are encouraged to complete an assessment survey in advance of the summit, by going to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WarmHandOffSurvey. The survey will close at midnight, March 9.

Please limit participation in the summit to one individual per facility.

Overdose Prevention Training A5

Do you need to learn more about recognizing harm-reduction approaches to high-risk behaviors, including substance abuse? Or how to effectively administer Naloxone (Narcan), which helps prevent fatal opioid overdoses? Or what Pa.'s Good Samaritan Act 139 is, or what's the state's standing order for Naloxone?

You can get answers to these and other related questions by attending an Overdose Prevention Training session.

They're sponsored by Philadelphia's Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services.

Classes are being offered on the third Wednesday of each month (except March), from February through December, from 10 AM to noon, at Community Behavioral Health, 801 Market Street, 7th Floor.

For more information, visit DBHIDS.org/opioid, or email Pamela.McClenton@phila.gov.

Jefferson University MD Named "Everyday Hero" A6

Dr. Wayne Bond Lau, associate professor of emergency medicine at Jefferson University Hospitals, is PAMED's Everyday Hero for the month of February.

Dr. Lau was honored for his work in Philadelphia's North Chinatown, where for 10 years he has volunteered at the clinic at Holy Redeemer Church. He has provided free medical care at the clinic to about 2,000 patients a year. Most of his clinic patients are uninsured, undocumented and financially disadvantaged. Many of them need medical care for chronic issues such as diabetes and hypertension.

Dr. Lau has also done volunteer work in China. PAMED president, Dr. Theodore Christopher said Dr. Lau, "despite his rigorous and robust academic and clinical commitments at Jefferson, has devoted himself to selfless volunteerism every week of the year."

PAMED's Everyday Hero Award is designed to showcase talented physicians who are heroes to their patients and colleagues.

March is the Month to Give a Special Reminder to Your Patients A7

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. Early screening often leads to a cure, so you're encouraged to urge your Medicare patients to get a screening.

For more information go to: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/index.htm, or https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Prevention/PrevntionGenInfo/index.html.

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20 - Block Captain Program: Hands-On CPR Training

Date: Tuesday, March 20. 2018
Time: 5:30 PM - Buffet
Program: 6:00 PM - 8:15 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society, 2100 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Philadelphia Block Captains and community leaders are invited to attend this meeting which will include hands-on CPR training as well as announcements and opportunities from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, and an update on the new Medicare card.

To RSVP please contact Eileen Ryan at eryan@philamedsoc.org or call (215) 563-5343 x 113.

24 - Medical Cannabis Certification Course

Date: Saturday, March 24, 2018
Time: 8:15 AM - 12:45 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society, 2100 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Physicians who want to recommend medical cannabis to patients and medical professionals and pharmacists who will be employed in dispensaries must take this approved training. With Pennsylvania's Medical Marijuana program now operating, all healthcare professionals are encouraged to become educated on the program, qualifying serious health conditions, potential drug-drug interactions, and safety and risk information to discuss with patients.

21 - The Philadelphia Psychiatric Society Annual Women's Brunch: "Breaking Through: Equal, Empowered, Effective Female Physicians"

Date: Saturday, April 21, 2018
Time: 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Place: The Inn at Swathmore, 10 South Chester Rd, Swarthmore PA 19081 

The Philadelphia Psychiatric Society will be holding its Annual Women's Brunch featuring speakers Anita Everett, MD, Elisabeth J. Kunkel, MD, and Barbara Wingate, MD.

23 - Grand Rounds: Immunizations

Date: Monday, April 23, 2018
Time: 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society, 2100 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

This event will cover the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases, childhood and adolescent vaccine recommendations, the changing environment of adult immunization work, strategies to improve immunization coverage rates, system-based interventions and team approaches.

28 - Clinical Approaches to the Patient with Gastrointestinal Illness

Date: Saturday, April 28, 2018
Time: 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society, 2100 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

A Continuing Medical Education Program that should be attended by physicians, residents/fellows, medical students, nurses, physician assistants, psychologists and allied health care professionals. Topics include constipation and functional bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, end stage liver disease and pancreatic disease.

2 - Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience

Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Time: 8:00 AM - 5:15 PM
Art Show and Reception: 5:15 PM - 6:30 PM
Place: NAS Building, 2101 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20418

This public meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to actively engage with the Action Collaborative and will feature expert panels on diversity, inclusion, and loneliness, with a session on workflow redesign to improve clinician well-being and enhance joy in practice.

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