Volume 113, No. 9Top
September 2017 Edition

They Said It...

"I woke up on a regular basis with needles in my arm." Theo Gordon-Hardy, describing the worst period of his drug addiction. He has been drug-free for four years, and is the co-founder of Healthy Habitats, three recovery living communities in Delaware County. His story is part of "Three Faces of Addiction" in the fall PCMS magazine edition of Philadelphia Medicine.

In the News... 
Five Cases of Legionnaires' Disease Found in Northeast Philadelphia A1

The Philadelphia Dept. of Public Health (PDPH) has identified five laboratory-confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease among residents of Northeast Philadelphia's Torresdale neighborhood.

The one woman and four men are at least 70 years old, and were all hospitalized in August. PDPH is looking for a common source for the infection. PDPH says physicians should consider Legionnaires' disease when evaluating patients with community-acquired pneumonia, or those with febrile respiratory illness.

If you confirm a case among your patients, report it to PDPH at 215-686-6740.

One Step Closer to the Pa. Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment Act A2

House Majority Whip Bryan Cutler has introduced House Bill 1196, the Pa. Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment Act, and Senator Gene Yaw has announced his intention to introduce a similar bill in the Senate.

POLST would be a medical order that would carry out a patient's specific goals for end-of-life care. Its directives are entirely voluntary, and are developed between patients, their caregivers and physicians, following a terminal diagnosis. The directives include out-of-hospital do-not-resuscitate preferences, use of antibiotics, certain comfort measures, and other end-of-life considerations.

Unlike advance directives, POLST would make an individual's preferences clear and legally binding across all health care settings - emergency medical services, health care facilities, home care and hospice care.

The bill is the result of a multi-year collaborative effort by 27 health care and patient advocacy organizations.

Pa. Medical Marijuana Update - In the Meantime... A3

Pa. residents who want to take medical marijuana don't have to wait until facilities open in the state. They can start getting it now through the Pa. Dept. of Health's (PDH's) safe harbor program.

The safe harbor program allows parents, legal guardians, or caregivers to buy medical marijuana in another state and bring it into Pa. They simply have to submit a Safe Harbor Physician form to PDH that's signed by a Pennsylvania-licensed physician. The safe harbor program is due to expire on May 17, 2018, when Pa. expects to have its own medical marijuana facilities available.

Good First Year for Pa. Prescription Drug Monitoring Program A4

Pa. PDMP has had an impressive first year. It registered 93,000 users in its first 12 months online. Physicians and pharmacists have used PDMP about 53,000 times each weekday. The number of young people who have received prescriptions for painkillers dropped 30%. And there was an 86% drop in the number of patients who went to at least five prescribers for Schedule II drugs in a three-month period.

Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Rachel Levine, MD, said that when health care providers spot patterns of addiction, they should have critical conversations with those patients, and refer them to treatment, if needed.

She was describing the so-called warm handoff protocol. You can find out ways to handle the warm handoff, by going to the DOH website at: http://www.health.pa.gov.

AMA Looking for a Few Good Foot Soldiers A5

The American Medical Association is asking physicians and other caregivers who want to protect patients' health care, to join the Very Important Physicians (VIP) program. The VIP program is set up to mobilize quickly when pressing issues, such as a health care bill, comes before Congress.

The AMA thanked those members who protected patients' health care by urging lawmakers to vote "no" on the flawed health care bills that surfaced in both the House and Senate this year.

For more information on the VIP program go to: https://www.ama-assn.org.

Pa. Supreme Court to Hear Malpractice Case that has a Facebook Twist A6

A woman's Facebook posts about her health condition have become the central issue in a medical malpractice case that has now gone to the Pa. Supreme Court.

The plaintiff in Nicolaou v. Martin et. al., Nancy Nicolaou, claimed that she could not have reasonably discovered her medical providers' negligence in misdiagnosing her Lyme disease as Multiple Sclerosis, within the two years that the state gives someone to file a medical liability lawsuit.

The defendants in the case, however, argue that Facebook posts by Nicolaou indicate she knew she had Lyme disease long before the two-year deadline, but failed to file.

The case could have far-reaching consequences for the state's discovery rule. And for allowing courts to use a plaintiff's social media posts as another way of determining that person's state of mind.

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15 - Bridging the Gaps: 27th Annual Symposium

Date: Friday, September 15
Time: 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Place: The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 4200 Wissahickon Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19129

This Annual Symposium is free to the public and is based on the work of students who have participated in the past year's Bridging the Gaps program. Bridging the Gaps is committed to forging partnerships with individuals and organizations dedicated to the promotion of health in underserved communities.

20 - 2017 Narcan Overdose Prevention Training Series

Date: Wednesday, September 20 and Wednesday, October 18
Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Place: 801 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

The Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services invites you to a Narcan overdose prevention training series in an effort to increase awareness and enhance overall knowledge of the opioid epidemic's impact on our region. This training is intended for behavioral health professionals and community members.

13 - House of Delegates

Date and Time: Friday, October 13, 8:00 AM - Sunday, October 15, 2:00 PM
Place: Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pa.

Join your colleagues for a lively, informative weekend of continuing education, leadership development, advocacy, and networking at the Pennsylvania Medical Society's (PAMED's) House of Delegates Meeting and Annual Education Conference.

19 - EMR Physician Listening Session

Date: Thursday, October 19
Time: 6:30 PM
Place: The Philadelphia County Medical Society, 2100 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

CMS recently announced a new initiative to increase physician engagement. The initial goal will be to engage with physicians to learn about burdens placed upon physicians through regulatory and CMS program requirements. We are looking for 25 physicians to participate so that CMS can learn about the burdens placed upon you regarding EMR and documentation requirements and the barrier to achieving success because of those requirements.

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