News & Announcements
The health implications of hearing loss and how best to care for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) patients has been the focus of a wide body of research conducted by Philip Zazove, MD (Ann Arbor). His findings are nationally recognized, not only for changing how physicians deliver care to the DHH population, but also for how Family Physicians and other healthcare professionals are trained. Today he serves on an expert task force convened by the Association of Academic Physiatrists that recommends updating medical school admission technical standards to facilitate the inclusion of students with disabilities.
This year’s National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Main Match on March 15 was record-breaking on many different levels. Compared to previous years of the Match, this year saw increases in available first-year (PGY-1) resident positions, numbers of osteopathic programs offering positions and osteopathic medical school students and graduates submitting program preferences, number of U.S. allopathic medical school seniors, and match rates for both U.S. citizen and non-U.S. citizen international medical graduates. The 2019 Match also marked a decade of year-over-year growth for the Family Medicine specialty nationwide. While analyzing national, state, and specialty-specific data is helpful in projecting healthcare workforce trends, it’s really the individual stories of soon-to-be Family Physicians that harness the excitement of the Match and for the future of Family Medicine.
The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) recently redesigned its website at www.theabfm.org to make it easy to use and to serve as an informative resource for diplomates and patients. Redesign of ABFM’s online Physician Portfolio is now underway to better serve individual board-certified Family Physicians with their certification needs.
This Flu Season is Less Severe than the Last
Based on the first-ever in-season flu data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the current flu season appears to be much milder than in 2017-2018. The reason? A more effective flu vaccine this year (47%) than last (40%) and the type of virus that is predominately circulating (H1N1 this year versus H3N2 last year). That’s not to say that this year’s flu strain is any less of a health threat. The CDC estimates that, from October 1, 2018, through March 16, 2019, there have been 28.5 million-32.8 million flu illnesses, 13.2 million-15.4 million flu medical visits, 375,000-454,000 flu hospitalizations, and 25,000-41,500 flu deaths. Flu activity is currently widespread in Michigan.
Health Can't Wait
Getting advance approval from health plans for treatments, tests, medications, and devices is frustrating for physicians as they work with their patients to prevent, diagnose, and manage acute and chronic conditions. It’s equally trying for their staff, many of whom are hired with the sole purpose of submitting, tracking, and following up on—often multiple times over—approval requests. The real looser in this waiting game that’s known as prior authorization, however, is the patient. MAFP is optimistic that the new Health Can’t Wait campaign launching this spring will compel Michigan lawmakers and payers to take action. The initiative, spearheaded by Michigan State Medical Society in partnership with MAFP and a coalition of other associations, healthcare professionals, and patients, calls for putting patients first in addressing the prior authorization crisis.
How Healthy is Your Community?
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s annual County Health Rankings report shows how where we live, learn, work, and play impacts our health. As a Family Physician, you witness every day the variety of factors that influence your patients’ health. Now in its ninth year, the annual national, state, and county-by-county analysis, conducted by RWJF in collaboration with University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, explores the interplay between health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment and how long and how well we live. Learn how your county ranks in comparison to Michigan's other 82 counties and what is needed to move the needle on achieving health equity for all residents.
As the mother of two teenage girls, Anne Kittendorf MD, FAAFP (Dexter) understands the challenges of juggling family needs and work demands. An academic Family Physician who cares for newborns through geriatric patients, and a teacher of medical students and residents at the University of Michigan, Dr. Kittendorf has found Family Medicine to be a fantastic career for women because of its variety of practice locations and types, and its flexibility in meeting ever-evolving personal needs and interests
How Happy Are You in Your Career?
Despite increasing reports of physician burnout and administrative burden, a new CompHealth survey commissioned by American Academy of Family Physicians shows that practicing medicine continues to be a rewarding career for many. Of the 5,000 practicing physicians surveyed, 71% reported being happy with their careers and 59% said they are happy with their lives in general.
Despite the odds against her, Tina Tanner, MD, FAAFP (Montague) was among the women graduates of Michigan State University College of Human Medicine's medical school class of 1997—the first class in the history of the medical school to be 50% female. Since then, she has practiced full-spectrum Family Medicine in many different settings and served the Academy in a variety of leadership roles, most notably elevating MAFP's advocacy work on behalf of patients and her fellow and future Family Physicians.
At 12 pm on March 15, thousands of graduating medical school seniors eagerly, in unison, and undoubtedly with a flutter of apprehension and tremendous excitement opened their Match Day envelopes during medical school celebrations to learn which residency program will be their training ground beginning in July. This year’s Match was the largest on record, with fewer allopathic but more osteopathic students matching to Family Medicine than in 2018.