Newborn screening (NBS) has been cited by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) as one of the most impactful public health initiatives of the 20th century, and in the 21st century has undergone significant expansion through improved techniques of high throughput biochemical analysis, enzymatic activities and specific molecular defects. Screening is particularly indicated for medical conditions in which early treatment is more effective than treatment in later stages of the condition. Population screening adds a requirement of broader societal benefit to those related to individuals. Until recently, more than 130,000 babies a year in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania underwent 10 mandated tests for rare genetic and metabolic diseases in addition to tests for hearing loss and cardiac defects.Read more

By Deval (Reshma) Paranjpe, MD, MBA, FACS 

The siege has lasted one year now. One year since the pandemic caused our lives to change in ways we’d never imagined. One year since everything shut down and all manner of unthinkable things ensued. One year since we started to see both the best and the worst of human nature brought out by crisis on a daily basis, both in the news and in our everyday life.

We may be done with the pandemic, but the pandemic is not done with us. Some people are living in a strange reality, believing that the pandemic is over for them (and for the rest of the world) because they’ve been vaccinated.… Read more

Most of us are comfortable living in the present time despite the threat of the pandemic. Many people talk about “the good old days” when life was perceived as simpler. Sometimes, however, a life-altering event invites us to think about how that event would have been managed in the past. This past July, I suddenly awoke at 3 a.m. with a burning sensation in the middle of my chest. My first impression was that it was gastrointestinal reflux. However, as I became fully awake, I realized that the burning sensation was accompanied by severe substernal chest pain. I also was aware that I had broken out in a cold sweat.Read more

Because I wanted to be a doctor, my mother made sure I had books with female role models in medicine. As a girl, I read about “Molly Pitcher” giving Revolutionary War soldiers water to drink. I knew that Florence Nightingale was “the lady with the lamp” during the Crimean War and that Clara Barton was “the angel of the battlefield” during the American Civil War. I revered Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell for being the first and third women to earn allopathic medical degrees. But I didn’t know about Dr. James McCune Smith.

Growing up in Baltimore City Public Schools, I learned about the Rev.Read more

Allegheny County Medical Society

Patricia L. Bononi, MD, FACP, has been named 2021 ACMS president, becoming the 155th president and the fifth woman to hold that position. A native of Greensburg, Dr. Bononi knew at an early age that she wanted to be a physician, and found inspiration from her mother, a registered nurse, and from Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive an MD degree in the United States, in 1849. “I liked to read a lot, and I read a biography of Blackwell when I was nine,” she recalls. “It made a strong impression on me.”

Dr. Bononi attended undergraduate school at Georgetown University, where she became acquainted with the Ignatian-Jesuit principle known as “curae personalis” – a Latin phrase that translates as “care for the entire person.”

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Allegheny County Medical Society

I’ve been the business manager for Weinstein Imaging Associates for 40-plus years. During that time, I’ve seen major changes in technology, healthcare policies/practices, insurances (introduction of HMOs!), not to mention fashion, music and hairstyles. You would think the saying “I’ve just about seen it all” would apply. Sadly, the early months of 2020 and the rapid spread of COVID-19 contradicted that statement.

Everyone in every part of the world had their reality turned upside-down in 2020. And our thriving, independent Radiology practice was no exception. COVID-19 was the pandemic of our lifetime, which would eventually infect more than 20 million and kill 486,000+ Americans (according to the CDC at time of print), and crush our economic way of life.

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Allegheny County Medical Society

Dr. Andrea Taylor-Cummings said, “People go where they feel welcome, but stay where they feel valued.”

Not all attempts to show appreciation are equal, especially through the eyes of the recipient. A recent online search for “how to show appreciation” led me to YouTube, where a millennial couple talked about how they’ve never felt more appreciated by one another until they started to recognize their so-called “love languages.” I’ve never read Dr. Gary Chapman’s 1992 book on the subject, but watching this video intrigued me enough to take a crash course via Google. Dr. Chapman’s five love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch.

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Allegheny County Medical Society

In a Dec. 10, 2020, decision, the D.C. Circuit Court denied a woman’s second attempt to obtain a preliminary injunction to force a fertility clinic to take her back as a patient pending a lawsuit she had filed against them.1 The case was decided on two factors. The first factor was the plaintiff’s likelihood of success on the merits, which the court determined was unlikely. The second factor was whether the issuance of a preliminary injunction was “in accord with the balance of equities or public interest.” Due to the deterioration of the physician-patient relationship, the court determined that her reinstatement as a patient was not feasible.

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“Lead, follow, or get out of the way,” goes the old admonition, attributed variously to Thomas Paine, Gen. George S. Patton and Chrysler’s Lee Iacocca. When it comes to innovative health payment mechanisms, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has chosen the third path by adopting what they dubbed the “Regulatory Sprint to Coordinated Care,” beginning in 2018. The goal of this initiative is to remove or reduce regulatory obstacles that have frustrated the development and growth of alternatives to the traditional fee-for-service payment system, and to facilitate the transition toward value-based coordinated care models. Among the hurdles targeted for removal are elements of the Stark physician referral law (Stark), the Medicare and Medicaid Anti-Kickback statute (AKS) and the Civil Monetary Penalties Law (CMPL).

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So far, more than 20 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 with greater than 350,000 deaths. Here in Allegheny County, we have had approximately 60,000 confirmed cases and greater than 1,000 deaths. Nearly 3,000 healthcare workers have died from COVID-19 in the United States. In addition to the illness caused by confirmed cases, there have been many more infected individuals who had no testing performed. A recently identified novel COVID-19 strain appears to be much more contagious than previous strains and has been found to be present across the globe, including here in the United States. Proven effective measures to stem the tide of COVID-19, including face masks, social distancing and restricting public gatherings, have been unable so far to contain the pandemic.

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