The Honorable Jessica K. Altman
Insurance Commissioner
Pennsylvania Insurance Department
1311 Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, PA 17120

 

Re:   Improving Access to Telehealth Services during the State of Emergency in Pennsylvania

Dear Commissioner Altman:

 On behalf of the more than 3,600 members of the Allegheny County Medical Society, we urgently request that you issue an order applicable to all health insurance companies operating in Pennsylvania to expand payment for telehealth services.  During this state of emergency, Pennsylvanians enrolled in Commercial and Medicare Advantage plans now face uncertainty in accessing care normally provided in clinical settings. We ask you to order health insurance plans to increase the scope of covered telehealth services commensurate with the March 17th Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services expansion of telehealth benefits.

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February 2020 Bulletin

William K. Johnjulio, MD, was presented with the president’s pin and gavel at the Dec. 10 meeting of the ACMS Board of Directors, merely weeks prior to beginning his service as the 155th president of the Allegheny County Medical Society.

As ACMS president, Dr. Johnjulio’s vision for the year is three-fold, with goals focused on fiscal responsibility, providing support to independent physicians and creating relevance for employed providers.

“One of my goals is to create a trajectory toward fiscal responsibility for the society,” Dr. Johnjulio said. “In the past, the society has relied on investments and membership to stay financially sound, but I think it needs to broaden its horizons moving forward.”

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February 2020 Bulletin

During the terrible influenza epidemic of 1918, my grandmother was a young girl in India. But not too young to remember the piles of bodies of victims; there were so many daily influenza deaths that it was impossible for city workers, funerary workers and relatives to keep up with cremations. Her father was the Health Officer for the town of Poona under British rule, and while it was his responsibility to stay in town and oversee response to the epidemic, he sent his family away to safety on the high ground of Poona where the epidemic had not yet reached.

My great-grandfather’s brother decided to keep him company, and together the two men occupied a deserted ancient “vada” – a combination of a fort and villa and palace – in town.

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Every year Allegheny County Medical Society (ACMS) Foundation recognizes extraordinary physicians, dedicated volunteers, and outstanding organizations that have made significant contributions to the health and well-being of patients in the Pittsburgh region and beyond during its annual awards and fundraising gala.

ACMS Foundation is currently accepting nominations for its annual physician and community awards.  If you know of or work with a physician, nurse, healthcare professional, volunteer or organization whose dedication and contributions to patient care deserve to be recognized, the medical society wants to hear about them.  What better way to honor their passion and dedication to patient care than nominating them for one of the following prestigious awards:

Physician Awards:

Nathaniel Bedford Primary Care Award 

Recognizes a primary care physician for exemplary, compassionate, comprehensive and dedicated care of patients.

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February 2020 Bulletin

Signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf Nov. 27,1 Act 2019-112 (the Act) mandates the common practice among pain specialists of written agreements in connection with the treatment of chronic pain with opioids. Furthermore, the Act for the first time explicitly requires that treatment of chronic pain be “consistent with the Pennsylvania Opioid Prescribing Guidelines” (the Prescribing Guidelines). Notable exceptions include prescriptions for medical emergencies and for cancer, palliative care and hospice patients. Failure to abide by the Act, and its pending regulations, subjects prescribers to sanctions under their professional practice act by their licensing boards. The Act was effective immediately and emergency regulations are due to be promulgated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health by the end of February 2020.

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February 2020 Bulletin

Opinion

Editorial …………………………….38
Epidemic
Deval (Reshma) Paranjpe, MD, FACS

Editorial …………………………….40
Tears as teacher
Anna Evans Phillips, MD, MS

Editorial ……………………………42
‘If you like your doctor …’
Andrea G. Witlin, DO, PhD

Perspective ……………………….44
Breast elastography
Danielle Sharek, MD

Perspective ……………………….46
Modern Hippocratic Oath and Code of Medical Ethics
Kris Gopal, MD

Departments

Membership Benefits …………48
Society News …………………….50
• Pittsburgh Ophthalmology Society
• Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western Division
• Greater Pittsburgh Diabetes Club
Activities & Accolades ………53
Classifieds ………………………..53
ACMS Alliance News …………54

Articles

Profile ……………………………….56
Newly installed ACMS president shares vision for 2020
Christina E. Morton

Materia Medica …………………..59

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2020 Bulletin Cover

I was dumbfounded more than 30 years ago when the neurologist in our HMO referred to one of our primary care colleagues as “the traffic cop.” At the time, we had eight young residency-trained family docs in our multispecialty group. We were uniformly passionate about our patients and the practice of medicine. We interacted with each other in our office, at the hospital and socially. So why was this singular family doc perceived to be an outlier? The answer: “This doc was akin to the traffic cop directing traffic – you go here, you go there.” My curiosity was piqued. I subsequently realized that my neurology colleague’s admonition was correct as I reviewed the “cop’s” progress notes.

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2020 Bulletin Cover

Are you a healthcare employer who is having difficulty recruiting physicians? If so, you may want to consider sponsoring a J-1 Exchange Visitor Physician for a Waiver. Providing J-1 Waiver sponsorship can be an effective option for healthcare providers to secure the necessary physician talent needed to serve their patients. This is particularly so for (but not limited to) employers in health professional shortage areas or medically underserved areas where it’s often difficult to recruit and retain U.S. physicians.

Why is J-1 Waiver sponsorship a good option? For context, a J-1 Alien Physician Exchange Visitor is subject to a two-year home presence requirement.

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William K. Johnjulio, MD
2020 ACMS president

Dr. Johnjulio serves as chair of Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) Primary Care Institute as well as medical director of AHN’s clinically integrated network, Physician Partners of Western Pennsylvania LLC. He also is system chair of the Department of Family Medicine at AHN and is responsible for overseeing all clinical, administrative and academic components of the department. Dr. Johnjulio formerly was the program director of Forbes Family Medicine Residency at AHN.

A member of ACMS since 2004, Dr. Johnjulio has served on the Board of Directors since 2013. He was the ACMS treasurer in 2016, secretary in 2017, vice president in 2018 and president-elect in 2019, and currently serves on the Executive Committee and ACMS Foundation Board.

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2020 Bulletin Cover

Opinion
Editorial ………………………………6
Nectar of the vine
Deval (Reshma) Paranjpe, MD, FACS

Editorial ………………………………8
On presentations
Richard H. Daffner, MD, FACR

Editorial ……………………………12
The traffic cop
Andrea G. Witlin, DO, PhD

Editorial ……………………………14
Great ‘awokenings’
Joseph C. Paviglianiti, MD

Departments
Membership Benefits………….16
Society News …………………….18
• 2020 ACMS president installed
• ACMS Foundation awards medical student scholarship
• Pittsburgh Ophthalmology Society
• Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society –Western Division

Classifieds ………………………..22

Articles
Feature ……………………………..23
2020 ACMS president and officers

Materia Medica …………………..26
Advances in precision medicine: Alpelisib (Piqray®) for PIK3CA-mutated
breast cancer
Karen M. Fancher, PharmD, BCOP

Legal Report ……………………..29
Physician recruiting: J-1 Visa Waivers for international medical graduates
Catherine V.

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