Capsules QW - news & information for members of Louisiana State Medical Society
Nov. 18

The 137th annual meeting of the Louisiana State Medical Society House of Delegates will take place in Baton Rouge, LA, January 26-27, 2018. 

We encourage members to join in the process and contact your parish  executive director for more information on how to become a delegate. Once approved to participate, click here to view the meeting landing page and to register. If you have any questions about the meeting, please contact Sarah Edwards at

Additional Activities:
January 26, noon: LSMS Awards Luncheon
January 26, 7 p.m.: Presidential Inauguration of LSMS' 138th President Susan M. Bankston, MD

LSMS AMA Delegation representing Louisiana in Hawaii at the AMA Interim Meeting of the House of Delegates: William "Beau" Clark, MD, Myo Myint, MD, Ezekiel Wetzel, MD, LSMS EVP and CEO Jeff Williams, Alexis Rudd, LSMS AMA Delegation Vice Chair Dolleen Licciardi, MD, Rachel Spann, LSMS AMA Delegation Chair Floyd Buras, MD, Luis Alvarado, MD, Neal Dixit, and Lee Stevens, MD.

Affinity Health Group - 2018 Membership Renewal - 100% Group Participation

Thank you to Affinity Health Group for committing to another year of membership for all of their physicians. Affinity providers and their staff serve 22 clinics in north Louisiana. Affinity employs more than 500 medical and administrative professionals. Affinity Health Group's mission is to proactively seek opportunities to improve the quality of healthcare while balancing the cost of that care. Affinity is committed to service, patient satisfaction, healthy solutions, and overall wellness of patients. For more information about Affinity Health Group, visit or call 318-807-7875.
For more information on how your group can be featured, contact Terri Watson, LSMS director of member services, at

PAI-Avalere Report: Implications of Hospital Employment of Physicians on Medicare and Beneficiaries

As rates of physician employment by hospitals rise dramatically, costs for Medicare beneficiaries and programs may increase as a result of patients being seen in higher cost settings of care

A 49 percent increase in physician employment by hospitals caused Medicare costs for four healthcare services to rise $3.1 billion between 2012 and 2015, according to a new study released by the Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI).

The analysis, conducted by Avalere Health, shows that for four specific cardiology, orthopedic, and gastroenterology services, Medicare paid $2.7 billion more for services performed in hospital outpatient settings, with beneficiaries facing $411 million more in financial responsibility for these services than they would have if they were performed in independent physicians' offices.
"Hospital consolidation pushes healthcare costs upward," said Robert Seligson, PAI president. "The impact of hospitals owning outpatient practices places a greater financial burden on Medicare beneficiaries and on taxpayers." 
Researchers analyzed certain cardiology, orthopedic, and gastroenterology services and found that practice patterns for hospital-employed physicians resulted in up to 27 percent higher costs for the Medicare program and 21 percent higher costs for patients. 
The study looked at practice patterns and found that physicians employed by hospitals deliver a higher volume of services in the more costly hospital outpatient setting than independent physicians. Avalere researchers then analyzed how costs of care for patients treated by hospital-employed physicians would change if they had the same practice patterns as independent physicians in their geographic area, and assumed the same patients would receive the same procedures, just in a different setting. Once the costs were determined, researchers calculated the difference in costs to Medicare and costs shared by the patient.
"This study underscores the fact that independent physicians continue to provide patients with affordable, quality care every day," noted Kelly Kenney, executive vice president and CEO of PAI. 
PAI is examining these trends as part of an ongoing effort to better understand how physician employment affects the practice of medicine and impacts patients.  
Full methodology is available in the analysis by clicking here.
Other Federal News & Information

Today is Election Day!

Voting to decide the state Treasurer's race as well as several local elections, including filling the legislative seat in House District 77 (on the Northshore) is today!

Download the Geaux Vote Mobile app or visit the Voter Portal website for ballot information.

Don't forget to participate and GEAUX VOTE!

Grant to Help Fight STDs Awarded to Louisiana Department of Health

The Louisiana Department of Health has received a $550,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to strengthen its congenital syphilis activities and initiatives.

Congenital syphilis, which is highly preventable, has become an alarming problem that urgently requires awareness, attention and action. In Louisiana, data from the most recent STD Surveillance Report found that the number of congenital syphilis cases spiked for the fourth year in a row. From 2015-2016 alone, there were a total of 628 cases - a rise of nearly 30 percent over the previous year.

The grant will support activities statewide, with targeted attention in the Baton Rouge and Shreveport areas as these areas have especially high rates of congenital syphilis. This priority funding will enhance current STD activities and bolster congenital syphilis control efforts.

DeAnn Gruber, director of the Bureau of Infectious Diseases for the Louisiana Department of Health, said the funding will address screening and treating pregnant women for STDs. "Syphilis in pregnant women can cause miscarriages, premature births, stillbirths or death of newborns. Without adequate prenatal treatment, historical data indicates up to 40 percent of babies born to women with untreated syphilis may be stillborn or die from the infection as a newborn."

Gruber added that for babies who live after contracting syphilis, they can have deformed bones, skin rashes, severe anemia, jaundice, enlarged livers and spleens, seizures, developmental delays and other neurologic problems.

"These outcomes are a sadness that we simply cannot allow. The effects of congenital syphilis ripple through homes, families and communities - it can alter the course of someone's entire life and create many challenges for families," she added.

FDA approves first digital pill, a drug that comes with ingestible sensor

The first drug in the U.S. with a digital ingestion tracking system has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The pill, Abilify MyCite, is prescribed for treatment of schizophrenia, acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder and as an add-on treatment for depression in adults.

An ingestible sensor embedded in the pill is able to record that the medication was taken - sending signals to a wearable patch that then transmits the data to a mobile app. Click here to read the full story.

Other Science and Technology News


Focus On

Symposium On LGBT Health And Aging

This one-day symposium on LGBT Health & Aging is co-sponsored by Ochsner Pride and New Orleans Advocates for GLGT Elders (NOAGE).

December 2, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
There will be sessions on LGBT 101, creating a welcoming environment, transgender aging, aging with HIV, spirituality, and legal issues. The keynote speaker is Serena Worthington of SAGE, and there will also be a free screening of Gen Silent.

The Ochsner Clinic Foundation designates this live activity for a maximum of 4.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

For more information or to register, click here.
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