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Stat July 25, 2018

Tobacco Regulation Advocates Get Support from Medical Professional Organizations in Court Filing

The American Thoracic Society led 10 medical professional organizations in filing an amicus brief last week regarding the FDA’s failure to apply pre-market review to new tobacco products.   The brief was submitted in support of the American Academy of Pediatrics and its co-plaintiffs and outlines the compelling data indicating that the FDA’s failure to act harms children.     

The amicus brief aims to share with the court the available evidence illustrating that the FDA’s inaction is currently causing harm and will continue to cause harm.  Without pre-market review requirements, big tobacco will continue to have the luxury of time to amplify their marketing to children, who are the key target for candy-flavored tobacco products.  With exposure to these products come the potential for addiction.


July Issue of the ATS Coding and Billing Quarterly is Now Available

The ATS Coding & Billing Quarterly newsletter summarizes key information on coding, billing, documentation, and regulation policy changes that are relevant to clinicians in respiratory, critical care, and sleep medicine. The quarterly publication, which is mailed to ATS members who practice in the U.S., covers issues such as new CPT and ICD-9-CM codes, changing CPT and ICD-9-CM nomenclature and numbering, regulatory policies, and Medicare coverage of pulmonary patients.

The July issue covers several topics including:

  • RUC Surveys — Why They Matter
  • Medical Student Documentation Notes
  • Coding and Billing for Advanced Care Practitioners
  • EBUS — How to Get Paid
  • Questions and Answers
    • Overnight Pulse Ox
    • E-cigarette ICD-10 coding

Questions or suggestions for future additions can be sent to


American Board of Internal Medicine Announces New Governance Openings

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) recently announced a new web page resource to highlight openings throughout ABIM governance, including the Board of Directors, Council, Specialty Boards, and Exam Committees, as well as newer initiatives, such as the Knowledge Check-In Item-Writing Task Force. It also includes information about how to apply.

Participating in ABIM governance provides a meaningful and rewarding opportunity to join outstanding professional colleagues in service to our patients.

Governance members help define breadth of knowledge of the Board certified internists or subspecialist, provide perspective on trends and scope of their discipline, and collaborate with peers to develop the fairest and most up-to-date assessments possible.

ABIM strongly encourages candidates from groups underrepresented in medicine, as well as physicians who practice in smaller communities or safety-net institutions.

If you have any questions, please contact Alice Hughes, program manager, Society Engagement, ABIM.


Supplemental Oxygen Eliminates Morning Blood Pressure Rise in Sleep Apnea Patients Following CPAP Withdrawal

Supplemental oxygen eliminates the rise in morning blood pressure experienced by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients who stop using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the standard treatment for OSA, according to new research published online in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

In “Effect of Supplemental Oxygen on Blood Pressure in OSA: A Randomized, CPAP Withdrawal Trial,” Chris D. Turnbull, BMBCh, a physician at the Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine at Churchill Hospital Oxford in the U.K., and co-authors report that in patients with moderate to severe OSA, supplemental oxygen prevented the rise in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and the increase in oxygen desaturations that were seen in the control arm of the study after CPAP was withdrawn. Based on these findings, the authors wrote that “intermittent hypoxia appears to be the dominant cause of daytime increase in blood pressure in OSA.” Will Help Patients Learn About Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation is known to improve quality of life for patients with COPD and other lung diseases, but not enough patients, or their doctors, know about this treatment option.

To help address that knowledge gap, the ATS is partnering with the Gawlicki Family Foundation to launch a pilot program to increase public awareness of pulmonary rehab. At the center of the campaign is a new, patient-friendly website:

The website offers a wealth of resources, including:

  • Resources explaining what pulmonary rehab is and its benefits.
  • A directory of pulmonary rehab programs across the United States.
  • Criteria for selecting a PR Program and the enrollment process.
  • Patient stories.
  • Frequently Asked Questions.

Visit to learn more.