AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2012 July 16

Here are the latest news updates from the AAMC.  Among the highlighted stories:

  • Monday’s issue of the LA Times discussed the ongoing effort of UC Riverside to open a new medical school.  http://tinyurl.com/7effeez
  • On June 29, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responded to a June 7 letter from Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) requesting that HHS provide a “detailed account” of how the department plans to apply sequestration mandated by the Budget Control Act (BCA).  It includes information about the the effect on NIH-funded research grants.  http://tinyurl.com/8yqw5g9

The complete list of updates is available after the jump.

Monday’s issue of the LA Times discussed the ongoing effort of UC Riverside to open a new medical school. Turned down last year by the LCME, the school has new funding and recently underwent a new LCME site visit. The LCME currently lists three “Candidate” medical schools: UC Riverside, the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, and Western Michigan University School of Medicine. Listed as “Applicant” schools are: California Northstate University College of Medicine, Palm Beach Medical College, and the King School of Medicine and Health Science Center. California Northstate and Palm Beach are for-profit institutions. There are currently no LCME-accredited for-profit schools. University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix recently received stand-alone Preliminary Accreditation from the LCME.

The United Kingdom’s public research funding agencies on Monday announced a new “Open Access Policy,” that will apply essentially to all research findings that were funded by the U.K. government. The policy requires that peer reviewed research papers that result from research that is wholly or partially funded by the U.K. Research Councils be published in journals that allow free access within six months of publication. The new policy will apply to all qualifying submissions starting April 1, 2013.

An Institute of Medicine panel on Friday reported, “The U.S. departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs should ensure that service members and veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have timely access to evidence-based care.” The panel said, “Of the U.S. service members and veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and screened positive for PTSD symptoms, about 40 percent have received a referral for additional evaluation or treatment, and of those referred, about 65 percent go on to receive treatment.” In addition to broadening patients’ access to care, DOD and VA should better track the treatments given to patients as well as their outcomes, said the committee that wrote the report. The agencies also should institute research programs to evaluate the effectiveness of their PTSD programs and disseminate the findings widely.

Monday’s New York Times reported, “Several of the city’s most troubled hospitals are partially or completely uninsured for malpractice, state records show, forgoing what is considered a standard safeguard across the country.” The article reports that 12 other NYC hospitals “had bought insurance to cover lower-dollar or ‘primary’ claims, but not ‘excess’ judgments. The others had excess coverage but not primary.” The article reported that other hospitals in the U.S., mostly urban safety net hospitals, are in a similar position.

The “published-ahead-of-print” section of the Academic Medicine web site features articles from the August print edition of the journal. An article, “Variation and Imprecision of Clerkship Grading in U.S. Medical Schools,” will be of particular interest to many faculty involved in medical education.

On June 29, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responded to a June 7 letter from Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) requesting that HHS provide a “detailed account” of how the department plans to apply sequestration mandated by the Budget Control Act (BCA). In its response, HHS stated the cut “would be applied to most HHS accounts.” With regard to medical research, HHS cautions the cut “would limit the Department’s ability to accelerate scientific knowledge and innovation” and estimates that the NIH “could potentially eliminate 2,300 new and competing research project grants, with nearly 300 fewer grants issued by the National Cancer Institute.”

Partners HealthCare System announced on Thursday that Dr. Michael Jellinek, president of Newton-Wellesley Hospital for the last 12 years, will step down from that position to focus on his role as the chief of Clinical Affairs at Partners.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on Sunday, “For hospitals in Cleveland and across the nation, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is an option — rather than a mandate — means months of uncertainty. And nowhere is that ambiguity more troublesome than at hospitals like Northeast Ohio’s taxpayer-supported MetroHealth System… That’s because MetroHealth, like all hospitals, agreed to reductions in other federal and state payments because they believed they would get the infusion of money from the Medicaid program’s expansion.”

USA Today on Friday featured an article on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the political, economic, and other forces that makes its task so challenging. The article reported that “Last month, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., introduced legislation that would require the task force to consult more closely with patients and specialists in relevant medical fields, such as the urologists who treat prostate cancer.”

On July 9, the Baltimore Sun published an op-ed written by Mark Donowitz, M.D., LeBoff Professor for Research in Digestive Diseases at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Donowitz explained that federally-funded biomedical research improves quality of life, bolsters state and national economies, and creates jobs; however, if Congress does not take action to avoid sequestration, “America may lose its leadership in biomedical research.” He added that even without sequestration, NIH’s budget has been eroding since 2004, while other countries are making research a funding priority. Dr. Donowitz encouraged readers to urge Congress “to take action to halt automatic cuts and restore stable growth in the NIH budget for the sake of our nation’s health and economy.”

A recent op-ed in the LA Times contends, “There has long been snobbery in the sciences, with the ‘hard’ ones (physics, chemistry, biology) considering themselves to be more legitimate than the ‘soft’ ones (psychology, sociology). It is thus no surprise that many members of the general public feel the same way. But of late, skepticism about the rigors of social science has reached absurd heights.” The author, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, discusses recent attacks in the House of Representatives on the federal funding of political science research.

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a working group of 22 federal agencies that produce and use data on issues related to children and families, has issued a new report, “America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012.” The report finds that the “infant mortality rate, the preterm birth rate, and the adolescent birth rate all continued to decline, average mathematics scores increased for 4th and 8th grade students, the violent crime victimization rate among youth fell, as did the percentage of young children living in a home where someone smoked…However, the percentage of children living in poverty increased, and the percentage of children with at least one parent employed full time, year-round decreased…”

Reports on Fox News and other conservative media sites last week reported that “83 Percent of Doctors Have Considered Quitting Over Obamacare.” The survey also was cited in the House debate on the most recent ACA repeal vote. However, the Media Matters web site has reviewed the survey and terms it “comically awful.” The article reported “that the survey was a fax blast that gave doctors a month to fill out the answers, yet still only generated a tiny four percent response rate.” The survey was conducted by a group linked to the Tea Party movement and “Despite the hallmark claim about doctors wanting to quit because of ‘Obamacare,’ the survey never even asked doctors that question.”

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Department of Medicine is sponsoring, “Healing Health Care Disparities through Education: An Interdisciplinary Faculty Development Program,” October 12-13, 2012. The two-day immersion course showcases exercises developed through an interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty from Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, as well as other U.S. medical schools. Expert faculty will lead the course sessions, presenting interactive methods for achieving the recently mandated integration of cross-cultural care into the pre-clinical and clinical years of medical school by the LCME and into hospital and community based residency programs by the ACGME and into hospitals’ patient care quality initiatives by JCAHO. The target audience is medical and dental school faculty involved in teaching medical students and directing clerkships in the clinical years as well as hospital-based faculty and directors of residency and fellowship programs.

Parkland Health & Hospital System announced a reorganization of its senior leadership team on Friday. The appointments include:
+Ron Laxton, RN, Interim Chief Operating Officer for Hospital Operations
+Sharon Phillips, RN, Interim Chief Operating Officer for Ambulatory Care & Behavioral Health Services
+Ted Shaw, CPA, FHFMA, Interim Chief Financial Officer
+Mary Eagen, RN, Chief Nursing Officer
+Christopher Madden, MD, Interim Chief Medical Officer

Sunday’s New York Times featured a story on the “vast” scope of the Food and Drug Administration’s surveillance of five of its employees. The monitoring included capturing emails sent on the FDA’s mail system and the usage of FDA-issued laptops.

Saturday’s New York Times explored the question, “Is it ethical for genetic counselors, who advise patients on whether to undergo testing, to be paid by the companies that perform the tests?”

The July issue of Health Affairs focuses on the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Among the more than two dozen interesting articles in the theme issue, one focuses on, “The Medical Education Partnership Initiative: PEPFAR’s Effort To Boost Health Worker Education To Strengthen Health Systems.”

Dr. Neal Cohen has been named the interim dean of the CUNY School of Public Health. He succeeds Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., Sc.D., L.H.D, the founding dean at CUNY School of Public Health (CUNY) and the former director of the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

An article in the spring issue of the Permanente Journal by Danny A. Schieffler, Jr, PhD; Benjamin M. Azevedo; Richard A. Culbertson, PhD; and Marc J. Kahn, MD, MBA, considers the financial implications of increasing medical school class size. Based on their analysis, “Tuition and fee revenues from increasing enrollment will not increase overall revenue to medical schools.”

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) and the Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM) have announced the creation of a new Division of Hepatology. Scott Cotler, MD, has been named division director of Hepatology of LUHS and professor, SSOM and will join Loyola on Aug. 1. He was recruited from the University of Illinois (UIC) Hospital and Health Science System where he was chief of the Section of Hepatology.

Every July features stories about whether safety might be compromised at hospitals due to the arrival of new residents. This year very few stories have appeared. However, there was a related essay in Sunday’s New York Times by an oncology nurse. She wrote, “The July Effect brings into sharp relief a reality of hospital care: care is becoming more specialized, and nurses, who sometimes have years of experience, often know more than the greenest physicians…The problem can be limited by better supervision from senior residents, fellows and attending physicians, as well as by nurses. We need to acknowledge this fact, because admitting that new residents need help, and that nurses can and do help them, is the beginning of owning up to our shared responsibilities in providing care. For the good of our patients, nurses and doctors need to collaborate.”

A new group, Supporters of Agricultural Research (SOAR) has been formed to “encourage federal science policy to generate the agriculture innovations America and the world urgently need.” The group is a coalition of universities, scientific organizations, and farm and consumer groups that will encourage “federal science policy to generate the agriculture innovations America and the world urgently need.” SOAR will hold an online launch event on Wednesday, July 25, at 11:00 a.m. EDT. All are welcome to join the webcast, but must register in advance. Participating in the call will be William Danforth, chancellor emeritus of Washington University in St. Louis and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; Donald Kennedy, president emeritus of Stanford University, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and former editor-in-chief of Science; Roger Beachy, former chief scientist at USDA and the first director of the agency’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture; and Carol Tucker Foreman, distinguished fellow at the Consumer Federation of America’s Food Policy Institute and a nationally known expert on food safety. The current director fo the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Sonny Ramaswamy, was interviewed last week by Nature.

Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven have appointed Daniel P. Petrylak, MD, a medical oncologist, to lead the genitourinary cancers medical oncology team at Smilow Cancer Hospital and as director of the prostate cancer research group and co-director of the Signal Transduction Research Program. Currently, Dr. Petrylak is a Professor of Medicine at New York Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center in New York. He will begin his new appointment at Yale on September 1, 2012.

Jill Stein, M.D., an internist from Lexington, Mass., was chosen on Saturday to be the Green Party’s candidate for president. She is a graduate of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Stein’s husband is also a physician — Richard J. Rohrer, MD, Chief, Transplant Surgery, Tufts Medical Center.

And finally…In a perceptive essay titled, “Whac-a-Mole Regulation,” Danielle Scheurer, MD, MSCR, SFHM, a hospitalist and chief quality officer at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and physician editor of The Hospitalist, discusses hospital regulation and the need for transparency and collaboration in medicine. Dr. Sheurer asks, “So why do we view regulators like moles? Why do we arm ourselves with big, black mallets ready to strike when we see them emerge from the corner of our eye?…Maybe a better strategy is to have a strategy—to work with our ‘trustworthy partners’ to align our vision statements, anticipate the vermin’s approach, and fill the holes (or chasms) before anything has a chance to squeeze through… It comes down to this: What kind of healthcare do you want for yourself, your family, and the patients who trust you? I’d rather not have a reactive, frantic race to obliterate the next torrid creature that has arisen. I suggest a proactive, strategic pathway of tilling the soil.”

Tony Mazzaschi

PS: Feel free to email <cas@aamc.org> if you have a problem accessing any article or resource mentioned in this summary. Also, have colleagues email <cas@aamc.org> if they would like to receive these news postings. We also welcome news tips and corrections.

PPS: Other news, policy, and innovation products from AAMC may be of particular interest to subscribers:
+AAMC STAT (Short, Topical and Timely), a weekly news email highlights news related to academic medicine
http://www.aamc.org/newsroom/aamcstat/aamcnews.htm (note subscription box on right)
+AAMC Washington Highlights, a weekly summary of legislative & regulatory developments affecting academic medicine
+AAMC Second Opinion, news and perspectives from AAMC’s Chief Public Policy Officer
Subscribe by emailing: SecondOpinion@aamc.org
+Wing of Zock, a blog about innovation and change in medical schools and teaching hospitals
http://wingofzock.org/ and its Twitter feed @wingofzock
+AM Express, the journal Academic Medicine’s free monthly issue announcement service
Subscribe by emailing: acadmed_online@aamc.org

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