The current issue of AAMC News and Leadership Announcements is now available:
Ray L. Watts, M.D., has been named the seventh President of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has been Senior Vice President and Dean of the School of Medicine at UAB since 2010, after serving as Chair of the Department of Neurology. Richard Marchase, Ph.D., has been serving as interim president since the resignation of Dr. Carol Goddard in August. Anupam Agarwal, M.D., has been named interim senior vice president of Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine. Dr. Agarwal is the Marie S. Ingalls Endowed Chair in Nephrology Leadership and director of the Division of Nephrology. He is also vice chair for Research in the Department of Medicine and served as interim chair of Medicine from August 2011 until August 2012. Dr. Agarwal said he will not be a candidate for the permanent dean position.
The final rule for the physician payment (‘Sunshine’) provisions of the Affordable Care Act were published in the Federal Register on Friday. The regulations mandate the creation of a publicly available database listing certain payments made to physicians or teaching hospitals by manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals, and medical supplies reimbursed by federal health care programs. The AAMC will be hosting a webinar entitled, “The Sunshine Final Rule: What Medical Schools and Teaching Hospitals Need to Know,” on Thursday, February 21, 2013 from 1:00-2:00 EST to present the major provisions of the final rule, the changes from CMS’ proposed rule of December 19, 2011, and the impact on clinical faculty and teaching hospitals. The webinar is free to individuals who work at AAMC member institutions, but registration is required. The registration form provides an opportunity to submit questions in advance for the presenter, Heather Pierce, JD, MPH, AAMC Senior Director for Science Policy and Regulatory Counsel.
http://tinyurl.com/be2qjw3 (Fed. Register notice)
http://tinyurl.com/avntoou (Webinar registration)
The University of Central Florida College of Medicine has announced that it has been granted full accreditation from the LCME. It has been operating under provisional accreditation.
A lengthy column in Sunday’s issue of the Orlando Sentinel explored the Florida state incentive program that has provided various research institutes with hundreds of millions in funding and whether it has been a success. The article, “Big-bucks incentives for biomed don’t guarantee success,” discussed the incentives provided to the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, and Scripps Research Institute. The article reported, “Well, we have the buildings, and the research has started. But the need for state dollars hasn’t stopped. In some ways, Florida’s effort to make it big in the biotech world is a victim of the national recession.” All of the institutes are seeking additional state support.
The Scripps-Howard News Service on Sunday distributed an investigative story titled, “Deadbeat Docs.” According to the article, “Payback can be a bitter pill for the nation’s deadbeat doctors. The government has seized tax refunds and unemployment checks, claimed judgments against them in federal court, banned them from billing Medicare and Medicaid, even posted their names on a public shaming list. Yet 930 medical professionals nationwide remain in default, owing the government more than $116 million for loans many stopped repaying more than 18 years ago.” The debts involve the Health Education Assistance Loan (HEAL) program managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and which ended in 1998. No allopathic physicians are mentioned in the story. The specific individuals highlighted in the story are osteopathic physicians, chiropractics, dentists, and optometrists.
The State University of New York Board of Trustees on Friday voted to support a decision by SUNY Downstate Medical Center leadership to seek approval from the state Department of Health to cease operation of University Hospital of Brooklyn at Long Island College Hospital (LICH) as a full-service inpatient hospital facility.
NIH on Friday announced new review criteria for NIH construction (C06 and UC6) and modernization (G20) grant applications submitted for due dates after May 1, 2013.
The White House on Friday issued a fact sheet providing “Examples of How the Sequester Would Impact Middle Class Families, Jobs and Economic Security.” Included on the sheet are examples of how health care and research might be affected. The fact sheet asserts, “Most Americans with chronic diseases don’t have a day to lose, but under a sequester progress towards cures would be delayed and several thousand researchers could lose their jobs. Up to 12,000 scientists and students would also be impacted.” The fact sheet further states, “The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would be forced to delay or halt vital scientific projects and make hundreds of fewer research awards. Since each research award supports up to seven research positions, several thousand personnel could lose their jobs. Many projects would be difficult to pursue at reduced levels and would need to be cancelled, putting prior year investments at risk.”
The minority members (Democrats) of the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday released a fact sheet on sequestration. They report that NIH will face a cut of more than $1.6 billion.
A recent issue of the Village Voice featured an article, “Obamacare’s Med-School Debt Problem.” The article discussed the complicated interrelationship between medical student debt, procedure-based physician reimbursement, specialty choice, and the country’s primary care provider shortage.
The Dallas Morning News has been running a series of stories concerning Parkland Memorial Hospital. An installment on Sunday discussed the complicated and somewhat troubled relationship between the hospital and the UT Southwestern School of Medicine.
Froedtert Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) have announced an agreement for a joint clinical practice group to serve patients at both organizations’ community clinics. The new organization will be called Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Community Physicians. According to the institutions, “The joint clinical practice group agreement covers seven counties (Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha and Walworth) and includes more than 30 community clinics operated by both organizations. In fiscal 2012, over 250 physicians practiced at these clinics and combined patient visits exceeded 710,000.” Mark Lodes, MD, has been named president of Froedtert & The Medical College Community Physicians.
A University of Iowa publication recently profiled and interviewed Dr. Debra Schwinn, who became dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine on Oct. 31. She discussed her attraction to and goals for the school.
An article in Sunday’s LA Times discussed the physician shortage in the Golden State. According to the article, “As the state moves to expand healthcare coverage to millions of Californians under President Obama’s healthcare law, it faces a major obstacle: There aren’t enough doctors to treat a crush of newly insured patients. Some lawmakers want to fill the gap by redefining who can provide healthcare.” The article discussed various legislative proposals and the controversy they are generating. The article noted, “Such ‘scope-of-practice’ fights are flaring across the country as states brace for an influx of patients into already strained healthcare systems.”
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) on Friday announced the election of 69 new members and 11 foreign associates. Several new members are at medical schools or earlier had medical school appointments. Also of note, former NIH Director and Hopkins research dean Dr. Elias Zerhouni was elected to the NAE. He is now with Sanofi.
The Tulsa World on Sunday reported that the Oklahoma State University Medical Center, a major training site for the OSU Center for Health Sciences’ College of Osteopathic Medicine, needs additional state and local financial support to stay open.
An essay in the New York Times on February 1 discussed the suppression of clinical trial results by industry. Saturday’s New York Times featured two letters on the essay, one from an industry trade association.
The Center for Courage & Renewal’s 2nd Annual Health Care Institute will be held April 24-27 in Chaska, Minnesota (a suburb of Minneapolis). The meeting theme is, “Integrity in Health Care: The Courage to Lead in a Changing Landscape.”
We recently learned that Dr. Robert L. “Bob” Hill, Professor Emeritus and former Chairman (1969-1993) of the Biochemistry Department at Duke University, died November 29 at Duke University Hospital. He was 84. He also directed Duke’s MD/PhD program for many years and was a past president of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Hill served as chair of the AAMC Council of Academic Societies (CAS) in 1983-84 and was subsequently elected an AAMC Distinguished Service Member.
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