AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2013 April 27

The current issue of AAMC News and Leadership Announcements is now available:

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Friday released the fiscal year 2014 proposed inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) rule. The proposal will be published in the Federal Register on May 10. Comments are due by June 25. Dr. Darrell Kirch, AAMC President and CEO, issued a statement on the proposed rule, stating, “The AAMC is concerned about the administration’s proposed cuts to Medicare’s direct graduate medical education (DGME) payments as the nation faces a growing shortage of physicians from primary care to general surgeons, oncologists, and specialists who treat children. The proposed rule would impede physician training as our growing, aging population and millions of newly insured Americans seek the care they need and deserve. We look forward to working with CMS to ensure that reductions in disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments and other changes in this proposed rule do not harm the sickest, most vulnerable patients that depend on teaching hospitals for care.”
http://tinyurl.com/btxgola (CMS summary)
http://tinyurl.com/bv3k4rf (fact sheet on payment provisions)
http://tinyurl.com/czhqgk2 (fact sheet on quality provisions)
http://tinyurl.com/ct6g4xc (text of proposed rule)

The New York Times reported on Saturday that SUNY Downstate has withdrawn a plan to close Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn “in a startling victory for doctors, unions and community members who said the closing of the hospital would compromise health care for residents in the area.” The paper further reported, “…the reversal may be only a reprieve unless the state agrees to bail out the hospital or a new operator can be found.” According to the report, “For several months, the hospital’s current operator — SUNY Downstate Medical Center, part of the State University of New York — has contended it had to close the hospital because it was losing $1 million a week and was a drain on the entire medical center.”

A commentary in a recent issue of Nature by Dr. Gordon Fishell, a brain researcher at New York University, discussed the impact of Hurricane Sandy on animal research at NYU and his efforts at recovery. A related National Public Radio segment also discussed the experience of other research institutions that have faced disruptions in animal research due to natural disasters.

An article in the Los Angeles Sentinel on Wednesday began, “Fewer Black males were enrolled in the first year of medical schools last year than 32 years ago, a trend that, if left uncorrected, could hamper efforts to provide quality health care to underserved communities, according to a top officer in the [AAMC].” Dr. Marc Nivet’s remarks came at a recent Howard University symposium on health care in the U.S. According to the paper, Dr. Nivet said, “We don’t have the luxury of waiting 10 years 15 years 20 years to intervene in effective ways to insure that we have the talent necessary to come to our institutions…If we don’t effectively intervene in this pipeline and hold our institutions and ourselves accountable for finding the talent that we know exists than we have failed those 32 million people soon to be enfranchised and we have failed ourselves.” Howard University College of Medicine dean Dr. Mark Johnson also spoke at the symposium.

The AAMC Integrating Quality 2013 meeting will be held June 6-7 in Chicago. In addition to being an essential meeting for CMOs and quality officers, the meeting is an ideal professional development opportunity for associate CMOs, medical director(s) and key department leaders. The meeting will focus on the link between quality and value in health care, and will feature Drs. Peter Pronovost (Hopkins) and Gary Kaplan (Virginia Mason), two of the nation’s most prominent leaders in quality performance and lean health care movements.

The National Institute for Health Care Reform (NIHCR) has published a “Policy Analysis” titled, “Hospital Quality Reporting: Separating the Signal from the Noise.”

Plans are moving forward to create the El Paso region’s first-ever biomedical research & technology building and biomedical research park. The MCA Foundation, which is spearheading the project, has announced the architectural and program manager for the research park’s initial 80,000-sq-ft, four-floor, $25 million research building.

The Las Vegas Sun on Saturday reported, “Roseman University of Health Sciences announced plans Friday to create the first M.D.-granting medical school in Southern Nevada. Over the next several months, Roseman will begin the accreditation process for the medical school. Although the timeline and details are still being worked out, the new Roseman University School of Medicine may begin enrolling students by 2015 or 2016.” Roseman, which began as the Nevada College of Pharmacy, is located in Henderson, Nevada. The school is not currently listed by the LCME as either a Candidate or Applicant School. The LCME currently lists three applicant schools: King (Abingdon, VA), Palm Beach (Palm Beach, CA), and California Northstate (Rancho Cordova, California).

A new statement from the American Heart Association reported that the number of people with heart failure could climb 46 percent from 5 million in 2012 to 8 million in 2030, and that the direct and indirect costs to treat heart failure could more than double from $31 billion in 2012 to $70 billion in 2030. The AHA further reported, “The rising incidence is fueled by the aging population and an increase in the number of people with conditions like ischemic heart disease, hypertension and diabetes — contributors to the development of heart failure. Being older, a smoker, a minority or poor are also risk factors…Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization for Americans over age 65.”

An article in Friday’s Wall Street Journal reported that, “The health-care sector, one of the last redoubts of stable and well-paying jobs for less-educated workers, is beginning to look less secure. A variety of factors, from technological advances to increased attention on both costs and patient outcomes, are driving hospitals and other health-care providers to demand more from both the most- and least-skilled workers, while gradually eroding opportunities for those in the middle. The result: the gradual disappearance of semiskilled occupations that don’t require a college degree.” A separate article discussed “the myth of the nursing shortage.”

The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) announced on Friday the winners of the 12th annual Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Awards. The awards, named in honor of FBR’s late chairman Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, recognize outstanding journalism that highlights the role of biomedical research that includes the humane and responsible use of animal models, cell cultures, and computer modeling in recent medical discoveries and scientific breakthroughs. An awards dinner to honor the winners will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. The awardees include: Britney Glaser, KPLC-TV (Television); KW Hillis, The Lawton Constitution (Print, Small Market); Ferris Jabr, Scientific American (Print, Large Market); Susan Donaldson James, ABC News (Online); Judy Kurtz, The Hill (Print, Specialty Market); Ryan Loyd, KSTX Texas Public Radio (Radio); and Annette Novak, McGill University (Viral Video).

More than 100 physicians and researchers who specialize in chronic myeloid leukemia authored a commentary in the journal Blood, contending that the prices of drugs used to treat the condition are too high. The authors wrote, “Advocating for lower drug prices is a necessity to save the lives of patients who cannot afford them. Pricing of cancer and other drugs involves complex societal and political issues which demand immediate attention, and which will need to consider many factors and involve many constituencies…For CML, and for other cancers, we believe drug prices should reflect objective measures of benefit, but should also not exceed values that harm our patients and societies.”

NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Dr. Sally Rockey on Friday posted new data about the number of different investigators applying for research project grants over five year periods from 1998-2012. While there has been some growth in the average number of applications each investigator is submitting, the most significant growth in applications to NIH appears to be from new applicants in the system.

An article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine discussed at length issues related to early breast cancer screening.

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute “reviews and analyzes the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) labor market and workforce and the supply of high-skill temporary foreign workers, who serve as ‘guestworkers.'” The report finds that “For every two students that U.S. colleges graduate with STEM degrees, only one is hired into a STEM job.” The authors further conclude that the US is training more STEM workers than the economy can absorb.

The Detroit News on Friday reported, “Henry Ford Health System experienced positive revenue growth in 2012, but its net income decreased by 15 percent due to uncompensated care and investment in state-of-the-art technology, according to an annual financials released Thursday.” The article reports that the Health System said it has made “a $356-million investment in our new clinical information and revenue system, which includes Epic, our new electronic medical record.” The paper reported that the Epic impact in 2011-2012 was $41.4 million of additional expense.

Dr. Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and Dr. Eric Green, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, on Wednesday posted an essay on the OSTP web site titled, “Big Data is a Big Deal for Biomedical Research.” The posting reviews recent Obama Administration initiatives addressing large and complex collections of digital data.

An article in the new issue of the Harvard Business Review, titled, “Health Care’s Service Fanatics,” discussed how the Cleveland Clinic improved patient satisfaction.  The article is co-authored by James I. Merlino, M.D., the Clinic’s Chief Experience Officer. (Subscription may be required for full content.)

Dr. Jeremy Farrar, a clinical scientist specializing in infectious diseases, has been named the new director of the Wellcome Trust. He is currently Professor of Tropical Medicine and Global Health at Oxford University, Global Scholar at Princeton University and Director of the Wellcome Trust’s Major Overseas Programme in Vietnam. He will join the Wellcome Trust on October 1, succeeding Sir Mark Walport, who stepped down at the end of March to become the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser. The Trust annually spends more than $1 billion funding research in the UK.

The University of Virginia School of Medicine recently announced the appointment of Robert J. Meyer, MD, as the inaugural Director of the Virginia Center for Translational and Regulatory Sciences (VCTRS). CTRS was established with a gift from Altria “to foster a multidisciplinary educational approach for individuals interested in translational and regulatory sciences, promulgate the most recent advances in regulatory methodologies, and engage in discovery science for improving regulatory processes for proposed and marketed products.” Dr. Meyer was most recently Vice President for Global Regulatory, Strategy, Policy and Safety at Merck and Company.

Dr. Thomas Terndrup has been named chair of Emergency Medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State University College of Medicine, effective July 1. Dr. Terndrup is currently distinguished professor, associate dean for clinical research, and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine.

Gerard van Grinsven has been named the new CEO of the for-profit Cancer Treatment Centers of America Inc., the owner of five hospitals. Mr. van Grinsven is currently president of Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.

Catherine Skae, M.D., D.Sc., has been named Vice President for Graduate Medical Education at the Montefiore Medical Center and Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Skae earlier served as Assistant Chief of Service at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Residency Training Director and Vice Chair for Education in the Dept. of Pediatrics.

President Obama on Friday nominated Howard A. Shelanski, J.D., Ph.D., to be Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, succeeding Cass R. Sunstein. Dr. Shelanski, a lawyer and economist, is currently an economist with the Federal Trade Commission.  A little-known post, the Office reviews all federal regulatory proposals and has grown in importance in recent years.

Malak Kotb, Ph.D., was recently named the founding chair of the Department of Basic Sciences at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Kotb has been a professor since 2008 at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology/Immunology. She was the former chair of the department. She also is a senior career research scientist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Cincinnati.

Three major appointments from Michigan State University, the nation’s premier land grant institution:
++ B. Keith English, MD, has been appointed the new chair of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics and Human Development. Dr. English currently is professor and associate chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis.
++ Charles “Lee” Cox, PhD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Physiology, a department affiliated with the MSU Colleges of Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Natural Science. Dr. Cox joins MSU from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
++ Richard R. Neubig, PhD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, a department affiliated with the MSU Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Human Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Neubig has been a faculty member at the University of Michigan since 1983, where he has served as professor of pharmacology, associate professor of internal medicine, and director of the Center for the Discovery of New Medicines. He is also 2012-13 president-elect of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).

The Boston Globe on Thursday reported that Tufts Medical Center has named Dr. Saul N. Weingart as the hospital’s chief medical officer. He is currently the vice president for quality improvement and patient safety at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Weingart succeeds Dr. Michael Wagner, now serving as chief executive of the Tufts physician organization. Dr, Weingart is chairman of the National Patient Safety Foundation board of governors.

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.

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+AAMC Second Opinion, news and perspectives from AAMC’s Chief Public Policy Officer
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+Wing of Zock, a blog about innovation and change in medical schools and teaching hospitals
http://wingofzock.org/ and its Twitter feed @wingofzock
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+AM Rounds, the journal Academic Medicine’s official blog


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