AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2013 June 2

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

The Cleveland Plain Dealer on Sunday reported that Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic have announced “that they will partner in the ownership and operation of CWRU’s new medical education building — and put it in the heart of the Clinic’s main campus. The Clinic is donating the land for the building…The organizations will share in the cost of construction and in fundraising.” The paper reported, “Groundbreaking on the new building could begin as soon as early 2014, two years ahead of CWRU’s previously announced plan that would have placed the facility on the site of the former Mt. Sinai Medical Center on East 105th Street on the university’s campus…The 165,000-square-foot building will provide space for all medical students who are seeking degrees from CWRU, including students from the university-based program and the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, who currently take classes on the Clinic campus at the Lerner Research Center.”

Various Detroit media outlets reported this weekend that Dr. M. Roy Wilson will be named the new president of Wayne State University next week. Dr. Wilson, currently deputy director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, is an ophthalmologist. He earlier was chancellor of the University of Colorado, Denver, and its Health Science Center in Aurora; president of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center; and, dean of the medical school and a vice president at Creighton University. Dr. Wilson was awarded the AAMC’s Herbert W. Nickens Award in 2007.

An article in Sunday’s New York Times explored why the U.S. leads the world in health expenditures. The article reported, “Whether directly from their wallets or through insurance policies, Americans pay more for almost every interaction with the medical system. They are typically prescribed more expensive procedures and tests than people in other countries, no matter if those nations operate a private or national health system. A list of drug, scan and procedure prices compiled by the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurers, found that the United States came out the most costly in all 21 categories – and often by a huge margin.” The article further reports, “While the United States medical system is famous for drugs costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and heroic care at the end of life, it turns out that a more significant factor in the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care bill may not be the use of extraordinary services, but the high price tag of ordinary ones.”

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced on Friday that Rick Gilfillan, the head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), is leaving the agency. She has appointed Patrick Conway, the CMS chief medical officer and director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, as acting director of the Innovation Center.

The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium was announced on June 1 in Chicago. The participants said they “are uniting to transform cancer research through collaborative oncology trials that leverage the scientific and clinical expertise of the Big Ten universities.” The Hoosier Oncology Group will serve as the administrative headquarters for the Consortium.

Five former New Jersey governors on Thursday discussed issues related to higher education in the state, and specifically the upcoming dissolution of UMDNJ, with much of the University being integrated into Rutgers. The governors lamented that recent athletic leadership issues at Rutgers have distracted from important conversations about the future of higher and professional education in the state. According to an article in the Newark Star Ledger, former Gov. Jim McGreevey said “the conversation should also address the diminished resources to higher education,” an issue raised in a recent Moody’s report on Rutger’s fiscal situation. Mr. McGreevey said, “We ought to loathe (the) lapse into a Twitter mentality where we all engage in a widespread plebiscite into every decision every public official makes.”

Tulane University President Scott S. Cowen announced on Friday that he intends to retire as the university’s president in 2014. In an email to the university community, Dr. Cowen explained his decision to leave the post he has held for 15 years.

A segment on the NBC Nightly News this week focused on the impact of the physician shortage on rural America and on how the shortage is affecting physician practices.

An article in Saturday’s Kansas City Star discussed the growing KU health care campus, which has recently attracted more than $50 million in private investment. The article reported that the “bistate bonanza in midtown [is] thanks to the expansions of recent years by KU Hospital and the University of Kansas Medical Center.”

The Associated Press reported on Saturday that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has written the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network asking it to review the policy on lung allocation. According to the article, the Secretary “said the disparity between donors and children awaiting transplants is ‘especially stark’ with only 20 lung transplants last year involving organs from donors up to age 11. She also said she is asking federal officials to ‘consider new approaches for promoting pediatric and adolescent organ donation.'”

The Medicare and Social Security Trustees on Friday reported that the Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A) Trust Fund will be depleted in 2026, two years longer than last year’s estimate. According to various media reports the Part A fund is nine years more solvent than projections prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act.

Dr. Gail Wilensky, former head of what is now CMS, wrote a commentary in the JAMA Forum on Friday concerning the slowdown in health care spending and the various theories about why it is happening and why it persists.

Lovell A. Jones, PhD, Director of the Dorothy I. Height Center for Health Equity and Evaluation Research (DH-CHEER) at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, has announced he will retire from MD Anderson. The Cancer Letter reported this week that he will become the executive director of the Transdisciplinary Center for Health Equity Research at Texas A&M University.

Terry Kowalenko, M.D., FACEP, has been appointed chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and Beaumont Health System. Dr. Kowalenko joins Beaumont from the University of Michigan Health System, where he served as director of Continuous Professional Development for the University of Michigan Medical School.

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine has appointed William Small Jr., MD, FACRO, FACR, FASTRO, professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, effective July 15, 2013. Dr. Small joins Loyola from the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, where he was professor and vice chairman of Radiation Oncology.

Members of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole on Cape Cod have approved affiliating with the University of Chicago.

And finally…a feature in Sunday’s New York Times highlights physicians in films whose “beside manners need work.”

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:
+AAMCAction, an iPhone, iPad and Android app featuring AAMC news and advocacy resources
+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
+AM Rounds, the journal Academic Medicine’s official blog
http://academicmedicineblog.org/ and its Twitter feed @AcadMedJournal


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