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March 27, 2015

BILL INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS TO ENHANCE ROLE OF NUTRITION IN MEDICAL EDUCATION

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) have introduced a bipartisan bill – the Expanding Nutrition’s Role in Curricula and Healthcare (ENRICH) Act (H.R. 1411) – that would provide grants to update medical school curricula with nutrition and physical activity education and provide overall funding to support nutrition and physical activity education courses in U.S. medical schools.

The ENRICH Act establishes a $15 million grant program—all money from existing funds—to help medical schools incorporate nutrition and physical activity education into their curricula to meet expert recommendations. This will allow recipient medical schools to offer new courses, integrate nutrition and physical activity information into existing courses for all specialties, provide continuing medical education and workshops, offer electives, and include this information in residency rotations.


AMA AND CDC LAUNCH DIABETES PREVENTION INITIATIVE

The American Medical Association (AMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced a joint initiative to take urgent action to Prevent Diabetes STAT and are urging others to join in the effort.Prevent Diabetes STAT: Screen, Test, Act -Today™, is a multi-year initiative to reach more Americans with prediabetes and stop the progression to type 2 diabetes.

As an immediate result of this partnership, the AMA and CDC have co-developed a toolkit to serve as a guide for physicians and other health care providers on the best methods to screen and refer high-risk patients to diabetes prevention programs in their communities.

The initiative aims to build on groundwork already laid by these two organizations over the past two years, including the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), which showed that high-risk individuals who participated in lifestyle change programs, like those recognized by the CDC, saw a significant reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes.


HEALTH CARE PAYMENT AND DELIVERY REFORM TRENDS
Guest column by Michael Ybarra, MD, Sr. Director, Alliance Development, PhRMA

Policymakers and payers are experimenting with a variety of payment and delivery system reforms with the goal of moving away from fee-for-service toward paying for performance on measures of cost and quality. One of the catalysts in generating reforms has been the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, which was authorized as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The bar was raised on January 26th, when United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced a goal of tying 30 percent of fee-for-service Medicare payments to quality or value through alternative payment models by 2016, and 50 percent by 2018. HHS also announced the creation of the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network to engage private payers, employers, patients and providers in increasing the adoption of value-based payments and alternative payment models.

While these reforms have the potential to generate savings and improve quality, there is also a risk that they will reduce quality and access to treatments depending on how new payment models are designed. Payment reforms should be transparent and patient-centered. They should balance patient access, quality, cost control and innovation. To read more, including best practices in payment model design, visit: http://www.phrma.org/phrma-principles-for-payment-and-delivery-system-reforms.

 

March 16, 2015

ACA INITIATIVE BUILDS ON SUCCESS OF ACOs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a new initiative from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Innovation Center: the Next Generation Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Model of payment and care delivery. Propelled by the Affordable Care Act, ACOs encourage quality improvement and care coordination, helping to move our health care system to one that achieves the Triple Aim goals of better care, reduced spending, and healthier people.

Building upon experience from the Pioneer ACO Model and the Medicare Shared Savings Program, the Next Generation ACO Model will take on greater performance risk than ACOs in current models, while also potentially sharing in a greater portion of savings. To support increased risk sharing, ACOs will have a stable, predictable benchmark and flexible payment options that support ACO investments in care improvement infrastructure that provides high quality care to patients.

"The Next Generation ACO Model … is an important step towards advancing models of care that reward value over volume in care delivery,” according to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell. Burwell writes in the New England Journal of Medicine about her plans to tie 90 percent of fee-for-service payments to quality measures and make 50 percent of all payments through alternative care models by 2018.


NATIONAL ADULT IMMUNIZATION PLAN RELEASED FOR PUBLIC COMMENT

The National Vaccine Program Office has released its National Adult Immunization Plan (NAIP), which is open for public comment through March 23, 2015. The NAIP is a five-year national plan intended to facilitate coordinated action by federal and nonfederal partners to protect public health and achieve optimal prevention of infectious diseases and their consequences through vaccination of adults.

TheNational Vaccine Program Officehas released itsNational Adult Immunization Plan(NAIP), which is open for public commentthrough March 23, 2015. The NAIP is a five-year national plan intended to facilitate coordinated action by federal and nonfederal partners to protect public health and achieve optimal prevention of infectious diseases and their consequences through vaccination of adults.


February 6, 2015

PRESIDENT PROPOSES INVESTMENT TO COMBAT ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE

President Obama’s FY 2016 budget request includes an investment of $1.2 billion to combat antibiotic resistance across government. The proposal would provide $650 million across the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to significantly expand America’s investments in development of antibacterial and new rapid diagnostics; $280 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support antibiotic stewardship, outbreak surveillance, antibiotic use and resistance monitoring; and $47 million to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support evaluation of new antibacterial drugs and antibiotic stewardship in animal agriculture.


HHS SETS TIMELINE FOR SHIFTING MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced a goal of tying 85 percent of all traditional Medicare payments to quality or value by 2016 and 90 percent by 2018. In 2011, Medicare made almost no payments to providers through alternative payment models, but today such payments represent approximately 20 percent of Medicare outlays. The goals announced recently represent a 50 percent increase by 2016. HHS has reported results on cost savings with alternative payment models with combined total Medicare savings of $417 million. HHS expects these models to continue the slowdown in health care spending.


USPSTF PUBLISHES FINAL RESEARCH PLAN FOR DYSLIPIDEMIA SCREENING IN KIDS

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has published a final research plan on screening children and adolescents for dyslipidemia. Based on public comments, the final research plan clarifies the inclusion and exclusion criteria for familial hypercholesterolemia and provides separate evidence reviews for familial hypercholesterolemia and multifactorial dyslipidemia. In each of the evidence reviews, USPSTF weighs the harms and benefits of screening children and adolescents by focusing on whether screening children delays or reduces the incidence of myocardial infarctions (MI) or stroke in adulthood, and its impact on intermediate outcomes.


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