|ACPM Headlines 5/4/12|
Policy and Practice
Research and Reports
1. ASSOCIATIONS MAY BE SEVERELY IMPACTED BY CONGRESSIONAL ACTION IN RESPONSE TO GSA SCANDAL
Outraged by the General Services Administration (GSA) spending scandal that broke a couple of weeks ago, the U.S. House and Senate in two separate bills have passed an amendment that extremely limits federal employees from attending private conferences if any federal funds are used for travel expenses. The definitions used in the amendment (see the amendment language here) impose severe restrictions on all private conferences: associations, other nonprofits, and corporations could only have a federal agency’s employees attend one meeting held by that organization every year.
ACPM and the association community at large view this as an extreme overreaction by Congress. ACPM has joined over 800 associations in signing an American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)-organized letter to Congress urging it to revise the legislative language (see the letter here). If not revised, the provisions could greatly impact attendance at many meetings and conferences and further erode the important dialogue between federal agencies and the private sector.
If you work for an organization that holds meetings and conferences and invites government employees, either as speakers or just attendees, please urge your organization to sign on to this letter today! The more names on this letter, the bigger the impact it will have on Congress. ASAE is accepting signatures through the end of today, Friday, May 4. Sign on via the web form or by completing this document.
2. ACPM LEADERS MEET WITH EXECUTIVE BRANCH OFFICIALS
ACPM representatives recently met with senior officials at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to discuss the need to increase federal funding for preventive medicine residency training programs and opportunities for preventive medicine physicians to help advance recommendations contained in the recent IOM repot, "Primary Care and Public Health: Exploring Integration to Improve Population Health.” The ACPM team was led by president Miriam Alexander, MD, MPH, FACPM, joined by executive director Mike Barry, associate executive director for policy and government affairs Paul Bonta, and current Pfizer health policy resident Young-Rok Shin, MD.
ACPM’s representatives voiced strong concerns with HRSA funding decisions for preventive medicine residency training programs and the level of staff support provided to training programs. Despite the allotment of significant funds from the Prevention and Public Health Fund to HRSA’s "public health and preventive medicine” line-item, no additional funding has been made available to preventive medicine residency training programs. The ACPM team provided data to HRSA noting that a majority of preventive medicine graduates embark on careers that include clinical medicine and are uniquely trained to fulfill many of the recommendations contained in the IOM’s report on integrating primary care and public health. The IOM report was commissioned by HRSA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The ACPM team met separately with the administrator of HRSA’s Bureau of Health Professions Jan Heinrich, DrPH, RN, chief medical officer of the Bureau of Primary Health Care Seiji Hayashi, MD, and chief of the public health branch at the OMB Marc Garufi. ACPM will continue to advocate aggressively on behalf of all preventive medicine residency training programs and is currently working with champions in Congress and at OMB to address the barriers to new funding for residency training programs.
For more information, please contact Paul Bonta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-466-2044, x110.
3. ACPM CLINICAL RISK MANAGEMENT FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS
ACPM is now accepting applications from preventive medicine physicians interested in pursuing a great opportunity to gain experience in clinical risk management through participation in a two-year program at Merck headquarters in North Whales, PA. The goals of the program are to expose preventive medicine physicians to various aspects of global product safety in a major pharmaceutical company and to provide direct training and experience in how pharmaceutical manufacturers use data to support research, development, adoption, and utilization of products. The fellowship includes a highly competitive annual salary. Applications are being accepted for placement in summer 2012.
For more information or to apply please contact Paul Bonta at email@example.com.
"Cancer Surveillance Informatics: Where Health Statistics, Information Systems, and Clinical Decision-Making Intersect,” written by ACPM Member Manijeh Berenji, MD, MPH and May Darwish-Yassine, PhD, is now available for CME credit. The article provides clinicians and healthcare professionals with a better understanding of comprehensive population-based cancer surveillance informatics and its potential patient-centered clinical applications. It reviews the history of cancer surveillance in the United States, describes the current systems, and evaluates the utility of informatics.
This column and other previously posted columns can be accessed at http://www.acpm.org/?PerspectivesPrevent.
5. ACPM SUBMITS CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY IN SUPPORT OF PM RESIDENCY TRAINING AND CDC’S NVDRS PROGRAM
ACPM recently submitted congressional testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education requesting $5 million for preventive medicine residency training programs and $5 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) in FY 2013 funding. Current funding is $2.8 million and $3.5 million for the two programs, respectively. Proposed FY 2013 funding levels will not be announced until the full Senate Appropriations Committee meets to consider the FY 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill later this summer.
Reports indicate that both the Senate and House FY 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bills will not pass Congress before the start of the fiscal year and will be held for consideration during the lame duck session of Congress expected after the November elections. Traditionally, the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill has been the most difficult appropriations bill to pass because of partisan battles over how to fund health care programs and research.
To view the testimony in support of funding for preventive medicine residency training programs, visit http://www.acpm.org/resource/resmgr/Policy-Files/2012_FY13_ApprTestim.pdf.
To view the testimony in support of funding for NVDRS, visit http://www.acpm.org/resource/resmgr/Policy-Files/2012_FY13_NVDRStestim.pdf.
6. ACPM SAYS GOODBYE TO MICHELE SURRICCHIO
ACPM’s Director of Programs, Michele Surricchio, has announced her resignation from ACPM to accept a position with another organization. Her last day of employment with the College will be May 11. Michele joined ACPM in 2007 and has been a terrific asset for the organization. She successfully managed numerous ACPM project grants and contracts (e.g., in adolescent health and environmental health) and implemented many significant program innovations in the College’s education department. She also has adeptly managed ACPM’s Prevention Practice Committee, GME program, and Medscape Perspectives in Prevention program and relationship. Michele will be greatly missed. Please join us in wishing her well in her new endeavors.
7. HOUSE AND SENATE SPENDING ALLOCATIONS FOR HEALTH PROGRAMS SET
The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their spending allocations, setting overall spending targets for FY 2013. The House Appropriations Committee set an overall spending cap of $1.028 trillion, which is $19 billion less than the level set by its counterpart in the Senate, which used the $1.047 trillion benchmark set forth in last year’s debt limit law. Among the differences between the House and Senate allocations is a $7.7 billion difference in funding for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bills, with the House proposing to allocate $150 billion to these programs compared to $157.7 billion in the Senate.
For more information, contact Paul Bonta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-466-2044.
8. ACPM SENDS LETTER OPPOSING CUTS TO PREVENTION FUND TO PAY FOR STUDENT LOAN BILL
ACPM sent a letter to House leaders urging they not tap funds from the Prevention and Public Health Fund to pay for maintaining low student loan rates for college students who receive federal support.
In the letter ACPM President Miriam Alexander stated, "While ACPM supports efforts to stabilize our nation’s economy, the College will not support any proposal that diverts funds away from disease prevention programs for short-term economic savings. The Prevention and Public Health Fund represents a critical investment in public health and a historic commitment towards efforts that will help shift the focus of our health care system from disease treatment to disease prevention and health promotion.” ACPM has been a vocal proponent of the Prevention and Public Health Fund and will continue to voice opposition to efforts aimed at weakening or eliminating this important source of revenues for prevention and health promotion programs.
To view a copy of the letter, visit http://www.acpm.org/resource/resmgr/Policy-Files/2012_LTR_OpposePPHFcutsE&C.pdf.
9. NATION’S LARGEST PHYSICIAN SPECIALTY ORGANIZATION CALLS FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO U.S. PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM
The American College of Physicians (ACP), the largest medical-specialty organization in the U.S. representing 132,000 internists, internal medicine subspecialists, and physicians in training, has released a policy paper calling for an improved public health infrastructure that works collaboratively with physicians to ensure the public's safety and health. "Strengthening the Public Health Infrastructure" makes the case for adequate investments in public health, noting that strengthening the public health infrastructure is imperative to ensuring that appropriate health care services are available to meet the population's health care needs and to respond to public health emergencies.
The paper calls for adequate funding for the public health infrastructure, but recognizes that the tight budget environment requires that funding be prioritized. It makes the case that the consequences of underfunding essential and effective programs that prevent diseases and promote good health within groups of people would be an unwise, and ultimately very costly, use of limited resources. The paper recommends that funding priority be based on assessment of which programs have demonstrated effectiveness in achieving key public health objectives.
ACP presents seven public policy positions in the paper to strengthen the public health infrastructure.
10. ADENOVIRUS VACCINES REINSTATED AFTER LONG ABSENCE
The adenovirus vaccine, 18 years after its sole manufacturer discontinued its use, is once again available for U.S. military trainees. The adenovirus vaccination program resumed in October 2011, with enlisted soldiers receiving the vaccine during basic training. The re-licensure of the vaccine required significant investment by the U.S. government and long years of testing and regulatory review, during which rates of adenovirus illness in the military rose. The history of the vaccine’s disappearance illustrates the precarious position of the lesser-used vaccines in the military. For more on this story, including quotes from ACPM Fellow Joel Gaydos, MD, MPH, FACPM, visit http://ow.ly/aHLGz.
Research and Reports
11. WORLDWIDE SMOKING RATES COULD DECREASE 44% IN 20 YEARS
A new study in the journal Tobacco Control found that if nations immediately implemented the proven, cost-effective tobacco control policies called for by the World Health Organization (WHO), they would reduce global adult smoking rates by 44 percent in 20 years.
In 2008, the WHO identified a package of cost-effective tobacco control measures called for by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Called the MPOWER package, these measures have been proven to reduce tobacco use and should be implemented in every nation. These solutions require nations to enact comprehensive smoke-free laws; help tobacco users to quit; ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships; implement graphic health warnings on tobacco products; and raise the price of tobacco products by significantly increasing tobacco taxes. The study compared what would happen from 2010 to 2030 if countries did nothing more to implement the MPOWER measures and if countries had fully implemented MPOWER as of 2010.
To view a copy of the report, visit http://bit.ly/KfgVnn.
12. DISTRACTED DRIVING COMMON AMONG CALIFORNIA COLLEGE STUDENTS
A recent study of California college students showed that distracted driving—namely texting and use of other electronic devices—is highly prevalent among this population. The study included nearly 5,000 students, average age 21, from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD); San Diego State University; the University of San Diego; California State, San Marcos; and eight smaller colleges in the region. The UCSD researchers were led by ACPM Fellow Linda Hill, MD, MPH, FACPM, a clinical professor in the department of family and preventive medicine at UCSD School of Medicine.
The researchers found that 78 percent of the students reported using a cell phone to talk or text while driving, 52 percent said they used hands-free devices while driving at least some of the time, 47 percent used hands-free devices at least half of the time while driving and 25 percent frequently used hands-free devices. Half of the students said they send texts while driving on the freeway, 60 percent send texts while in stop-and-go traffic or when driving on city streets, and 87 percent send texts while at traffic lights. Only 12 percent said they never text while behind the wheel, even when stopped at a traffic light.
According to Dr. Hill, quoted in U.S. News Weekly, "Distracted driving is a highly prevalent behavior in college students who have misplaced confidence in their own driving skills and their ability to multitask. Despite the known dangers, distracted driving has become an accepted behavior." For more information, visit http://treds.ucsd.edu/?page_id=162.
13. CDC RELEASES REPORT ON U.S. INCIDENCE OF HPV-ASSOCIATED CANCERS
CDC has released an updated statistical count on the prevalence of HPV-associated cancers in the United States. Cervical cancer was the most common HPV-associated cancer, with an average 11,967 cases diagnosed annually, followed by oropharyngeal cancer, at 11,726 cases per year. The report, "Human Papillomavirus-Associated Cancers — United States, 2004–2008,” provides updated information from an analysis of data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia from the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program.
To read the complete report published in the April 20 edition of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, visit http://1.usa.gov/HTSPCY.
14. MEMBERS IN THE NEWS: BOULTON; SEDGWICK