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ACPM Headlines 6/17/13
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In this Issue

Top Stories

1. IOM calls for physical education as ‘core’ subject

2. Teen birth rates have declined in nearly all states

3. ACPM joins groups in urging increased funding for Title VII programs

ACPM News

4. ACPM accepting orders for the 2013 In-Service Exam

5. ACPM joins letter in support of National Health Care Workforce Commission

6. ACPM supports Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act

7. Get connected! Volunteer for an ACPM committee

Policy and Practice

8. Updates from USPSTF: gestational diabetes screening, childhood depression screening

9. Administration releases final rules on employment-based wellness programs

10. CMSS endorses National Quality Strategy

Research and Reports

11. Study shows dramatic decrease in deadly infections in sickest hospital patients

12. IOM report highlights NVDRS as part of research agenda

13. More physicians using EHRs, but challenges remain

Announcements

14. PHSSR Center releases call for proposals

15. Members in the news: Harmon, Greenhut, Salisbury-Afshar


Top Stories

1. IOM CALLS FOR PHYSICAL EDUCATION AS ‘CORE SUBJECT’

The Institute of Medicine has published a new report encouraging the U.S. Department of Education to designate physical education as a core subject, just like history and math. The report, "Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School," is a response to the dramatic decline since the year 2000 in the percentage of U.S. schools offering regular physical education. Almost half of school administrators in the U.S. report cutting time from physical education and recess in order to increase classroom time for reading and math to prepare students for standardized tests.

Among its other key recommendations, the IOM calls for:

  • Access in the school environment to at least 60 minutes per day of vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity, more than half (>50 percent) of which should be accomplished during regular school hours
  • Access to and provision of physical activity in all policy decisions related to the school environment
  • Deployment of data systems to monitor policies and behaviors pertaining to physical activity and physical education in the school setting
  • Pre-service training and ongoing professional development opportunities for K-12 classroom and physical education teachers
  • Reduction of existing disparities in physical activity so that all students at all schools have equal access to appropriate facilities and opportunities for physical activity and quality physical education


2. TEEN BIRTH RATES HAVE DECLINED IN NEARLY ALL STATES

Teen birth rates fell in all but two states by at least 15% from 2007-2011, according to a report released by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The steepest declines were among Hispanic teenagers, followed by non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white teenagers. States with the highest declines (30-39%) include Florida, Minnesota, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona.

The report, Declines in State Teen Birth Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin, is based on data from birth certificates filed in all states and compiled into national data included in the National Vital Statistics System.


3. ACPM JOINS GROUPS IN URGING INCREASED FUNDING FOR TITLE VII PROGRAMS

ACPM joined members of the Health Professions, Nursing and Education Coalition (HPNEC) on a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders recommending $520 million in FY 2014 for Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing education programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The Title VII health professions programs include the line-item that supports preventive medicine residency training programs.

The letter notes, "By providing educational and training opportunities to aspiring and practicing health professionals, Titles VII and VIII are the only federally-funded programs that seek to improve the supply, distribution, and diversity of the health professions workforce. As demand for health professionals grows in the face of impending shortages and a growing, aging population, continuing the investment in health professions workforce development will be key to ensuring access to high quality care for all.”

Comparable funding for Title VII and Title VIII in FY 2012 was $495 million. For more information contact Paul Bonta or call 202-466-2044, x110.

ACPM News

4. ACPM ACCEPTING ORDERS FOR THE 2013 IN-SERVICE EXAM

ACPM is now accepting orders for the 2013 Preventive Medicine In-Service Examination, scheduled for July 22–August 23, 2013. This 2.25 hour electronic exam is administered annually, and enables residents and program directors to determine if there are specific areas where more study and experience are needed. It is a voluntary exam that allows residents to compare themselves with others at the same level nationally.

Though not intended to be an examination preparation tool, the In-Service Exam can be a gauge of how well residents are being trained and prepared for the content of the Board examination. It is designed for residents in all specialty areas of Preventive Medicine. The material covered in the exam relates to the core (morning) portion of the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM) certification exam.

For more information and the order form, please visit our website.

5. ACPM JOINS LETTER IN SUPPORT OF NATIONAL HEALTH CARE WORKFORCE COMMISSION

ACPM joined its partners in medicine and public health on a sign-on letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders urging full funding of the National Health Care Workforce Commission with $3 million in FY 2014. The Commission was established under the Affordable Care Act to study and advise policy makers on a broad range of workforce-related topics, including national workforce priorities and goals, current and projected workforce supply, and assessments of current and needed education and training activities to meet the demand for health care workers. The letter argues that without an explicit appropriation, the Commission will not be able to analyze and make "recommendations to eliminate barriers surrounding disciplines and professions where demand is not being met, such as shortages of primary care practitioners; pediatric and adult specialists; and mental, dental, and public health professionals.”

For more information contact Paul Bonta or call 202-466-2044, x110.

6. ACPM SUPPORTS CLIMATE CHANGE HEALTH PROTECTION AND PROMOTION ACT

To continue its work in educating physicians and the public about the health impact of climate change, ACPM recently joined a sign-on letter to Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) thanking her for her leadership in introducing the "Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act.” As the sign-on letter clarifies, the legislation would "expand the research base on the health impacts of climate change and prioritize climate change preparedness planning, surveillance, education and training in order to ensure that our already overburdened state and local health systems can adequately address the health impacts of climate change while continuing to respond to other ongoing challenges.”

For more information contact Paul Bonta or call 202-466-2044, x110.

7. GET CONNECTED—VOLUNTEER FOR AN ACPM COMMITTEE

ACPM offers specialized resources, programs, and networks to help advance its members’ careers and provide opportunities to connect, learn and share with a collective force of preventive medicine specialists.

Members are encouraged to actively participate in ACPM membership sections and committees. Each group has a unique purpose and benefit, and provides a network through which you can meet other members, pursue professional interests, enhance leadership skills, and stay informed concerning the latest developments in preventive medicine.

Volunteering for a section or committee has never been easier. Members may now complete a volunteer interest form online through ACPM’s website. An ACPM staff liaison or section/committee leader will contact you with additional information.

Make the most of your membership investment and support ACPM’s work to advance the preventive medicine specialty—volunteer today.

Policy and Practice

8. UPDATES FROM THE USPSTF: GESTATIONAL DIABETES SCREENING AND CHILDHOOD DEPRESSION SCREENING

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is seeking public comment on the following draft recommendation statement and draft research plan:

  • Draft Recommendation Statement: Screening for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. This recommendation received a "B” rating (high certainty of a net moderate benefit or moderate certainty of a moderate to substantial benefit) for screening for asymptomatic pregnant women after 24 weeks gestation. It received an "I” rating (insufficient evidence to assess the balance of benefits and harms) for the benefits and harms of screening pregnant women before 24 weeks gestation. Public comment will be accepted until June 24th at 5:00pm EDT.
  • Draft Research Plan: Screening for Depression in Children and Adolescents. The research plan outlines the framework USPSTF will use to guide its systematic review process and provide draft recommendations on a specific topic. Public comments will be accepted through June 26th at 5:00pm EDT.


9. HHS ISSUES NEW RULES ON EMPLOYMENT-BASED WELLNESS PROGRAMS

In concert with Departments of Labor and Treasury, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its final rules for employment-based wellness programs as a kick off to National Employee Wellness Month in June. These newly released employment-based wellness rules define two types of wellness programs: "participatory,” programs available to all employees regardless of health status; and "health contingent,” programs that provide rewards to individuals who meet specific standards or health goals.

The new rules amend the maximum rewards for these wellness programs from 20% to 30%, and potentially up to 50% for tobacco cessation programs. In addition, the rules provide participants in "health contingent” programs additional protections, including recommendations that employer wellness plans work with participants’ physicians to ensure the "medical appropriateness” of the wellness activity for those who may experience difficulty meeting the health goals. The regulations will take effect January 1, 2014.

ACPM is a proud supporter of National Employee Wellness Month, an annual initiative that helps employers learn how prevention, coupled with supportive social communities like the workplace, can improve employee health and productivity, lower healthcare costs, and create a health workplace culture.

10. CMSS ENDORSES NATIONAL QUALITY STRATEGY

The Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) announced the endorsement of the National Quality Strategy via unanimous vote during the Council’s recent 2013 Spring Meeting. ACPM is a member of the CMSS, the unified voice for specialty societies established to improve the United States’ healthcare system and health of the public.

The National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care (the National Quality Strategy) sets a course for improving the quality of health and health care for all Americans. The National Quality Strategy, initially published in March 2011, established three overarching aims:

  1. Better Care: Improve the overall quality of care, by making health care more patient-centered, reliable, accessible, and safe.
  2. Healthy People/Healthy Communities: Improve the health of the U.S. population by supporting proven interventions to address behavioral, social, and environmental determinants of health in addition to delivering higher-quality care.
  3. Affordable Care: Reduce the cost of quality health care for individuals, families, employers, and government.

Research and Reports

11. STUDY SHOWS DRAMATIC DECREASE IN DEADLY INFECTIONS IN SICKEST HOSPITAL PATIENTS

A recently released Department of Health and Human Services-funded study found that using germ-killing soap and ointment on all ICU patients can help reduce bloodstream infections by up to 44 percent and significantly reduce the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in ICUs.


The REDUCE MRSA trial, published in this month’s New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), was conducted through AHRQ- and CDC-funded research programs conducted in partnership with the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and nearly four dozen of its affiliated facilities. Researchers evaluated the effectiveness of three MRSA prevention practices: routine care, providing germ-killing soap and ointment only to patients with MRSA, and providing germ-killing soap and ointment to all ICU patients. In addition to proven effectiveness stopping the spread of MRSA in ICUs, the study also found that use of germ-killing soap and ointment on all ICU patients prevented infections caused by germs other than MRSA.

The complete study is available on the NEJM website.

12. IOM REPORT HIGHLIGHTS NVDRS AS PART OF RESEARCH AGENDA

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has released a pre-publication of its report on "Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-related Violence,” which noted the public health utility of the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). The report was commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in response to an executive order from President Obama calling for the development of research priorities to inform firearm policy decisions.

ACPM, as the administrative home of the National Violence Prevention Network, a coalition of primary care, public health, law enforcement, and mental health organizations that advocate for national expansion of NVDRS, worked to provide input into the IOM report, noting the value of NVDRS in expanding the research base of firearm use in violent deaths. NVDRS is a comprehensive public health surveillance system, designed to allow researchers, public health professionals, and others better understand the circumstances that surround violent deaths as they work to design and implement local violence prevention programs.

13. MORE PHYSICIANS USING EHRs, BUT CHALLENGES REMAIN

A new article in the Annals of Internal Medicine estimates nearly 44% of U.S. physicians have adopted electronic health records (EHRs), an increase of 10% from 2011 to 2012. Much of this increase may result from Medicare/Medicaid EHR incentive payments by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The authors found that although 43.5% of physicians report having basic EHR capabilities, using computerized systems for managing patients is not widespread. As a result, EHR usage alone may not help improve quality, efficiency, or provide for cost reductions. For more information, visit the Commonwealth Fund website and the Annals of Internal Medicine article.

Announcements

14. PHSSR CENTER RELEASES CALL FOR PROPOSALS

The National Coordinating Center (NCC) for PHSSR and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) have announced the Public Health Services and Systems Research: Mentored Research Scientist Development Awards – 2013 Call for Proposals.

Public Health Services and Systems Research (PHSSR) is a multidisciplinary field of study that examines the organization, financing, delivery and quality of public health services within communities and the resulting impact on population health.The NCC for PHSSR and RJWF seek to expand the evidence base for effective decision-making in public health practice and policy through research that responds to the questions defined in the National Agenda for PHSSR. The awards support mentored, intensive career development through funding, educational experiences and protected time to conduct independent research. Approximately $800,000 is available through this solicitation, and up to eight grants awarded. Each grantee will receive up to $100,000 for a maximum of 24 months. The deadline for full proposals is August 21, 2013 at 3 pm (Eastern).

15. MEMBERS IN THE NEWS: HARMON, GREENHUT, SALISBURY-AFSHAR

Robert (Bob) Harmon, MD, MPH, FACPM, recently served as guest editor for the Northeast Florida Medicine (NEFM) Journal, a quarterly publication produced by the Duval County Medical Society. The Journal’s current issue focuses on preventive medicine. Read the issue online.

Janet Greenhut, MD, MPH, FACPM, has accepted a new position as Science Director at the Health Management Research Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Elizabeth Salisbury-Afshar, MD, MPH, past president of the ACPM Resident Physician Section (RPS), recently gave birth to a baby girl. Mom, dad and baby are all well.


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