|ACPM Headlines 9/16/10|
In This Issue:
Policy and Practice
Research and Reports
1. AMENDMENT TO GUT PREVENTION FUND DEFEATED
The Senate has voted down an amendment to raid the Prevention and Public Health investment fund created by the Affordable Care Act. Senator Johanns (R-NE) had introduced the amendment to HR 5297, "The Small Business Jobs and Credit Act,” to offset the costs of eliminating a tax code reporting requirement—nearly $11 billion. The investment fund was a key piece of the health reform legislation supported by ACPM and many other prevention and public health advocates and mandated $15 billion to support community-based programs to reduce chronic disease rates, address health disparities, and strengthen the "evidence-base for effective prevention programming.”
ACPM and numerous public health partners engaged in a vigorous grass-roots campaign to defeat the amendment. Clearly, the letters and calls from prevention advocates urging opposition to the amendment had the desired effect. ACPM thanks all of you who took the time to contact your Senators. The vote was 42 in favor and 56 opposed. If you would like to learn how your Senator voted, please click below: http://bit.ly/aeIrBn.
Many policy pundits anticipate there will be more raids on the Prevention Fund, as it is viewed as a ripe target for funding pet projects. Fortunately, the vote on the Johanns Amendment has sent a clear message that the Senate is prepared to protect this important fund.
2. CLINICAL PREVENTIVE SERVICES CAN SAVE LIVES AT LITTLE OR NO COST
A study published in the September issue of Health Affairs found that greater use of proven clinical preventive services in the United States could avert the loss of more than two million life-years annually. In addition, increasing the use of these services from current levels to 90percent in a given year (in this case, 2006) would result in total savings of $3.7billion, or 0.2percent of U.S. personal health care spending.
Most of the savings came from three services: tobacco cessation screening and assistance; discussing daily aspirin use; and alcohol screening with brief counseling. The authors determined those three services plus colorectal cancer screening each would have contributed more than 100,000 years of life if 90 percent of the population had participated.
The study, sponsored by the National Commission on Prevention Priorities, analyzed the estimated cost of adopting a package of 20 proven preventive services against the savings that could be generated. The full paper is available at http://bit.ly/bYS5ig.
3. ACPM FOODBORNE ILLNESS COLUMN AVAILABLE FOR CME
The ACPM Perspectives in Prevention column on foodborne illness published this summer on Medscape/WebMD is now available for Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit from ACPM. "Foodborne Illness Primer for Physicians and Other Healthcare Professionals: A Review," written by ACPM Fellow Olugbenga Obasanjo, MD, MPH, PhD, provides recommendations and elucidates the role for physicians and other health care professionals in identifying and controlling potential foodborne outbreaks. To participate in this activity and earn free CME credit, please visit http://www.acpm.org/perspectives.htm.
4. ACPM RESPONDS TO PROPOSED REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING MEDICARE WELLNESS PATIENT VISIT
ACPM has responded to draft regulations released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that implement a provision of the "Affordable Care Act” calling for the development of a new annual Medicare wellness visit for beneficiaries. ACPM has been a strong proponent of the new benefit as it provides patients with a dedicated visit focused on health promotion and risk mitigation.
A core component of the new Medicare wellness visit will be the administration and interpretation of a health risk appraisal (HRA). In ACPM's letter to HHS, President Mark B. Johnson, MD, MPH, FACPM, wrote in response to HHS plans to standardize a HRA tool within the next year, "given that information obtained through the HRA will act as the linchpin that will guide the office visit and dictate the discussion between the provider and patient, we urge that the Secretary of HHS expedite the development of a standardized HRA and urge that firewalls be created to ensure that data collected is not used to discriminate against the beneficiary.”
To read Dr. Johnson's letter please visit, http://www.acpm.org/MedicareWellnessVisitComments.pdf.
5. ACPM'S EVENT CALENDAR FILLED WITH LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
ACPM's online conference calendar provides up-to-date information on events and conferences of particular interest to ACPM members. The calendar features an interactive menu, allowing you to e-mail event details, text details to your cell phone, and even add the event to your choice of several major calendar services, including MS Outlook and Apple iCal. You can even choose to extract the ACPM-specific events with a simple click of a mouse and subscribe to the calendar feed via RSS.
Please visit the calendar page at http://www.acpm.org/calendar.htm. You also are encouraged to share with ACPM (contact David Dauphinais at ACPM) any events you think would be of interest to your preventive medicine colleagues for inclusion in the calendar.
6. NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR AWARDS AND BOARD OF REGENTS VACANCIES
ACPM is accepting nominations to fill upcoming vacancies on its Board of Regents. Elections will be held in early 2011 for the Aerospace and Occupational Medicine Regents and the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest Regional Regents. All candidates must be Fellows of ACPM. Nominations are due November 12, 2010. For more information about the Board of Regents nomination process and how to submit a nomination, please visit: http://www.acpm.org/callfornominations.htm.
ACPM also is seeking nominations for ACPM awards. Each ACPM award honors an individual for contributions, dedication and service to the College and preventive medicine. The Awards Committee is currently accepting nominations for the following awards: Ron Davis Distinguished Service, Special Recognition, William Kane Rising Star, and Donald Gemson Resident Award. Nominations are due November 12, 2010. For more information about the awards and nomination process, please visit: http://www.acpm.org/callforawards.htm .
7. ACPM COMMITTEE CONTINUES TO IMPLEMENT CODE OF ETHICS
The ACPM Committee on Ethics, recently established as a standing committee of the College to oversee ACPM's Code of Ethics and other guidelines, has been actively preparing procedures or recommending policy revisions to support implementation of the Code and other recent policies adopted by the College, such as the CMSS Code for Interactions with Companies. Chaired by Halley Faust, MD, FACPM, the Committee has its own webpage that archives all of its ethics-related policies and procedures, including the Code of Ethics; the Due Process Guidelines; ACPM's Policy on Corporate Relationships; and ACPM's Conflict of Interest Policy. The Committee also has posted its meeting minutes to the site for members to review.
To view the webpage, please visit: http://www.acpm.org/Ethics.htm. If you would like to submit questions/comments to the Committee on Ethics, please email "ethics 'at' acpm.org."
Policy and Practice
8. CMS TO PROVIDE WIDER MEDICARE COVERAGE FOR TOBACCO USE CESSATION COUNSELING
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has updated their Medicare coverage for Tobacco Cessation Counseling for outpatient and hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Part A or B. The new coverage will be open to all Part A and B Medicare beneficiaries "who use tobacco, regardless of whether the patient has signs or symptoms of tobacco-related disease; who are competent and alert at the time counseling is provided; and whose counseling is furnished by a qualified physician or other Medicare-recognized practitioner.” Medicare will now cover up to two individual counseling attempts per year with each attempt having a maximum of four intermediate (more than 3 minutes) or intensive (more than 10 minutes) sessions.
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable illness and death in this country. It is estimated that one in five U.S. deaths each year result from tobacco use, and adults using tobacco have life spans shortened by 14 years on average from their tobacco use. For more information on the update, please visit: http://www.cms.gov/mcd/viewdecisionmemo.asp?id=242
9. PRESIDENT AMENDS BUDGET TO INCREASE HEALTH PROFESSIONS
President Obama used part of the August congressional recess to submit to Congress a series of amendments to his FY 2011 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including a $250 million increase to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the health professions programs. According to the submission, "This amendment would provide an additional $250 million for Health Professions programs to help the health professions training infrastructure expand and sustain training efforts.” Funding for preventive medicine residency training programs is part of HRSA's health professions programs.
To view the President's budget amendment please visit: http://bit.ly/aamA7I.
10. HEALTH REFORM LAW TO HELP UP TO 16.6 MILLION WORKERS
Starting in 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will provide assistance to many small businesses to offer health insurance to its employees. For the 2010 tax year, up to 35% of a small employer's premium contributions to employee health insurance could be recouped as a tax credit, with further increases in future tax years. This could help small firms, which on average pay 18% more in premiums than large firms, offer and maintain health insurance coverage to its employees. The IRS estimates up to 4 million small businesses may be eligible for this tax credit for 2010, which would impact up to 16.6 million workers according to a study by Jonathan Gruber and Ian Perry of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the Commonwealth Fund.
For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/ciSNO1
Research and Reports
11. DISPARITIES PERSIST IN PREVALENCE OF HIGH BMI AMONG ADOLESCENTS
Obesity rates have started to decline and level off for many adolescents, but continue to increase for certain racial and ethnic minorities, according to a new study from the University of California, San Francisco. The report, which is the first to find significant differences in obesity trends over time by race and ethnicity, appears online in the journal Pediatrics. It also will be published in the September 2010 print issue of the journal.
The authors note that the evidence of increasing racial disparities for obesity underscores the need for more tailored intervention programs and policies targeting high-risk groups.
To read the online version, please visit: http://bit.ly/cfCWKM (subscription required).
12. SUPPORT GROWING FOR MANDATED FLU VACCINE AMONG HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
In an August 31st policy statement, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) joined a handful of other medical and public health organizations (including the AMA, CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Defense, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America) recommending health professionals receive the flu vaccine annually. SHEA now recommends the vaccine be required for initial and continued employment of these employees regardless of whether or not they provide direct patient care.
The policy revises the society's 2005 statement that did not recommend making the annual immunizations a requirement for employment. The mandate would apply to physicians, students, volunteers and contract workers with the only exemptions being workers with a medical contraindication to the vaccine. SHEA goes on to recommend the mandate be implemented as part of a clearly communicated, multi-faceted flu infection control program.
Visit http://tinyurl.com/25qgl7h for the AMAnews.com article on the statement.
13. HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS EMPLOYEES MORE BUT COVERS LESS
Workers on average are paying nearly $4,000 this year toward the cost of family health coverage, an increase of 14 percent, or $482, above what they paid last year, according to the benchmark 2010 Employer Health Benefits Survey recently released by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET).
In addition to higher premiums, the survey found a significant increase in co-pays for visits to physicians' offices, an amount employers usually set. Employees also had to pay more out of pocket to meet deductibles before company plans began picking up the costs. The annual Kaiser/HRET survey provides a detailed picture of private health insurance coverage and costs.
The full report and summary of findings from the annual survey are available online at: http://ehbs.kff.org/
14. HHS SEEKS COMMENT ON NATIONAL QUALITY STRATEGY
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking comment on a proposed National Quality Strategy, established under the Affordable Care Act. The strategy includes a comprehensive strategic plan and the identification of priorities to improve the delivery of health care services, patient health outcomes, and population health.
HHS welcomes comments and suggestions on all aspects of the proposed structure, principles, conceptualization, and specific details of the National Quality Strategy.
To review the strategy/plan, please visit: http://www.hhs.gov/news/reports/quality/nationalhealthcarequalitystrategy.pdf
15. MEMBERS IN THE NEWS: SARAH JANSSEN
Congratulations to ACPM Member Sarah Janssen, MD, MPH, PhD, for her article, Health Effects of the Gulf Oil Spill, appearing in the September 8, 2010 issue of JAMA.