|ACPM Headlines 11/26/13|
In this Issue
Policy and Practice
Research and Reports
1. CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS SEND LETTER TO PRESIDENT URGING PMR FUNDING INCREASE
In response to a strong grassroots advocacy push by ACPM members, nearly 50 members of the U.S. House and Senate recently signed a letter to President Obama urging increased funding for preventive medicine residency (PMR) training programs. The letter specifically asks that the president direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make an allocation from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) in FY 2014 to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to expand support for PMR training programs.
Earlier this year the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2014 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill, which set aside $25 million from the PPHF to support "health workforce” programs at HRSA. In FY 2013, HRSA funding for PMR training programs through "public health and preventive medicine” was nearly $3 million.
A report by NDD United, a broad based coalition of national organizations committed to protecting federal programs funded through the non-defense discretionary (NDD) budget, highlights the impact of sequestration on preventive medicine residency (PMR) training programs. The report, Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure, features comments from ACPM Immediate Past President Miriam Alexander, MD, MPH, FACPM, and Linda Hill, MD, MPH, FACPM, PMR program directors at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and University of California San Diego, respectively, who bring to light the negative impact sequestration has had on their programs.
"This is the first year UCSD does not have a [HRSA] grant, so this is the worst year of my life. I will cut back on residency slots, lay off faculty – I’ve laid off one already – and turn to volunteer faculty to keep my program afloat,” said Dr. Hill. The report details the impact of sequestration across various areas of the NDD budget.
New guidelines published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology by the America College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) on treatment of high blood cholesterol to reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk in adults may significantly shift how physicians treat patients at risk of heart disease. The new guidelines suggest physicians use a new risk assessment tool and grading system that could significantly increase the number of people placed on a statin treatment regimen.
As a result of the shift in treatment protocol, the guidelines have generated controversy that centers on the validity of the calculator used to assess risk. A New York Times article recently stated that, "In a major embarrassment to the health groups, the calculator appears to greatly overestimate risk, so much so that it could mistakenly suggest that millions more people are candidates for statin drugs.” Former ACC president Steve Nissen, MD noted, "It’s stunning. We need a pause to further evaluate this approach before it is implemented on a widespread basis.”
4. KEEP YOUR ACPM MEMBERSHIP CURRENT
It’s that time again! ACPM’s annual membership dues renewal season is well underway. First and second notices reminding members of the upcoming December 31 expiration date have been mailed. We encourage you to submit your membership dues renewal as soon as possible to ensure continuation of valuable ACPM member benefits, including reduced rates on annual meeting registration, CME/MOC credit discounts (members pay no fees—while non-members pay $10 per credit!), publications, and much more.
To renew your membership, simply visit our website and login with your username and password, select the option to "Manage Profile” and "Click to Renew Your Membership Dues.” Our quick and convenient online renewal process also offers the option to obtain a receipt for your transaction.
ACPM’s Board of Regents adopted policy last year reducing the "grace period” for non-renewing members to continue receiving ACPM benefits. So don’t wait—renew your membership today and stay connected with ACPM! Also, be sure to take a few moments and update your member profile with current contact information, which will help assure you derive the most value from your dues dollars.
ACPM's major gift campaign—"Prevention Matters. ACPM Matters. Your Gift Matters.”—is underway, as we ask members to demonstrate their commitment to preventive medicine and ACPM with a one-time, enhanced financial contribution. This week,we profile Mary Applegate, MD, MPH, FACPM, an ACPM member, as she shares her thoughts on the importance of supporting ACPM. "I know that every contribution I make to ACPM makes a real difference in what the organization can do; it doesn't just disappear like a drop in the ocean."
ACPM recently signed on to a letter to House and Senate Agriculture Committees opposing the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act (H.R. 3102). The bill would cut $38 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a program that supports food assistance and free school meals for low-income families and individuals. A total of 45 national and 87 state and local organizations joined ACPM on the sign-on letter.
ACPM joined its partners in the Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) on a letter to House and Senate budget conferees to preserve investments in the health professions workforce programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The letter states that the nation faces a shortage of health professionals across disciplines and highlights how HRSA workforce programs are designed to improve the supply, diversity, and distribution of the health care workforce.
8. LATEST FROM THE USPSTF: SCREENING FOR ORAL CANCER AND VITAMINS FOR CANCER PREVENTION
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued two recommendation statements in the past two weeks:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Guide to Community Preventive Services, in collaboration with the National Association of County and City Health Officials, has released a public health accreditation guide, The Community Guide – Public Health Accreditation Board Crosswalk: A Tool to Support Accreditation and Increase Use of Evidence-Based Approaches.
The guide was developed for public health departments seeking voluntary accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board. The guide highlights cost-effective public health interventions and provides guidance on identifying specific interventions that are most suitable for a particular community.
The White House has announced that President Obama intends to nominate Vivek Hallegere Murthy, MD, MBA to be the nation's next surgeon general. Dr. Murthy received his MBA from the Yale School of Management and MD from the Yale School of Medicine. In 2008, he founded Washington, D.C.-based Doctors for America, a group of 16,000 physicians and medical students striving to improve access to affordable, high quality health care. He currently serves as a Hospitalist Attending Physician and Instructor in Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health.
11. FLAWED ANALYSIS MAY HAVE LED TO BLOCKING OF CIGARETTE GRAPHIC WARNING LABELS
A new study in the scientific journal Tobacco Control provides new evidence that graphic warning labels on cigarette packs are effective in reducing smoking rates and that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vastly underestimated the impact that proposed graphic warnings would have in reducing smoking in the United States.
The study concludes that the FDA’s estimation in 2011 of the impact of graphic warnings in the U.S., which was based on Canada’s experience after it adopted graphic warnings in 2000, was "flawed.” The study’s main findings include:
The FDA’s flawed analysis was a key factor in the August 2012 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that struck down the proposed warnings. The court found that the agency "…lacks any evidence that the graphic warnings are likely to reduce smoking rates,” and therefore the FDA had not met the legal requirement of demonstrating that the proposed warnings would directly advance a substantial government interest.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) should not be classified as "generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use in food.
PHO’s are the primary dietary source of artificial transfat in processed foods. Dietary trans fats raise the risk of coronary events. In recent years many food manufacturers have voluntarily removed PHOs from their products, and public awareness has further reduced their consumption. The FDA’s preliminary determination is based upon findings of expert scientific panels using the best available evidence. It states that "no safe level of consumption” of PHOs exists, and estimates that further reductions could prevent an additional 20,000 coronary events and 7,000 deaths annually. The new proposal would reclassify PHO’s as "food additives”, and could not be used in food without prior FDA authorization.
The FDA has opened a 60-day comment period to collect additional data and opinions before finalizing its determination. Public comments may be made until January 7, 2014.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Population Reference Bureau has published a study in Health Affairs proposing a new way to measure health care disparities. The study, "‘Double Jeopardy’ Measure Suggests Blacks and Hispanics Face More Severe Disparities than Previously Indicated,” recommends using insurance coverage rates of Blacks and Hispanics over their lifetime to measure "double jeopardy”—or the amount of time they are likely to spend uninsured and at high risk for needing medical care. The authors believe these measures can be used to quantify progress towards eliminating health disparities.
14. SEEKING ACPM MEMBERS TO ADVISE ‘TEXTING WHILE DRIVING’ POSITION STATEMENT
The ACPM Prevention Practice Committee (PPC) is seeking ACPM members with expertise in injury prevention, distracted driving, or transportation to serve as advisors on its "Texting While Driving” position statement for the College. The authors are currently revising the manuscript for resubmission to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on February 1st. If you are interested in lending your expertise to this article prior to its final submission, please contact Andrea Lowe, ACPM Policy and Practice Manager, at email@example.com. All advisors will be acknowledged in the final publication.
Participate in the Healthy People 2020 process! The public comment period will be open from November 13 through December 4, 2013.
Public comment will allow you to:
To participate in the public comment period, visit the online public comment database. Comments will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. ET on December 4, 2013.