|New Prevention Coverage Regulations Announced|
by Samuel Peik
On July 14, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new cost-sharing regulations from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). New health insurance plans after September 23 will be required to cover certain preventive services with no cost-sharing, such as copays or deductibles. Services with an "A" or "B" recommendation from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) were considered for coverage.
The regulations cover a wide range of preventive services including some routine tests and screenings, counseling, immunizations, well-child visits, prenatal care, and cancer screenings. A full list of covered services can be found at http://www.healthcare.gov/law/about/provisions/services/lists.html.
This will likely raise the profile of the USPSTF, thrusting their recommendations into the political landscape as well as the clinical. Lobbyists, interest groups, and insurance companies may have the USPSTF in their crosshairs to make sure certain issues are eligible for coverage. It will be important for the USPSTF to maintain its independent status to provide the most accurate and up-to-date recommendations for clinical preventive medicine.
This highlights one of the major prevention initiatives in the ACA. ACPM and RPS are committed to promoting health and wellness through prevention and these regulations should increase the likelihood of patients utilizing recommended preventive services.
|15 Preventive Medicine Residency Programs to Receive $9 million from HHS|
By Clarence Lam
On July 23, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that 15 residency programs were being awarded a total of $9 million to train additional preventive medicine physicians. $6.7 million of the awarded funds were provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the Recovery Act). The remaining $2.3 million was appropriated as part of the annual federal budget process (FY2010 regular appropriation).
The goals of the awards are to develop new residency programs and improve and expand existing programs. According to HHS, about 56 residents will be provided financial support from the awarded funds.
"Preventive medicine physicians have training in both clinical medicine and public health, giving them a unique understanding of how to reduce the risks of disease and disability for the increasing number of people in need," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebeliusin a press release.
Of the Recovery Act funds, the three highest awardees each received more than $1 million. These included preventive medicine residency programs at Griffin Hospital in Connecticut, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the University of California, Davis.
The highest awardees of the FY2010 regular appropriation included the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the University of Utah.
A complete list of the awardees can be found here: http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/programs/hrsa/healthprofessionsawardees.html
|PM Gets an Advocate at HRSA|
by Charlie Preston
Recently, the preventive medicine community received some encouraging news when it was announced that preventive medicine physician Wendy Braund will oversee HRSA's preventive medicine residency training grant program. Paul Bonta, ACPM's Associate Executive Director for Policy and Government Affairs, said ACPM had worked hard to get a placement and that it was important to have Dr. Braund at HRSA, "because we've needed a strong PM advocate working inside HRSA, and now we have one."
The new addition could potentially have a big impact on funding for preventive medicine residency training programs. The baseline HRSA appropriation has been about $2.3 million per year, but now, there is hope that the appropriation can be increased, and increased in time for the President's February budget request to Congress for FY 2012*. This is a goal that has been elusive in years past.
Not only can such an advocate shape financial priorities, but she can also be more sensitive to the rhythms and needs of PM residency training programs. For example, the recent announcement and disbursement of grants to PM training programs was too late to affect this year's incoming class of residents. Explaining why this is a problem, Johns Hopkins program director Miriam Alexander said, "We've had to make admissions decisions well before HRSA notified us of our award and therefore had to plan as if we would NOT get the award. We are therefore in a position in which applicants who we would very much have liked to admit made other plans. Furthermore, we are going to have to go back to HRSA and negotiate a re-allocation of the awarded funds since they were specifically designated to support incoming residents as of July 1, 2010."
*October 1, 2011- September 30, 2012
by Jordana Rothschild
The Let's Move! campaign, started by First Lady Michelle Obama, has the goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. In February 2010, President Obama created a Task Force on Childhood Obesity, which has since published a report that includes 70 recommendations to combat childhood obesity. The recommendations revolve around five principles, four of which are pillars of the Let's Move! Campaign:
- Early childhood: prenatal care, breastfeeding, chemical exposures, screen time, and early care and education
- Empowering parents and caregivers: making nutritional information useful, food marketing, and health care services
- Healthy food in schools: quality school meals, other food in schools, food related factors in the school environment, and food in other institutions
- Access to healthy, affordable food: physical access to healthy food, food pricing, product formulation, and hunger and obesity
- Increasing physical activity: school-based approaches, expanded day and afterschool activities, the "built environment", and community recreation venues
Mrs. Obama has created an active campaign to engage parents, children, schools, and industry to help fight childhood obesity. The goal of Let's Move! is to decrease the national childhood obesity rate from the current rate of 19.6% (2007-8) to the rate of 5% (which was the baseline rate in 1970, before the obesity epidemic) by the year 2030. This will involve bending the curve of obesity trends so that by 2015, there will be a 2.5% reduction in each of the current rates of overweight and obese children, and by 2020, a 5% reduction. Progress will be monitored by the NHANES data from CDC.
ACGME Call for Nominations
The ACGME Resident Review Committee (RRC) for Preventive Medicine is seeking nominations for its next resident member. The deadline to submit nominations has been extended to August 20, 2010. Details on the responsibilities for the position and more information on the nomination process are available through the ACGME website:
The American Public Health Association 138th Annual Meeting and Exposition will take place November 6-10, 2010 in Denver, CO. The topic for this year is "Social Justice: A Public Health Imperative." The deadline for early bird registration fees is August 27th. Learn more at www.apha.org/meetings.
ACGME Public Comment Period Ending
The Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has published proposed changes to national medical residency programs, with a public comment period open until August 9, 2010. To view the proposal click here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMsb1005800 and to comment, click here:
FDA Seeks Public Comment on Menu Labeling Provisions
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking public comment on the new menu labeling requirement enacted in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The comments are open 60 days from July 7, 2010. To comment, click: