Newsletter

Am Fam Physician. 2002 Jun 15;65(12):2421-2423.

HRSA Awards $28.6 Million to Primary Care Associations and Offices

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the awarding of almost $28.6 million to primary care associations (PCAs) and primary care offices (PCOs) to improve and expand health care services offered by America's safety-net providers and increase access to these agencies for local residents. Fifty state and regional PCAs received about $18.9 million, while 53 PCOs received over $9.6 million. PCAs are private, nonprofit organizations that provide training and technical assistance to health centers and other safety-net providers, plan for the growth of health centers in their state, and enhance the quality of care provided by health centers. PCOs are state government offices that recruit and retain providers to work in underserved areas, assess the need for health care and primary care providers in their state, and apply to have parts of their state designated as health professional shortage areas. For more information on the recipients of these grants, visit the HRSA newsroom Web site at http://newsroom.hrsa.gov.

U.S. Elected to Executive Board of the World Health Organization

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson recently announced that the United States has been elected to a three-year position on the executive board of the World Health Organization (WHO). The executive board comprises 32 members and oversees strategic planning, policy development, and implementation of the World Health Assembly, the main decision-making body of the WHO. The United States will be one of six representatives from the region of the Americas. “The mission of the World Health Organization is absolutely vital for promoting and improving the health status of communities worldwide, particularly within vulnerable populations,” said HHS Secretary Thompson. “We are pleased to be working with our international partners on these efforts and look forward to advancing the health of the global community.” A listing of specific member countries can be viewed at www.who.int/executive_board/members/index.en.html.

IOM Report Shows Consequences of Being Uninsured

A new report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) shows that uninsured adults are at higher risk of premature death, are more likely to have diminished health status, and are less likely to receive recommended screening and preventive services compared with insured adults. This report also found that uninsured victims of trauma are more likely to die of their injuries, and that being uninsured for even a year greatly diminishes a person's general health. The report, Care Without Coverage: Too Little, Too Late, which is the second in a series issued by the IOM Committee on the Consequences of Uninsurance, summarizes the research evidence contrasting the health of insured and uninsured adults. “(This) report about the health consequences of not having health insurance should come as no surprise to anyone,” said Warren Jones, M.D., Ridgeland, Miss., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). “However, it should spur us to take action. The uninsured status of nearly 40 million Americans is a national problem that needs to be addressed at a national level.” To order a copy of the IOM report, visit www.nap.edu/catalog/10367.html, or call the National Academy Press at 800-624-6242.

New Mental Health Guide for Children Released

A new primary care guide for treating mental health conditions in children was recently released as part of the Bright Futures series. The two-volume set, titled Bright Futures in Practice: Mental Health, includes information for family physicians on promoting mental health; identifying the support that infants, children, and adolescents need for good mental health; and providing a framework for developing and implementing mental health promotion programs and policies in a variety of settings. The guide also includes a tool kit for health professionals and families to use in screening, care management, and health education. The guidelines were developed with funding from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the HRSA and have been supported by over 50 national organizations. The guide is published by the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health at Georgetown University. To order the guide, go online to www.brightfutures.org/mentalhealth/index.html, or call 301-279-8890.

Committee Recommends Eliminating Documentation Guidelines

The Health and Human Services (HHS) Advisory Committee on Regulatory Reform recently voted 20-1 to recommend eliminating documentation guidelines for evaluation and management (E and M) services. The only vote of opposition to this reform came from AARP. This recommendation will be reviewed by HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. The committee was created by Secretary Thompson in 2001 to provide recommendations for changes that would reduce the regulatory burdens in health care, respond faster to the concerns of health care providers, and improve the quality of health care for Americans.

Scholarship Opportunities Available to Residents

The deadline is July 16 for family practice residents to apply for scholarships and educational grants to attend the 24th Annual Conference on Patient Education, Nov. 21 to 24 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Awards will be based on several criteria, including the applicant's patient education activity, program director recommendations, and Academy membership. In 2001, 69 family practice residents received financial assistance to attend the conference. The conference, which targets family physicians and other primary care health professionals, is sponsored by the AAFP and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM). For more information on the scholarships, go online to www.aafp.org/pec/2002/grants.html.


Copyright © 2002 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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