This roundup includes the following news briefs:
Medical students, take note: There's still time to apply for the 2011-12 cycle of the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program(nhsc.hrsa.gov).
The Corps offers scholarships to students who choose a primary care specialty, including family medicine, and agree to work between two and four years in an underserved area in a health professional shortage area(bhpr.hrsa.gov).
The scholarships include tuition and fees, a monthly support stipend and assistance in finding a practice site. The deadline to apply is June 9.
As CMS prepares to issue a final rule on accountable care organizations, or ACOs, the newly created Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation(innovations.cms.gov) has announced three initiatives to spur the adoption of ACOs.
The three initiatives are the
- Pioneer ACO Model(innovation.cms.gov), which is intended to provide a faster path for mature ACOs that have already started coordinating care for patients;
- Advance Payment ACO Initiative(innovation.cms.gov), which would allow certain ACOs participating in the Medicare Shared Program access to a portion of their shared savings up front; and
- Accelerated Development Learning Sessions(acoregister.rti.org) for physicians and other providers interested in learning more about the steps necessary to become an ACO.
HHS has issued a new rule(www.healthcare.gov) that requires state or federal officials to review insurance premium increases of 10 percent or more.
The rule, which takes effect on Sept. 1, is an attempt to moderate large insurance rate increases. The regulation calls for independent experts to scrutinize any proposed increase of 10 percent or more for most individual and small-group health insurance plans, according to an HHS press release(www.hhs.gov). States are primarily responsible for reviewing the rate increases, but HHS will assume the responsibility in states that lack the resources or authority to review the rate hikes.
The rule also requires insurance companies to provide consumers with easy-to-understand information about the reasons for unreasonable rate increases and to post the justification for the hikes on their websites, as well as on the HHS Affordable Care Act website(www.healthcare.gov).
Ohio has awarded a $300,000 grant to a patient-centered medical home, or PCMH, educational task force that is responsible for establishing a PCMH pilot project for 44 primary care practices in the state.
The state enacted a measure last year to create a PCMH pilot project for 40 primary care physician practices and four advanced nursing practices, according to Ann Spicer, EVP of the Ohio AFP. The legislation created a task force composed of primary care representatives to identify and work with primary care practices willing to participate in the pilot project and become medical homes.
The Ohio AFP is acting as the fiscal agent for the project, employing its expertise to "pull pieces of the project together," said Spicer. The chapter used part of the $300,000 grant to hire TransforMed, the AAFP's wholly owned practice redesign subsidiary, to evaluate practices for participation in the project and to make recommendations to the PCMH educational task force.
A report from the Association of American Medical Colleges, or AAMC, on women in academic medicine shows that women comprise more than 40 percent of full-time faculty members in family medicine departments in U.S. medical schools.
According to AAMC's 2009-10 "Women in U.S. Academic Medicine: Statistics and Benchmarking Report(www.aamc.org)," there were 4,373 full-time family medicine faculty members last year. Of that total, 2,471, or about 57 percent, were men and 1,902, or 43 percent, were women.
By rank, the percentage of women was greatest at the instructor level, at 61 percent. It was least at the full professor level, with women comprising 25 percent of full-time family medicine professors.
By comparison, more than half, or 52 percent, of full-time faculty members in OB-Gyn departments were women, the highest among 17 clinical sciences departments. Orthopedic surgery departments had the lowest percentage of full-time women faculty members, at 15 percent.
The annual report examines data on women faculty by rank, department, degree and ethnicity, as well as levels of institutional support for women in medical education.
A total of 117 medical schools responded to the survey.