News in Brief: Week of Feb. 4-8

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

Medical Schools, Teaching Hospitals Among Organizations Chosen for Bundling Pilot

A total of 10 medical schools and teaching hospitals are among the 500 organizations recently named by CMS as participants in its new Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative(innovation.cms.gov).

According to a Jan. 31 press release(www.aamc.org) from the Association of American Medical Colleges, 50 academic medical centers also will be part of the three-year project aimed at controlling costs and improving health care quality by bundling payments for defined episodes of care.

In a press release(www.cms.gov) issued the same day, CMS said individual organizations representing participating health care professionals will give the agency a discount on payments expected for an episode of care. The health care team then will work together to reduce readmissions, duplicative care and complications in an effort to lower costs through improvement.

CMS has published(innovation.cms.gov) definitions of specific episodes of care that are central to the program's success, as well as a list of the first group of awardees selected to participate in the bundling initiative.

OSHA Offering Web Page for Clinicians

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced it has created a new clinicians' Web page(www.osha.gov) that addresses work-related health and safety issues physicians and other health care professionals often encounter when caring for patients.

The new Web page is designed to help clinicians navigate all the resources available on OSHA's main website(www.osha.gov) and provide care for their workers. Topics on the Web page include evaluating occupational exposures, OSHA requirements for record-keeping and medical records, and setting up a safe outpatient office.

PCORI Solicits Next Round of Clinical Effectiveness Research Projects

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is accepting letters of intent for cycle III applications to support a portfolio of patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research projects that align with the institute's National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda(www.pcori.org).

Each priority represents a line of research inquiry that addresses unmet needs of patients, their caregivers, clinicians and other health care system stakeholders in making personalized health care decisions across a wide range of conditions and treatments. The five priority areas are

  • assessment of prevention, diagnosis and treatment options;
  • improving health care systems;
  • communication and dissemination research;
  • addressing disparities; and
  • accelerating patient-centered outcomes research and methodological research.

Prospective applicants can view a training video(www.pcori.org) to learn more about how to submit a letter of intent and other PCORI requirements.

NIH Funding Directly Affects Production of Family Physicians, Says Study

A new one-page document issued by the AAFP's Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, says that the NIH has played a direct role in perpetuating the shortage of family physicians by providing low funding amounts for family medicine departments.

The study found that the NIH awarded $57.6 billion in grants to universities between 2006 and 2010, but family medicine departments received less than $354 million, or about 0.4 percent of those funds. According to the study, "the amount of research funding to a family medicine department is positively associated with the size of the family medicine faculty and the number of graduates choosing to enter family medicine."

"Using NIH award amounts and the percentage of medical students entering family medicine between 2006 and 2010, we found a negative correlation between the overall NIH funding a medical school receives and the number of graduates entering family medicine."

The one-pager calls on the NIH to make primary care research a priority and points out that recent NIH efforts that include clinical and translational science awards serve as opportunities to expand NIH research to promote primary care.

AAMC Releases New Data on Diversity in Medical Education

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has released the 17th iteration of its facts and figures data series. The new Diversity in Medical Education: Facts & Figures 2012(members.aamc.org) provides students, medical educators, policymakers and other stakeholders with a raft of data on race, ethnicity and gender in medical education in the United States for the 2011 academic year.

The report also documents nearly a decade's worth of trending information on selected topics, including U.S. medical school graduates, U.S. medical school faculty and the medical education pipeline.

Among notable findings in the 2012 report is that Caucasian applicants to U.S. medical schools declined nearly 26 percent in the past 30 years, and, in 2011, 50 percent of all applicants were nonwhite.

Compilation and publication of the AAMC data series is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


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