News in Brief: Week of Oct. 17-21

October 19, 2011 04:10 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

Academy Leader Blog Posting Updates Now Available Via E-mail

Academy members who want to be notified as soon as a new AAFP Leader Voices blog entry is posted now can receive that notification via e-mail.

AAFP Leader Voices, which recently was launched by the Academy, allows leaders to comment on the activities they are undertaking to advocate members' interests and permits them to update members about other AAFP activities. The blog includes a comments field, so members can engage with those leaders by asking questions or expressing their opinions of what is written in a particular blog entry.

For members who want to be updated every time an AAFP leader posts a new blog entry, there is a place in the right-hand column of the blog page where they can sign up to receive e-mail notification.

CMS Seeks Individuals for New Innovation Advisors Program

CMS' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation is looking for as many as 200 health care professionals, including physicians, health care executives and practice managers, to participate in phase one of a new initiative called the Innovation Advisors Program( The goal of the nearly $6 million effort is to create a network of experts to test new models of health care delivery and drive health system reform.

Selected individuals will receive a fellowship award of $20,000 and must commit about 10 hours per week during the initial six-month training period. That time will be dedicated to orientation, training seminars and applied research.

Applications( are due by Nov. 15, and selected individuals will begin work in mid-December. Online resources include a document with frequently asked questions(, a fact sheet( and an e-mail address to which further inquiries can be sent.

Got a Good Health Care Story? Earn a $1,000 Cash Prize

In an effort to illustrate the importance of cost awareness in health care, the nonprofit organization Costs of Care has announced its 2011 essay contest( Organizers are looking for stories that illustrate how cost awareness leads to high value care.

A total of four $1,000 prizes will be awarded. Two cash awards will go to health care professionals and two to patients. Entries should be 750 words or less, typewritten and double-spaced.

According to a press release(, the deadline for submissions is Nov. 15. Contest judges include Peter Orzsag, former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D.

Read samples of essays( submitted to last year's contest online.

National Quality Forum Launches Quality Positioning System

The National Quality Forum(, or NQF, a nonprofit organization that evaluates and endorses tools for standardized performance measurement in health care, has launched a Web-based tool that aims to help users access and use NQF measures with ease.

The new tool is called the quality positioning system(, and it allows users to, among other things, search for measures by name, number or key search terms. Users also can browse measures by conditions, care settings, data source and other variables, as well as develop individualized portfolios of measures.

NHSC Enrollment Jumped Dramatically in Past Three Years, Says HHS

The number of physicians and other health care professionals who are members of the National Health Service Corps, or NHSC, has nearly tripled during the past three years, jumping from 3,600 members in 2008 to more than 10,000 enrollees this year. That's according to HHS(, which attributes the increase in NHSC enrollment to investments made in the program by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, in addition to annual appropriations.

By relying on these funding sources, the NHSC has been able to award nearly $900 million in scholarships and loan repayments to physicians and other health care professionals during the past few years, making it possible to provide health care services to about 10.5 million patients nationwide in 2011, according to HHS. That's an increase of about 6.8 million patients compared with the number served by NHSC members in 2008.