AAFP Executive Vice President Announces Plans to Depart in 2000
Robert Graham, M.D., executive vice president of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), has announced plans to leave the AAFP sometime in 2000 and has asked the AAFP Board of Directors to begin a search for his replacement. He will continue to serve as the executive vice president until his successor is in place. Dr. Graham has been executive vice president of AAFP since 1985.
“It is with decidedly mixed emotions that the Board of Directors has started discussions on a search process for a new executive vice president,” said Neil Brooks, M.D., chair of the AAFP Board. “The Board would have been more than happy to see Bob's tenure extend into the next decade. However, we understand and respect the reasons for his decision.” Dr. Brooks anticipates that a suitable candidate will be identified by mid-2000.
AAFP Promotes Graduate Medical Education Technical Amendments
The AAFP continues to promote S 541/HR 1222, the Graduate Medical Education Technical Amendments Act of 1999, which was introduced by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Me.) and Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) in the Senate, and Rep. John Baldacci (D-Me.) in the House. The bills would correct technical language in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA '97) that is inadvertently causing serious consequences for family medicine residency programs.
Both Sen. William Roth (R-Del.), chairman of the Finance Committee, and Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), chair of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, are planning to draft either a “BBA fix” bill or larger Medicare reform bill, which will likely be marked up this month. AAFP efforts are now centered on including the graduate medical education bill in either piece of legislation and activities include visits to Capitol Hill, letters of support and key contact alerts.
Appropriations for Title VII and AHCPR Are Supported by AAFP
The AAFP continues to support appropriations of $132.4 million for Section 747 of Title VII of the Public Health Service Act. Section 747 authorizes the Primary Care and Dentistry cluster, which includes family medicine. Specifically, this figure includes $87 million for family medicine programs. The AAFP is also continuing to advocate for appropriations of $225 million for the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) in FY 2000 because of its emphasis on primary care and practice-oriented research.
Unfortunately, action on appropriations for these programs, which are included in the Labor/Health and Human Services (HHS)/Education spending bill, has been blocked because of the tight budget caps mandated under BBA '97. As a result of these caps, the House and Senate subcommittees that draft these bills have billions of dollars less than they need simply to fund programs at current levels. As of this writing, common wisdom has it that the Republican leadership will raise the caps or take money from other sources to adequately fund the Labor/HHS/Education spending bill.
State Legislative Conference Is Planned for November
Plans are under way for the State Legislative Conference of the AAFP, which will take place in La Jolla, Calif., from November 12 to 14. State politicians, political experts, top lobbyists, and AAFP national and state chapter leaders will meet to debate health care reform in the states. Topics to be discussed include scope of practice, political action committees, collective bargaining and managed care.
With over 27,000 health policy-related bills introduced in state legislatures this year, it is critical that family physicians continue to play an active role in crafting these measures. The conference will allow for an open dialogue on the future of patients and family medicine, as well as provide participants with a host of new strategies and insights. The meeting is open to all members of the AAFP. For more information, contact the AAFP Government Relations Division at 888-794-7481.
AHCPR Announces New Evidence-based Research Topics
The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) has announced new research topics for the agency's evidence-based practice centers (EPCs). The EPCs, which serve as science partners to the agency, synthesize their findings in reports that the AHCPR makes publicly available. The new research assignments range from finding measures for hospital quality-of-care indicators to examining the use of garlic for cardiovascular disease and cancer. Other topics include criteria for the referral of patients with epilepsy and treatment of pulmonary disease following spinal cord injury. More information on the AHCPR research topics can be obtained on the AHCPR Web site at http://www.ahcpr.gov
FDA Campaign Attacks the Sale of Tobacco to Minors
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a new advertising campaign in five states and 11 media markets to promote greater compliance with the FDA regulation that makes the sale of tobacco products to minors illegal. The campaign encourages retailers and clerks to help prevent young people from purchasing tobacco products. The theme of the campaign is that tobacco products should not be sold to children ”for a reason.” The campaign is part of the FDA's comprehensive educational program called, “No ID, No Smokes.” The advertisements will run in Colorado, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Michigan and Nevada. In addition, advertisements will be shown in Bridgeport, Conn.; Lafayette, La.; San Antonio, Texas; Springfield, Mo.; Rockford, Ill.; Rochester, N.Y.; Roanoke, Va.; Lawton, Okla.; Augusta, Me.; Washington, D.C.; and Macon, Ga.