House Committee Approves Physician Collective Negotiation Bill
On March 30, the House Judiciary Committee voted 26 to 2 to approve the Quality Health Care Coalition Act of 1999. Known as the “Campbell” bill because of its sponsorship by Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.), the measure would permit physicians to join together to negotiate with health plans regarding provisions of contracts. Allowing physicians to form collective bargaining units increases their ability to advocate on behalf of physicians, particularly in regard to the ability of physicians to make appropriate clinical decisions within the construct of a large health plan. While facilitating the ability of physicians to negotiate in good faith, the legislation does not enable physicians to strike. The action moves the legislation closer to a vote by the House of Representatives. Currently, physician organizations are seeking a sponsor in the Senate.
Family Physicians Rally for Patients' Rights Legislation
At a Washington, D.C., press conference held on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, more than 50 family physicians and other family practice advocates urged Congress to pass good patient protections. Managed care reform/patients' rights legislation has passed the House and Senate and is under consideration in a conference committee. However, the measure has been delayed as members struggle to reconcile differences between the two bills. During the Capitol Hill event, which was hosted by Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.), family physicians gave examples of the problems they have faced in providing necessary care to their patients because of interference from health plans. The physicians then visited the office of each of the 33 conferees and provided them with stethoscopes and calculators with the message, “Who do you want caring for you—an accountant or a physician?”
Shalala Announces Ryan White Formula and ADAP Grants for FY 2000
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Donna E. Shalala has announced awards of $794 million in formula grants to 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories to fund primary health care and support services, and medications for low income persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Funded under Title II of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, these grants include nearly $528 million earmarked for state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs), which provide financial assistance to purchase HIV medications. The CARE Act is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the HHS through its HIV/AIDS Bureau. “Increased funding specifically for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program reflects the significant technological advances in HIV/AIDS treatment in the past 10 years,” said Claude Earl Fox, M.D., M.P.H., administrator of HRSA. “The grants announced today will go a long way in getting powerful combination drug therapies, primary care and support services to people with HIV disease.” Title II formula grants are based on a calculation of the estimated number of people living with AIDS in the state or territory. The states receiving the largest grants including the ADAP funds are New York ($138,462,204), California ($106,594,028), Florida ($84,151,932), Texas ($56,932,045) and New Jersey ($40,762,441).
ISMP Launches Site to Correct Medical Errors in Books and Articles
The Institute for Safe Medication Practice (ISMP) has launched a new section of its Web site (http://www.ismp.org) devoted to correcting dosage and other serious medical-related mistakes, as well as incorrect information, found in published articles or health-related books. The new Web section currently provides full information about errors and corrections that have been reported to ISMP and the USP/ISMP Medication Errors Reporting Program (MERP). The section on the Web site is called “Textbook Errata” and was created because ISMP often receives reports about mistakes in texts and articles, yet previously there was no central clearinghouse for practitioners to conveniently and efficiently learn about the corrections for such problems. Textbook Errata must be accessed as a menu option from the home page of ISMP and will be updated continuously. All published errors/corrections reported to MERP will automatically be included in the new Web section.
Deadline Nears on HRSA's Student Loan Repayment Offer
The Health Resources and Services Administration's Faculty Loan Repayment Program will contribute up to $20,000 a year for two years toward repaying the principal and interest on educational loans for qualified individuals. In return, the recipient must serve on the faculty at an accredited health professions college or university for at least two years. Average individual awards range from $10,000 to $18,000 a year. Applications must be received by May 31, 2000. For more information, visit the Web site at http://www.hrsa.gov/ or e-mail a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
AAFP Awards Honor Research Efforts of Residents
The Commission on Clinical Policies and Research of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has announced winners in the 2000 Resident Scholars Competition. The awards recognize resident achievement in research and scholarly activity. Papers are submitted to the AAFP for the competition. The winners for 2000 are Kenneth Fink, M.D., Chapel Hill, N.C., “The Role of the Obstetrician-Gynecologist in Providing Extended Primary Care to Elderly Women”; Diane Johnson, M.D., Midlothian, Va., “Evaluation of a Screening Tool for Detecting Gestational Diabetes in a Tertiary Hospital”; and Steve Handler, M.D., Malden, Mass., “Use of Personal Digital Assistants to Disseminate Contact Information in a Multi-Facility Residency Program.” Seven residents received honorable mention awards. For more information, visit the AAFP Web site at https://www.aafp.org/resident/scholars.html.