AAFP Seeks Physicians to be Key Legislative Contacts
In order to give family physicians more influence in legislative affairs, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has built a network of key legislative contacts. These AAFP members have an inside track on pending legislation. They receive updates about proposed bills and occasionally receive alerts asking them to contact lawmakers about health-related issues. AAFP is encouraging its members to consider serving as legislative contacts. Key contacts find that their lawmakers need and appreciate input on health issues. For more information about serving as a contact, contact Jennifer Lee by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by telephone (888-794-7481).
Online Site Offers Latest Health News
The National Library of Medicine has created a daily news source of health information published by major U.S. print media. Visitors to the site (http://www.medlineplus.gov) will find daily articles from the Associated Press, New York Times Syndicate and United Press International. News stories will be linked to one or more of 430 health topics within the Medlineplus site. “This latest news feature from authoritative press sources is a new and welcome addition to our service,” said Donald Lindberg, M.D., library director.
HRSA Awards $42.3 Million for Early HIV Treatment
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will provide $42.3 million in grants to help support treatment facilities in 22 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico for persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The three-year grants are intended to provide early intervention, outpatient health care and related services to low-income people with the disease or who are at risk of contracting the disease. The grants are funded under the Title III Early Intervention Services program of the Ryan White CARE (Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency) Act. Seventy-one facilities will share the grants; the largest awards will go to the Kansas City Free Health Clinic ($912,875) in Kansas City, Mo., Chicago Health Outreach ($866,863) and the El Rio-Santa Cruz Neighborhood Health Center ($822,150) in Tucson, Ariz.
President's Prescription Drug Proposal at Issue
President Bush's proposal for a prescription drug benefit for senior citizens falls short of what is needed, says AAFP President Richard Roberts, M.D., J.D. According to Dr. Roberts, turning the benefit over to states to establish programs separate from Medicare would take too long and would create an inconsistent patchwork of programs. Dr. Roberts praised Bush's proposal to give priority consideration to those below or near the poverty level; however, the next higher income bracket would have to meet a $6,000 out-of-pocket threshold for participation. The AAFP is calling for a prescription drug benefit that would be an integral part of the Medicare program rather than a separate private insurance program. For more information about AAFP's proposal for a prescription drug benefit, visithttps://www.aafp.org/news/20010201stmt.html.
NRHA Issues Legislative Agenda for 2001
The policy board of the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) has adopted an agenda outlining health care policy issues, both legislative and regulatory, important to the U.S. rural health care delivery system. The agenda promotes issues that the NRHA wants considered by Congress, federal regulatory agencies, the White House, states and the health care industry. These issues include access to health services under managed care, universal health care coverage, strengthening the National Health Service Corps and eliminating health disparities among rural populations. To view the agenda on the Web, go tohttp://www.nrharural.org/dc/2001Agenda.html.
U.S. Registry Created for Alopecia Areata
A national registry for alopecia areata, a disease that causes unexplained hair loss, has been established by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health. The registry will be located at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, with affiliated centers at the University of Colorado, Denver, the University of California at San Francisco, the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and Columbia University, New York City. Registry scientists will seek out and classify data for patients with alopecia areata. Researchers hope the registry will be useful in locating the gene or genes associated with alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that strikes men and women of all races. There is no known permanent cure.
Madeleine Duvic, M.D., M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, will be the lead investigator for the registry. Patient enrollment will begin this fall.
AHRQ Awards $5.5 Million for Domestic Violence Research
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will grant about $5.5 million over the next five years for four research projects to improve care for victims of domestic violence. The projects are: Treatment Outcomes for Abused Women in Public Clinics (University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston); Randomized Control Trial of Computer Screening for Domestic Violence (University of Chicago); Cost and Benefits of Intervening (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston); and Outcomes for Intimate Partner Violence: Patient and Provider Perspectives (University of California at San Francisco).