New Manual Available to Assist in Compliance with HIPAA
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 allows the federal government to mandate how physicians store and transmit patients' personal health information as it relates to the administration, provision, and payment of health care. On April 14, 2001, the federal government finalized the Privacy Rule and published regulations for implementing HIPAA's privacy provisions. Physician practices must be in compliance with these regulations by April 14, 2003. Many of the rules are common sense and will not require major displacement in physician practices. More complex rules include providing patients with more control over the content of their medical records and the disclosure of that information to other entities. To assist family physicians in becoming compliant with these new requirements, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has partnered with a practice management firm and health law firm to create a “how to” HIPAA privacy manual. The 131-page manual contains checklists and sample documents including sample privacy policies and procedures, a model business associate contract, and patient consent form. The manual can be purchased online atwww.aafp.org/hipaa or by calling 800–944–0000. The manual is available in pdf and Microsoft Word formats for $50 and in print or on CD-ROM for $100, including updates.
Family Practice Match Results Show Improved Fill Rate
Results released by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) indicates that the 2002 national fill rate for family practice residency positions was 79 percent (2,357 positions filled of 2,983 position offered), representing an increase from last year's 76.3 percent. The fill-rate percentage for seniors in the United States fell from 49 percent in 2001 to 47.4 percent in 2002. The conclusion of the 2002 match was that medical students are continuing to demonstrate a slight preference for medical subspecialties over primary care practice and are selecting careers that provide more flexible lifestyle choices, potential for greater financial incentives, fewer external productivity pressures, and more generous third party-payer reimbursement. For a complete listing of the 2002 NRMP results, visitwww.aafp.org/match.
AMSA Encourages Students to Support Work Week Regulations Act
The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) is leading a national reform effort in conjunction with federal legislation to address the issues of physician burnout and medical errors. AMSA is encouraging medical students nationwide to call their representatives in Washington, D.C., to support the federal regulation of resident work hours as introduced by the Patients and Physician Safety and Protection Act of 2001 (PPSPA). The legislation was introduced in November 2001 by Rep. John Conyers, Jr., (D-Mich.) and calls for a limit on resident work hours of 80 hours per week and no more than 24 hours per shift. The proposed legislation will also provide for annual surveys of resident-physician working conditions, public disclosure of hospitals that violate the hours limits and the imposition of civil penalties for noncompliant hospitals. This legislation has been endorsed by such organizations as the Committee of Interns and Residents, the Center for Patient Advocacy, the American Medical Women's Association, Public Citizen, and the Service Employees International Union. For more information on this legislation, contact Joel Segal at 202–225–5126. For additional information on AMSA's involvement, visit their Web site atwww.amsa.org.
Annals of Family Medicine Announces Editors
The Annals of Family Medicine, a new journal that will publish original primary care research, has named family physician and epidemiologist Kurt Stange, M.D., Ph.D., Cleveland, as its editor, and family physician William R. Phillips, M.D., M.P.H., Seattle, as its senior associate editor. Annals, which will begin publishing six times annually in spring 2003, aims to foster a basic and applied science of generalist practice. It will include clinical, biomedical, social and health services research, and articles on methodology and theory. Dr. Stange is a professor of family medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics, oncology, and sociology at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. He also serves as an associate director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western University, and directs the Center for Research in Family Practice and Primary Care. Dr. Phillips is a clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle. He has served as president of the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG), as chair of the Commission on Clinical Policies and Research for the AAFP, and is a senior research assistant at the Battelle Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation.
Six family medicine organizations have joined to publish this new peer-reviewed research journal: the AAFP, the American Board of Family Practice (ABFP), the Association of Departments of Family Medicine (ADFM), the Association of Family Practice Residency Directors (AFPRD), NAPCRG, and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM).
Family Physician Named Vice-Chair of COGME
The Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) recently elected F. Marian Bishop, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., as its new vice-chair. Bishop is currently professor and chair emeritus of the University of Utah School of Medicine's Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Salt Lake City. The COGME advises the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary and Congress on physician workforce trends, training issues and financing policies. The council also makes recommendations about the supply and distribution of physicians and the appropriate efforts of hospitals, medical schools, and accrediting bodies to deliver health care to the nation. Bishop has been president of the STFM and the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine, and has served on the National Health Service Corps Advisory Council and the Executive Committee of the National Board of Medical Examiners.