February 22, 2013
By Amy Kaufman*
Survey Finds General Support for Residency Workload Requirements
MedPage Today (2/21) reports that a recent survey found that program directors who supervise interns and residents generally approve of resident workload requirements, such as the 80-hour workweek, that went into effect 18 months ago. The survey results were published in a February 21 Perspectives article in The New England Journal of Medicine. Of the 549 individuals who responded to the survey, 87.8% supported residents having one day off per week and 76.7% supported the direct supervision of first-year postgraduate students. However, the authors commented that program directors have "consistently opposed" limiting residents to 16-hour shifts.
American Hospital Association Supports Tavenner Nomination
Becker's Hospital Review (2/18) reports that the American Hospital Association (AHA) supports the nomination of Marilyn Tavenner as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In a letter to Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, AHA described Tavenner's many successes as acting administrator, including "reducing red tape and regulatory burdens, spearheading the Partnership for Patients Initiative, which has helped hospitals reduce infection rates, and pioneering new payment methods." According to the article, the Senate has not confirmed a CMS nominee since 2006.
FDA Revises Device Application Rule
Inside Health Policy (2/19) reports that a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule eliminated a "previously floated" requirement that device applications consider "potential" pediatric uses. The new rule, "which applies to humanitarian device exemptions, premarket applications and supplements, and product development proposals," requires device applications to contain "readily available" information about pediatric populations. FDA decided to modify the proposal in response concerns that it would cause industry players to speculate about how devices can be used. The article cites concerns, however, that "the change could hinder efforts to obtain information about devices, which are often designed for adults but used differently in pediatric populations."
Indiana University Health Sued for Breach of Contract and Misuse of Trade Secrets
Law360 (2/15) reports that MedAssets Supply Chain Systems LLC (MedAssets) filed a lawsuit against Indiana University Health Inc. (IU Health) alleging that the hospital system breached a supply contract and misused the group purchasing organization's (GPO's) trade secrets. According to MedAssets, IU Health disclosed confidential pricing information to one of its competitors and, as a result, the GPO suffered a significant financial loss. Joseph Arruda, a vice president of IH Health, was also named as a defendant in the suit. (Note: registration is required to access the full article.)
Sequestration Threatens Research Jobs in Massachusetts
Boston.com's White Coat News (2/19) reports on concerns that sequestration cuts affecting the National Institutes of Health's research budget could result in the loss of approximately 1,700 research jobs in Massachusetts. At a press conference on Monday, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) suggested that this threat of reduced funding could negatively impact research in the state. According to the article, Warren "urged scientists and others who would be affected by the cuts to get involved in the efforts to stop them by sharing information with lawmakers and the public about their work."
*We would like to thank Amy Kaufman, Esquire (Patton Boggs LLP, Washington, DC), for providing this week's update.