October 26, 2012
By Amy Kaufman*
AMA Sent Letter to CMS Regarding Sunshine Act Rules
American Medical News (10/22) reports that the American Medical Association (AMA) sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner urging the Agency to implement regulations related to the disclosure of physician-industry relationships that will ensure the accuracy of reporting. AMA also asserted that "it is critically important that the final rule and resulting mode of implementation do not create the impression that the transparency reporting requirements establish ethical standards or reflect program integrity or fraud and abuse laws."
Increased Competition for Resident Spots Due to Government Cap and More Interest
Kaiser Health News (10/23) reports that a government freeze on resident training positions might have the potential to deter the growth in medical school classes. According to a recent report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the number of medical students increased by 1.5%. However, in the future there might be tension between this growth and a cap on the number of resident spots available imposed by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 to limit Medicare spending. Because of this tension, AAMC President and Chief Executive Officer Darrell Kirch suggested that medical students "are finding it challenging to get the position they want, in the geographic area they want to practice."
Partnerships Between Doctors and Lawyers Can Help Patients
Boston White Coat Notes (10/22) highlights Dr. Barry Zuckerman's view of the importance of doctor-lawyer partnerships in meeting patients' needs. According to Zuckerman, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center, a key to meeting needs of patients outside of the exam room may involve partnerships between doctors and lawyers, as "new models of paying for health care ask [physicians] to do more to protect the overall health of the patients that they serve."
Unified System to Accredit Osteopathic GME Programs
Modern Physician (10/24) reports that the "Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education ("ACGME"), the American Osteopathic Association ("AOA") and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine ("AACOM") are pursuing a unified system—to be ready by July 2015—for accrediting osteopathic graduate medical education programs." Under the organizations' agreement, ACGME will accredit the osteopathic programs that AOA currently accredits, and both AOA and AACOM will become members of ACGME. ACGME currently evaluates approximately 9000 residency programs at 700 institutions. (Note: registration is required to access this article.)
*We would like to thank Amy E. Kaufman, Esquire (Patton Boggs LLP, Washington, DC), for preparing this week's update.