Archive for March of 2008

President-elect DiMarco Inaugurates NYSOMS Offices

March 31, 2008
AOA President-elect Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, concluded his visit at the New York State Osteopathic Medical Society’s (NYSOMS) Eastern Regional Osteopathic Convention, which was held 3/27-30/08 in Smithtown, NY. President-elect DiMarco was asked to preside over the induction of new NYSOMS Officers, including administering the oath of office to incoming NYSOMS President Richard R. Terry, DO. He also addressed NYSOMS members during the President’s Award Reception on 3/29/08, bringing greetings from the AOA and urging all NYSOMS members to become “Fit for Life.”

Outreach to NY Osteopathic Medical Students

March 31, 2008
While in New York over the weekend, President-elect DiMarco took the opportunity to address osteopathic medical students from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of the New York Institute of Technology (NYCOM) and the Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine – Harlem (TOUROCOM). He asked these future DOs to help make AOA President Peter B. Ajluni’s, DO, “Fit for Life” theme a success by planning healthy living and fitness events on their campuses and in their communities. He also reminded the students that the AOA is the professional organization representing their needs and is here to support them throughout their careers.

Practice Managers Called into Service

March 31, 2008
The AOA is concerned about the financial strains placed on physicians’ practices by mounting regulatory and administrative demands. To address these concerns, the AOA has developed a Practice Managers’ Task Force, a collection of practice managers who have experience working with billing, coding, vendors, and Medicare contractors. They will work to create quality data that demonstrates the impact of federal health care regulations on osteopathic physician practices, which will then be used in communications with federal agencies to influence future regulatory policy and reduce the burdens on physicians. If you would like to participate in the Practice Managers’ Task Force, please email your name, practice address, email, phone, and fax number to govt-issues@osteopathic.org. For questions about the Task Force, please call Carol Monaco at (202) 414-0140.

Foundations Section Editors Convene

March 31, 2008
The Section Editors of the Foundations of Osteopathic Medicine III textbook met in Dallas, TX, on 3/27/08 meeting under the leadership of Chair Anthony G. Chila, DO, Executive Editor. This meeting was convened with the Foundations’ publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins to provide a status report on preparations of the Foundations III textbook, which is going to be published in 2009. The Editors discussed ways to expand and enhance the book’s distribution, including by providing an electronic version of the book in addition to a hard copy and translating it into several languages for use worldwide. I attended a dinner meeting on 3/27/08 with the Editors to thank them for their service to the osteopathic profession.

Take Action Today on Payment Reform

March 31, 2008
The AOA Grassroots Osteopathic Advocacy Link (GOAL) distributed an Advocacy Action Alert on 3/27/08 urging all osteopathic advocates to voice their support of reform of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). Last year the House of Representatives had approved SGR reform legislation that put in place a pathway towards long-term reform; however, the Senate failed to pass this bill. Currently, several members of the House are taking a proactive approach to this serious issue by circulating a Congressional sign-on letter urging the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees to address this crisis before the 6/30/08 payment cuts take effect. If you want to support fair physician payment, take action today!

AOA Fact for the Day

March 31, 2008
Did you know…that an email was sent to all students who joined SOMA this fall that highlights access to www.studentconsult.com? Student Consult is an added feature to the Netter anatomy textbook that each SOMA member received as a gift from the AOA; the Web site allows online access to the anatomy drawings and study tools. The email was sent to not only highlight this additional member benefit but to remind students to contact the AOA Division of Student, Intern, Resident & Member Affairs with any questions.

Health Policy Notes

March 31, 2008
The Chicago Tribune reported on 3/26/08 that Medicare and Social Security Trustees are facing “enormous challenges,” predicting that the Social Security trust fund will be depleted by 2041 and the Medicare trust fund will run out by 2019.

A study published on 3/27/08 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that prescription drugs approved by the FDA under deadlines imposed by Congress are more likely to have safety issues than those given additional time for review.

A 3/27/08 Yahoo/Associated Press article reported that carrying excess abdominal fat during ages 40 to 45 puts a person at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s or dementia later in life, even if the person is not overweight.

Preventive Medicine DOs Convene in Georgia

March 28, 2008
AOA President-elect Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, travels to the “Peach State” today to attend the American Osteopathic College of Occupational and Preventive Medicine (AOCOPM) Mid-Year Convention, which is taking place 3/25-30/08 in Savannah, GA. President-elect DiMarco will address the AOCOPM members in attendance at the conference on AOA President Peter B. Ajluni’s, DO, “Fit for Life” Initiative and how they can make healthy choices today for a healthier tomorrow.

Osteopathic OB-GYNs Meeting in Florida

March 28, 2008
AOA Trustees William G. Silverman, DO, is in his home “Sunshine State” today representing the AOA at the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOOG) 75th Annual Conference, which is taking place 3/25-29/08 in Orlando, FL. Dr. Silverman will address the Conference’s approximately 270 attendees today to bring greetings from the AOA and urge all ACOOG members to be “Fit for Life.” The ACOOG currently has 963 active, dues-paying members, including 217 residents and 468 osteopathic medical students. Dr. Silverman and his wife, Dottie, will also lead the attendees in a fun run/walk on Saturday.

DOs Honor AAO Executive Director

March 28, 2008
As the American Academy of Osteopathy (AAO) meeting comes to a conclusion, osteopathic practitioners convened last evening to pay tribute to AAO Executive Director Steve Noone, CAE, who is retiring this year after 16 years of admirable service to the osteopathic medical profession. Steve is a former recipient of the AOA’s Bob E. Jones Award, which recognizes excellence in affiliate osteopathic association leadership. Last evening’s “Roast,” emceed by AOA Trustee Boyd R. Buser, DO, honored Steve’s magnanimous leadership and chronicled his trials and tribulations over the years. Steve will give his final address to the Academy tomorrow at the AAO Banquet. He will be succeeded by Harriet O’Connor, who will begin her duties on 5/19/08. Thanks Steve!

Press Release Highlights “National Doctor’s Day”

March 28, 2008
Today the AOA issued a press statement reaffirming the AOA’s commitment to providing access to quality health care and marking 3/30/08 as National Doctor’s Day. In the release the AOA calls upon Congress, the nation’s physicians, and the millions of patients they serve to reflect upon the numerous advancements in medicine, treatments, and preventative benefits that allow us all to live longer, healthier lives. The statement affirms the AOA’s belief that this day should be more than just a day to honor physicians; it should be a day to honor the physician-patient relationship and to strengthen the nation’s dedication to providing all patients with access to quality health care. Click here to read the press statement.

Act Now to Preserve Medicare

March 28, 2008
The AOA Grassroots Osteopathic Advocacy Link (GOAL) distributed an Advocacy Action Alert on 3/28/08 ask osteopathic advocates to contact their Senators in support of S. 2785, the “Save Medicare Act of 2008.” This act takes important steps towards protecting Medicare beneficiary access to physician services while preventing the implementation of dramatic cuts in Medicare payments. It aims to address the projected physician payment cuts for the next 18 months and would extend the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI), incentive payment programs for physician scarcity areas, and the floor on Medicare work geographic adjustment (GPCI). Take action today!

AOA Fact for the Day

March 28, 2008
Did you know…that the AOA Department of Membership and the AOA Member Service Center (MSC) answered close to 2000 calls during the month of February? Of these calls, 70% have been membership specific while another 15% refer to educational questions/issues. Additionally, 226 emails were received and responded to by the MSC staff.

Health Policy Notes

March 28, 2008
The Washington Post reported on 3/27/08 that Americans are living longer and with better health and security than ever before: In 2006, the 37.5 million Americans over age 65 accounted for 2% of the population, but by 2030 an estimate 71.5 million people over 65 will comprise 20% of the population.

The percentage of employers offering “consumer-driven” health plans, such as high-deductible plans, has risen to 8.8% this year, up from just 2.5% last year, according to a Cowden Associates survey and reported in the 3/27/08 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Researchers have found previously undetectable genetic variations that may place a person at a higher risk for schizophrenia; the “extremely rare and unknown” mutations were observed three to four times more often in schizophrenics than in normal people, the 3/28/08 New York Times reported.

Academy of Osteopathy Inaugurates New Officers

March 27, 2008
AOA President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, and I continued our attendance at the American Academy of Osteopathy’s (AAO) 2008 Annual Convocation, together with AOA Trustee Boyd R. Buser, DO. The AAO Business Meeting and Annual Luncheon were held this afternoon under the leadership of AAO President Claudia McCarty, DO. AAO President-elect Guy DeFeo, DO, will be sworn in later this weekend as the new AAO President; George J. Pasquarello, DO, of Rhode Island, was elected to succeed him. Frank H. Willard, PhD, a professor of anatomy at University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM), received the 8th Annual Academy Award for excellence in teaching. In his acceptance remarks, Dr. Willard proposed marriage to Jane E. Carriero, DO, also of UNECOM, who was in the audience – yes, she accepted! Congratulations!

President-elect DiMarco Attends Eastern Osteopathic Conference

March 27, 2008
AOA President-elect Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, travels to the “Empire State” today to attend the New York State Osteopathic Medical Society’s (NYSOMS) Eastern Regional Osteopathic Convention (EROC), which is taking place 3/27-30/08 in Smithtown, NY. President-elect DiMarco will meet with current NYSOMS President Lynn G. Mark, DO, and will administer the oath of office on 3/29/08 to incoming President Richard R. Terry, DO, in addition to providing all members in attendance with greetings and an update from the AOA. NYSOMS expects 10 exhibitors and 100 guests from its total membership of 509 osteopathic family members.

Emergency Physicians Spring Seminar Updates

March 27, 2008
Before leaving for New York, President-elect DiMarco addressed the American Osteopathic College of Emergency Physicians (ACOEP) membership today during the ACOEP Annual Spring Seminar, which is taking place 3/25-29/08 in Scottsdale, AZ. President-elect DiMarco reminded the osteopathic emergency physicians in attendance that the AOA is always available for support and assistance throughout their careers. He also thanked outgoing ACOEP President Peter A. Bell, DO, for his leadership this past year, and congratulated incoming President Thomas A. Brabson, DO, on his election.

Advocacy for Medicare Payment Reform

March 27, 2008
Staff from the AOA Department of Government Relations in Washington, DC, participated in a meeting yesterday with representatives from the Senate Finance Committee, during which several Medicare related issues were discussed. We learned that the Senators represented at the meeting consider stopping further Medicare physician payment cuts an imperative and are preparing bipartisan legislation to advance this goal, both by the 6/30/08 deadline and over the next 18 months. Additionally, the Finance Committee plans to conduct three hearings prior to June on health system reform.

Call for Osteopathic Research Abstracts

March 27, 2008
The AOA Council on Research has announced its call for abstracts for the 2008 Research Conference and JAOA – The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association abstract issue. The 2008 Research Conference will be held on 10/26-28/08 during the AOA 113th Annual Convention in Las Vegas. The formal Poster Session is scheduled for 10/26/08 and includes the Student Poster Competition, co-sponsored by the Student Osteopathic Medical Association and the AOA Council on Research. Online submission opened today (learn more at www.do-online.org under “Research and Grants”), and the deadline for submissions is 4/30/08.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 27, 2008
Did you know…that the AOA Greatness Fund continues to grow, with 949 pledges received totaling $824,000? One-third of the pledges are from the dues bill (308), totaling $122,000; 177 pledges were received in honor of Doctor Strosnider, totaling $135,000; and 38 pledges came in on DO-Online, totaling $37,000. Make your pledge today!

Health Policy Notes

March 27, 2008
The AFL-CIO commissioned an online poll, results of which were released on 3/25/08, finding that 95% of Americans believe that “health care in America needs fundamental change or to be completely rebuilt,” The Hill reported on 3/25/08.

A 3/24/08 US News & World Report article found that hospitals that participate in clinical trials provide better care and have lower death rates for patients with heart attacks or other acute heart events, based upon data from 174,000 heart attack patients.

The New York Times reported today that researchers in Germany, using advances in neuroscience, have found evidence supporting the common, but heretofore unproven, concept of a “runner’s high,” finding that running floods the brain with mood-altering endorphins.

President Ajluni Attends Osteopathy Convocation

March 26, 2008
AOA President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, and I are in the “Lone Star State” today attending the American Academy of Osteopathy’s (AAO) 2008 Annual Convocation, which is taking place 3/26-30/08 in Addison (Dallas), TX. The meeting’s theme is "Unlocking the Secrets of the Thoracic Cage: Applying Functional Anatomy and Physiology to Clinical Practice,” which should attract a record number from the AAO’s total membership of 1,948 osteopathic family members. This afternoon we met with the AAO Board of Trustees to discuss osteopathic faculty development, research funding, and using OMT to treat flu pandemic patients, among other issues.

Support for Preventive Services Breastfeeding Recommendations

March 26, 2008
I wrote to the Chair of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality on 3/19/08 to provide the AOA’s comments on the USPSTF Draft Recommendation Statement for Primary Care Interventions to Promote Breastfeeding. After a careful review of the USPSTF recommendation statement, AOA member reviewers agreed with the statement’s suggested interventions to promote and support breastfeeding, recognizing that these recommendations will have a significant impact on the health of women and children. The AOA Committee on Women’s Health Issues provided invaluable advice.

AOA Membership Growing Strong in 2008

March 26, 2008
The AOA Department of Membership has released the AOA’s latest membership report, showing that the AOA’s total membership reached 37,634 as of 3/20/08, an increase of 748 members over this time last year. This number represents 99.4% of our budgeted revenue and 58.4% of our potential market share of all DOs. Of these 37,634 members, 7,416 are in postdoctoral training; 1,467 are in their first year of practice; and 626 are retired. Thank you for your membership support!

Grassroots Advocacy Newsletter Distributed

March 26, 2008
The AOA Department of Government Relations has distributed a Grassroots Osteopathic Advocacy Link (GOAL) Advocacy Update Newsletter, briefing GOAL members on recent federal activities, many of which have been previously reported herein. Highlighted in the 3/24/08 newsletter were several “Fit for Life” issues, including the recently introduced “Physical Activities Guidelines for Americans Act,” which would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to prepare and promote physical activity guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence, and the designation of March 2008 as National Nutrition Month. It also reported on the approval by Congress of a non-binding FY2009 budgetary resolution, which sets aggregate spending and revenue targets for the coming fiscal year.

MedPAC Report Urges Payment Reform

March 26, 2008
In other federal government news, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released its annual report to Congress. As in previous years, the report provided recommendations on Medicare fee-for-service payment policy for the upcoming year as well as recommendations regarding Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. This year’s report made special note of growing concerns amongst the Commission regarding long-term sustainability of the Medicare program. Specifically, the report provides policy recommendations to limit updates to providers as a mechanism to achieve greater efficiency, reward quality, and modify payments to private plans to ensure parity in payment.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 26, 2008
Did you know…that President Bush, President's Council Member Eli Manning, and Acting Surgeon General RADM Steven Galson, MD, MPH, kicked off the National Challenge, a program of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, on 3/20/08, calling on all Americans to participate in an active lifestyle? All it takes is 30 minutes of activity a day (60 minutes for kids aged 6-17), 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Log activity on your personal activity tracker, and watch as you work your way towards earning an award. It’s easy, fun, free, and you can DO it! To register or learn more about the National President’s Challenge, please visit www.presidentschallenge.org.

Health Policy Notes

March 26, 2008
Researchers studying the eating habits of adolescents found a direct relationship between eating breakfast and body mass index, as boys and girls who skipped breakfast were more likely to be overweight than those who regularly ate breakfast, the 3/25/08 New York Times reported.

This year’s nationwide flu outbreak, with every state except Florida reporting widespread flu activity, has impacted many workplaces, with healthy workers having to work longer hours; as of 3/15/08, 32 states reported continuing flu activity, the 3/24/08 USA Today reported.

The 3/25/08 Washington Post reported on the largest-ever study of the long-term effects of premature birth, finding that premature babies have higher death rates in childhood and are more likely to be childless as adults.

President Ajluni Visits AZCOM Students

March 25, 2008
While in the “Grand Canyon State” for the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians’ (ACOEP) Annual Spring Seminar, AOA President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, took time today to visit the Midwestern University – Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM) in Glendale, AZ. While on the AZCOM campus, President Ajluni met with Kathleen Goeppinger, PhD, AZCOM President, and Lori Kemper, DO, Dean, along with student leaders from the AZCOM Chapter of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA). He later addressed AZCOM first-year osteopathic medical students, encouraging them and their campus to be “Fit for Life” and reminding them that the AOA is here to support them throughout their careers.

Advocacy for Osteopathic Inclusion in Student Aid Forms

March 25, 2008
President Ajluni recently wrote to the US Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) requesting that “Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)” be added to the examples of graduate degree program types on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. A letter in response was received, thanking President Ajluni for his insights and for providing useful information to help in developing future forms. We hope the FSA Office will be inclusive of all DOs when preparing future forms.

Outreach to Osteopathic Interns, Residents, and Fellows

March 25, 2008
The AOA recently said “hello” to 9,633 osteopathic medical interns, residents, fellows, and fourth-year students by sending an electronic newsletter update from the AOA Council of Interns & Residents (CIR). Designed to keep all interns, residents, and fellows connected with the AOA, this update urged them to consider becoming a CIR Ambassador to speak to osteopathic medical students, comment on proposed resolutions, reach out to other DOs, and participate in other activities to advance the work of the CIR. It also reminded them, per President Ajluni’s “Fit for Life” theme, to take time for themselves, as a recent Harvard study found that 75% of residents experience burnout and 20% experience depression. If you would like more information, contact cirexec@osteopathic.org.

Tutwiler Clinic Seeks Primary Care Physician

March 25, 2008
Sister Anne E. Brooks, DO, Director of the non-profit Tutwiler Clinic in Tutwiler, MS, is seeking a DO dedicated to proving medical care to the underserved and uninsured to join the Tutwiler Clinic staff. DOs specializing in pediatrics, internal medicine, and family practice are encouraged to contact Dr. Brooks and consider this opportunity to help the clinic achieve its great mission to “affirm the dignity of each person and her or his right to quality health care provided in a Christian manner.” Whoever is hired would have privileges at the clinic’s associated hospital, which has also generously agreed to sponsor all moving expenses and guarantee the first year salary. For more information, please contact Dr. Brooks at 1-662-345-8334.

DO Toxicology Expert Featured in CQ HealthBeat

March 25, 2008
A nationally recognized osteopathic toxicologist was recently featured in a CQ HealthBeat article. The 3/19/08 edition of the newsletter featured Robin McFee, DO, MPH, in an article recommending that companies view health issues as security threats, particularly in international dealings. As Dr. McFee stated, “We’ll be seeing SARS again or we’ll be seeing avian flu or we’ll seeing something new…[s]o let’s put in an infrastructure that says we can handle disruptive challenges that addresses health either from our direct employees or our employees that we contract with or our supply partners that live in [other] parts of the world.”

AOA Fact for the Day

March 25, 2008
Did you know…that today is the 20th Annual American Diabetes Alert ® Day? Sponsored by the American Diabetes Association, American Diabetes Alert Day is a one-day call to action to encourage those at risk for type 2 diabetes to take the Diabetes Risk Test and make sure they are getting the health care services diabetes requires. Take the test online.

Health Policy Notes

March 25, 2008
The US Supreme Court has ruled that employers can reduce health benefits for retired workers once they turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare, finding that the “coordination of retiree health benefits with Medicare” is not age discrimination, the 3/25/08 Los Angeles Times reported.

The 3/25/08 Wall Street Journal reported on how the federal government is contributing to America’s uninsured population by outsourcing service jobs to privately contracted firms, which unlike the government do not provide employees with health care coverage.

Researchers analyzing several studies on sinus infections announced that antibiotics to treat them are prescribed far too often, and are only effective for the 5%-10% of sinus infections that are bacterial; 20 million Americans get sinus infections annually, the 3/25/08 Washington Post reports.

AOA Leaders at Emergency Physicians Meeting

March 24, 2008
AOA President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, and President-elect Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, are in the “Grand Canyon State” today attending the American Osteopathic College of Emergency Physicians’ (ACOEP) Annual Spring Seminar, which is taking place 3/24-29/08 in Scottsdale, AZ. President Ajluni has been invited to address the ACOEP Board of Directors at tonight’s Executive Committee Dinner. The ACOEP expects 225 attendees and 17 exhibiters at this Seminar, and has a membership of 1782 DOs and 643 Resident/Interns.

State Government Affairs Bulletin Released

March 24, 2008
The AOA Division of State Government & International Affairs (SGIA) has released the March 2008 AOA’s State Government Affairs Bulletin covering the 35 state legislatures and the Washington, DC, City Council that are currently in session. The AOA is monitoring over 1,000 bills affecting such diverse issues as the scope of practice of non-physician clinicians, patient-centered medical homes, professional liability insurance reform, incentives for physicians to practice in underserved locations, physician aid in dying, student physical fitness, retail clinics, and cosmetic taxes. I encourage state osteopathic associations to contact SGIA staff if they seek specific AOA advocacy on legislation or proposed regulations affecting DOs, or if you wish to apprise us of key bills in your legislature not included in this report, which can be read here.

Enhancements to AOA Publications Considered

March 24, 2008
Several members of the AOA Department of Publications and I met with representatives from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW), which publishes the AOA’s Foundations for Osteopathic Medicine textbook, on 3/20/08 regarding additional potential collaborative projects. Thursday’s meeting provided a general overview of the member benefits the AOA could offer through a partnership with LWW, such as enhanced osteopathic publication opportunities and LLW’s Health Care Analytics data service, as well as increasing the AOA’s revenue through institutional subscriptions.

Advocacy for Pandemic Preparedness

March 24, 2008
On 3/20/08, the Trust for America's Health Working Group on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness, of which the AOA is a member, called upon the US House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs to support funding for pandemic influenza included in the President's FY2009 budget proposal. The Working Group recommended additional funding for state and local pandemic preparedness activities, vaccine and anti-viral purchases, and research on modes of influenza transmission.

New OGME Opportunities Through VA

March 24, 2008
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the beginning of the third application cycle in its Graduate Medical Education (GME) Enhancement Initiative and has distributed applications for three types of program enhancements: 1) Critical needs and emerging specialties; 2) New affiliations and new VA sites of care; and 3) Educational innovations. Applications received during this cycle will facilitate the addition of about 400 permanent resident positions in academic year 2009-2010. VA residencies are funded directly by Congress and are not subject to Medicare caps on full time equivalent residents. The deadline for submission of third round RFPs is 7/2/08. Additional information and copies of the RFPs can be found on the VA Web site at http://www.va.gov/oaa/request_for_proposals.asp or http://www.va.gov/oaa/gme_enhancement.asp.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 24, 2008
Did you know…that March 2008 has been designated as “Nutrition Month” by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)? CMS sponsors this month to raise awareness of nutrition, healthful eating, and the medical nutrition therapy benefit covered by Medicare.

Health Policy Notes

March 24, 2008
The 3/18/08 Chicago Tribune reported that a new study has shown that people who start drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, particularly wine, in middle age can lower their risk for a heart attack by up to 68%.

US Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has introduced the “Save Medicare Act of 2008,” which aims to address the projected physician payment cuts for the next 18 months and extend incentive payment programs for physician scarcity areas.

Researchers analyzing the results of five previous studies found that children who take vitamin D supplements are about 30% less likely to develop type I diabetes later in life than children who do not take vitamin D, according to the 3/21/08 Health Day News.

HFAP Governance Board Meeting

March 20, 2008
AOA Trustee Thomas L. Ely, DO, led a meeting of the AOA Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) Governance Board, which he chairs, on 3/18/08, to discuss several governance issues tied to HFAP’s transition to be a more independent accrediting body, much like the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA). HFAP Governance Board members heard an update on changes to the Medicare Conditions of Participation for Hospitals; reviewed HFAP’s current budget and financing needs; and other issues. Fellow Trustees Mark A. Baker, DO, Norman E. Vinn, DO, and Larry Wickless, DO, also participated.

AOA Membership Growing Strong

March 20, 2008
The AOA Department of Membership has released its latest report, showing that, as of 3/13/08, the AOA has a total of 37,591 members, which is an increase of 740 over this time last year and an increase of 108 members over last week. This number represents 99.3% of our budgeted revenue and 58.4% of our potential market share of all DOs. In order to attract even more DOs to the AOA, we have activated 462 gift memberships for DOs who have not been members during the past several years, and further have retained 533 of the gift memberships we activated last year as full dues-paying members!

Council Addresses Ways to Enhance AOA Membership

March 20, 2008
Speaking of membership, the former AOA Market Share Task Force, an ad hoc committee called to make recommendations on how to increase our membership market share, has evolved into a standing committee called the AOA Membership Policy Council. Chaired by AOA Trustee Larry Wickless, DO, and including fellow Trustees Robert S. Juhasz, DO, and Mark A. Baker, DO, on its membership, this new council will address the overall issue of how to increase and enhance AOA membership and benefits. If you have any suggestions on how we can do this, let me know!

Strategies to Promote Primary Care and Health System Reform

March 20, 2008
AOA member Ronnie Martin, DO, the newly elected President of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP), is representing the osteopathic medical profession today and tomorrow at the National Summit on Primary Care Strategies in Denver, DO. This meeting is a venue for primary care leaders to collaborate and share strategies for the advancement of primary care and appropriate health care reform that recognizes primary care as the crucial hub to high quality, cost effective health care.

DO Featured in Photography Magazine

March 20, 2008
AOA Member Rob Kurtzman, DO, was featured in the Spring 2008 Photo Media, the “magazine for serious creators and users of photography.” The article, “Photographers’ Dual Lives,” profiles five professionals who also practice the art of photography. Although Dr. Kurtzman has been a practicing forensic pathologist for over 20 years, he has a lifelong passion for photography that started when he received his first camera at age 8. As he stated in the article, his osteopathic medical career relates to his photography: “When I look through the microscope, the different patterns are abstract, and it takes some skill to…make them objective, whereas photography starts out objective, but turns into something very subjective.”

AOA Fact for the Day

March 20, 2008
Did you know…that prescription drugs that fall under the category of antibacterials and antibiotics are the most prescribed medications among osteopathic physicians, according to the AOA’s 2007 Practice Characteristics of Osteopathic Primary Care Physicians study? The next most commonly prescribed drug categories were anti-cholesterol agents, NSAIDs, ACE inhibitors, and oral hypoglycemics.

Health Policy Notes

March 20, 2008
New Jersey is the latest state to consider a proposal for universal health car, which would require all residents to have health care coverage within three years and redistribute more efficiently state and federal dollars, the 3/18/08 New York Times reported.

Walgreens announced that it has purchased two operators of worksite health centers and plans to create a Health and Wellness Division to manage its health centers and pharmacies at large company work sites, the Chicago Tribune reported on 3/18/08.

A recent telephone survey of 14,000 Americans found many gender differences in eating habits, with men eating more meat than women and women eating more fruits, vegetables, and yogurt, according to the 3/19/08 New York Times.

President Ajluni Advocates for OMT

March 19, 2008
AOA President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, wrote to the Editors of the American Family Physician, the journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians, earlier this month in response to an article in the 4/15/07 issue, “Evaluation and Treatment of Acute Low Back Pain.” President Ajluni’s letter discussed concerns about statements in the article that seemed to confuse the findings of previous literature on spinal manipulative therapy for low back pain; in turn he extolled the benefits of osteopathic manipulative treatment for back pain. Read the letter online.

DO Named US Olympic Team’s Chief Physician

March 19, 2008
AOA member William Kuprevich, DO, has been named the chief medical officer (CMO) of the US Olympic team. As CMO, he will coordinate the medical coverage of more than 600 US athletes in China, working with a staff of 60 doctors, athletic trainers, and medical personnel. In the past, DOs have served as physicians for individual US Olympic teams, as venue physicians at US Olympic events, and as physicians for individual athletes. Dr. Kuprevich has previously served as the CMO for the US Team in last year's Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the 2006 Paralympic Games in Torino, Italy. Congratulations Dr. Kuprevich!

Osteopathic Hospitals and Programs Recognized as Top in the Nation

March 19, 2008
On 3/18/08, Modern Healthcare issued its annual roster of the nation's top 100 hospitals. I am proud to report that several hospitals that are accredited by the AOA Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program, feature osteopathic graduate medical education programs, and/or are members of the AOA Bureau of Hospitals have been named to this prominent list: the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital (Lexington, KY); St. John Hospital and Medical Center (Detroit, MI); Garden City Hospital (Garden City, MI); Providence Hospital and Medical Center (Southfield, MI); MetroHealth Medical Center (Cleveland, OH); Munson Medical Center (Traverse City, MI); Northeast Regional Medical Center (Kirksville, MO); Greenbrier Valley Medical Center (Ronceverte, WV); and Grandview Medical Center (Dayton, OH). Congratulations!

Collaboration with Internal Medicine Foundation

March 19, 2008
Yesterday I hosted a lunch meeting with representatives from the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation (ABIMF) who were interested in learning more about the osteopathic medical profession, including the AOA, osteopathic medical education, and certification. Specifically, the ABIMF requested the meeting to understand the process for training, licensing, and certification of osteopathic physicians and to discuss possible avenues for collaboration between our organizations. This is yet another way that AOA is helping to promote the osteopathic medical profession!

Rural Health Policy and Resources

March 19, 2008
AOA staff attended a meeting of the Rural Health Information Network (RHIN )Work Group, comprised of representatives from 12 national organizations concerned with rural health issues, earlier this month. RHIN Workgroup members provide insights and information about current and emerging rural health issues and assists in the development of products and services for the rural health community. Highlights of the meeting include an update from the Health Resources and Service Administration’s Office of Rural Health Policy; brainstorming of new issues for discussion; and updates on the Rural Health Research Gateway.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 19, 2008
Did you know…that the average primary care office-based osteopathic physician sees approximately 110 patients and writes approximately 130 prescriptions weekly, according to the AOA’s 2007 Practice Characteristics of Osteopathic Primary Care Physicians study? In comparison, the average primary care MD sees 23% fewer patients and writes 23% fewer prescriptions.

Health Policy Notes

March 19, 2008
The 3/12/08 USA Today reported that college-educated people whose households earned more than $75,000 were at a lower risk for heart disease, although this benefit can be “cancelled out” by being overweight.

A Washington University study found that many patients were relieved to be told they had dementia, as it provided an explanation for their symptoms and alleviated much of their anxiety and concerns, the Chicago Tribune reported on 3/14/08.

USA Today also reported on 3/19/08 that 18% of Baby Boomers, or 14 million Americans, are expected to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia in their lifetimes, and Americans as a whole are developing Alzheimer’s at an accelerating rate.

Bylaws Changes for ABMS-Certified DOs

March 18, 2008
AOA Trustee John W. Becher, Jr., DO, Chair of the Bureau of AOA Constitution and Bylaws, convened a conference call last night to consider changes to the AOA basic documents following action by the Board of Trustees at the AOA Midyear Meeting last month. The Bureau approved an amendment to the AOA Bylaws that creates a new class of membership for osteopathic physicians that are ACGME-trained and certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The Bureau also approved a Bylaws amendment that changes the method by which physicians in postdoctoral training are represented in the AOA House of Delegates; notice of these changes will be published in an upcoming JAOA – The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association to give ninety days’ notice of this change before the House of Delegates meeting in July.

Women’s Health Subject of Conference Call

March 18, 2008
The AOA Council on Women’s Health Issues (CWHI) also convened via teleconference last night under the leadership of CWHI Chair Teresa Hubka, DO. Council members reviewed evaluations from the CWHI’s 2007 CME Session, held at the AOA Convention in San Diego, in planning how to make their upcoming 2008 CME Session the best yet. The CWHI also continued strategic planning with a progress check on its 2007-2008 goals, including creating disaster preparedness education for women and children and an online awareness campaign through DO-Online. Surveys of osteopathic medical students interested in women’s health were also discussed. See also today’s “Fact for the Day.”

Osteopathic Hospital Leadership Meeting

March 18, 2008
In other meeting news, the Executive Committee of the AOA Bureau of Hospitals (BOH) held a conference call on 3/13/08, led by BOH Chair Kathleen Rice, who reported on the BOH’s presentation to the AOA Board of Trustees during its Midyear Meeting last month. The BOH currently has an open position on its Executive Committee, and members recommended that they BOH collaborate with the AOA Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program to advise interested HFAP-accredited hospital CEOs of opportunities to serve on this body. A potential joint BOH-HFAP meeting was also discussed. Let us know if you are interested!

DO Receives Institute of Medicine Award

March 18, 2008
Maria L. Brown, DO, has been awarded the Institute of Medicine of Chicago’s (IOMC) “Henry P. Russe, MD, Citation for Exemplary Compassion in Health Care.” Dr. Brown is the first DO to receive this distinguished award, which recognizes her outstanding career, compassion, and commitment to the welfare of patients as well as the community. The IOMC will confer this award to Dr. Brown at the IOMC 93rd Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner, which is taking place in Chicago on 4/30/08. Congratulations!

Small Businesses Promote Health System Reform

March 18, 2008
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) on 3/12/08 launched the “Solutions Start Here” national campaign urging policymakers to address health care reform for small businesses. The NFIB plans to host and moderate forums across the country to hear from small business owners and health policy leaders, communicate with the presidential candidates, and conduct research among its members to gauge responses to health policy suggestions. The NFIB principles for health care reform, first released last year, are available in the DO-Online members-only Health System Reform Resource Center. Details of the NFIB principles are also available online.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 18, 2008
Did you know…that March 2008 has been designated “Women’s History Month 2008?” President Bush signed a proclamation declaring this month as a time to celebrate the courage, foresight, and resolve of women who have strengthened America’s democracy, and called upon all citizens to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that honor the history, accomplishments, and contributions of American women.

Health Policy Notes

March 18, 2008
Over 91,000 Oregonians have signed up for a health lottery to win one of only a few thousand open spots in the Oregon Health Plan’s standard benefits package, which was capped due to budget constraints in 2004, the 3/11/08 Chicago Tribune reported.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has created the Commission to Build a Healthier America to examine how issues outside of the health care system, such as income, education, and the environment, affect individuals’ well being, according to the 3/5/08 CQ HealthBeat.

The 3/18/08 New York Times reported that the Center for Genomics and Health Disparities will lead a new study on the interaction between health and race, “seeking to untangle the genetic, economic, and social factors that contribute to differences in disease rates and medical responses among races.”

Upcoming Opportunities for Educational Webinars

March 17, 2008
The AOA Department of Education, in order to facilitate collaboration and efficient usage of AOA educational resources, will soon begin holding monthly “Webinars” to train specialty colleges, directors of medical education, program directors, and other parties involved with osteopathic medical education in the AOA educational departmental processes. The monthly Webinars will address issues such as the AOA’s Match, Opportunities Web site, the annual Trainee Information, Verification and Registration Audit (TIVRA), certification, Center for Osteopathic Data on Education, and other important resources. A preliminary Webinar was held on 3/14/08 to garner support for the Webinars and was attended by AOA Council on Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training Chair Michael Opipari, DO.

Chicago Magazine Promotes OMT

March 17, 2008
AOA member Kurt P. Heinking, DO, was featured in an article that appeared in the print edition of Suburban Life on 3/15/08. The column profiled Dr. Heinking’s osteopathic practice, focusing on OMT. It also mentions how Dr. Heinking and some of his students promoted the osteopathic medical profession by demonstrating OMT during the NBC5 Healthy Lifestyle Expo this past weekend, at which the AOA sponsored a booth. The column about Dr. Heinking and photos of his practice can be viewed online.

DO Selected for Crain’s “Forty under 40”

March 17, 2008
In other media highlights, AOA member Maurizio Miglietta, DO, was selected for the Crain's New York Business “Forty under 40 Class of 2008,” which recognizes rising stars of the corporate world, successful entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, and individuals who ply their talents in medicine, education and the arts. The Chief of Acute Care Surgery and Director of Trauma and Emergency Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, Dr. Miglietta was chosen, among other reasons, for his work with the NYC Mobile Trauma Unit, a doctor volunteer group he founded in 2004 that gives medical support to the Secret Service and other agencies. Read more online.

CCOM Students Walk in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 17, 2008
AOA Trustee and Dean of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) Karen J. Nichols, DO, led a group of osteopathic medical students from CCOM’s Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on 3/15/08 by walking a balloon in Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parade down Michigan Avenue. Promoting osteopathic medicine in Chicago, the CCOM SOMA students carried the “green dragon” balloon – making them easy to spot if you were watching the parade coverage on WGN! Erin go bragh!

National Health Service Corps Meeting

March 17, 2008
AOA staff recently attended a meeting of the National Advisory Council on the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), which serves as a forum to identify the priorities and develop “white papers” and briefs on issues and/or concerns relating to the NHSC. Discussions at the meeting included an update on the Health Resources and Services Administration; clinician recruitment and site development initiatives; opportunities for scholarships; and a report on the Healthy People 2020 program.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 17, 2008
Did you know…that the AOA maintains a list of all osteopathic representatives who serve on private panels and committees; federal government advisory panels and commissions; and other collaborative bodies? You can read the list of these osteopathic ambassadors by clicking the links below:

Federal Bodies
Private Panels

Health Policy Notes

March 17, 2008
Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Representatives Mark Udall (D-CO) and Zach Wamp (R-TN) have introduced the “Physical Activities Guidelines for Americans Act,” which would direct HHS to prepare and promote physical activity guidelines similar to dietary and nutritional guidelines.

A National Eye Institute survey found that while 71% of Americans said losing their sight would rank “10” on a 1-10 scale of the impact it would have on their lives, only 8% knew that glaucoma had no early warning signs, and only 11% knew that diabetes carried vision risks as well, suggesting the need for more eye health awareness, HHS reported on 3/13/08.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released the Fiscal Year 2007 State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Annual Enrollment Report, which includes the number of children enrolled in SCHIP this year and the increase in enrollment from the 2006 Report. A copy of the Fiscal Year 2007 SCHIP Annual Enrollment Report is available on the CMS Web site.

ACOFP Convention and Exhibition Concludes

March 14, 2008
The American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) 45th Annual Convention & Exhibition will conclude this weekend with a Gala Banquet honoring Ronnie Martin, DO, the new ACOFP President, and the new Board of Governors. Speaking of Trustees, several AOA Trustees and Past Presidents are in attendance at the Convention: Trustees Ronald Burns, DO, Joel B. Cooperman, DO, Martin Levine, DO, Max T. McKinney, DO, Carol L. Monson, DO, Michael K. Murphy, DO, William Silverman, DO, Ray E. Stowers, DO, and Barbara Walker, DO; and Past Presidents William Anderson, DO, Howard Neer, DO, and Marcelino Oliva, DO; in addition to AOA President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, and President-elect Carlo J. DiMarco, DO. Last evening, President Ajluni, President-elect DiMarco, and I also met with the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians to review several current issues of mutual concern.

DOCARE International Board and Strategic Planning Meeting

March 14, 2008
While in Denver, osteopathic international leaders convened for a Board of Trustees meeting of DOCARE International, the osteopathic medical mission organization, under the leadership of DOCARE President Nanette M. Cabeen, DO. Reports were provided on DOCARE finances, membership, marketing, collaborative opportunities with the Osteopathic International Alliance, and providing CME on medical missions. DOCARE Executive Director Michael Mallie and I participated in this meeting, as the AOA recently assumed management of DOCARE. Following the Board Meeting, we conducted a strategic planning session focusing on the future of DOCARE, at which its new tag line, “The World is our Clinic,” was adopted.

DOs Promote OMT at Chicago Health Fair

March 14, 2008
AOA members Theresa Hubka, DO, medical director at Comprehensive Women’s Care in Chicago, and Kurt Heinking, DO, of Chicago Osteopathic Healthcare and Chair of the Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine at the Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, will be promoting the osteopathic medical profession this weekend from the AOA booth at Chicago’s Navy Pier Healthy Lifestyle Expo. Drs. Heinking and Hubka will be joined by Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine students to demonstrate OMT to members of the public, which will also be featured on Chicago’s NBC Channel 5. Thank you for helping to spread the word about OMT!

Chicago’s Best Doctors List Includes DOs

March 14, 2008
Several osteopathic physicians were featured in the January 2008 Chicago Magazine’s article, “Chicago’s Top Doctors.” As reported in the Winter 2008 Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society newsletter, Frederick Freitag, DO, a pain medicine specialist at St. Joseph Hospital, and James Sliwa, DO, a physical medicine & rehabilitation specialist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, were both included in the list. Congratulations!

Collaboration to Fight Chronic Disease

March 14, 2008
The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) Chair, Richard Carmona, MD, and Executive Director Ken Thorpe, PhD, held a PFCD Advisory Board meeting in Washington, DC, on 3/11/08. Drs. Carmona and Thorpe noted that they are pleased with the progress of the Partnership as it nears its first anniversary and reviewed several upcoming projects, including a health policy event to be held June in Washington, DC. Dr. Thorpe thanked the AOA for the opportunity to address the Bureau on Federal Health Programs in January on the importance of fighting chronic disease. The AOA looks forward to its continued active involvement in the Partnership, as President Ajluni is a new member of the PCFD Advisory Board. Information about the Partnership is available online.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 14, 2008
Did you know…that Batman knows about osteopathy? In the May 2008 Batman Detective Comics, Batman had the misfortune to face an opponent who “had some osteopathy since [they] met last time.” The villain reported that his back felt a ton better, “which means [he’s] so much more supple.” As strong a healing power as osteopathy is, it is no match for the superhero Batman, who caught the villain.

Health Policy Notes

March 14, 2008
More than 70% of leading economists surveyed last week by the Wall Street Journal said that the US economy has entered a recession after a loss of 63,000 jobs and retail sales falling 0.6% in February, the paper reported on 3/13/08.

A University of Maryland School of Medicine study of 880 adults found that those who were depressed had stiffer heart tissue, which worsens heart failure, the 2/12/08 USA Today reported.

The Detroit Free Press reported on 3/13/08 that a lack of health insurance is attributed to the deaths of 650 Michiganders every year, nearly two each day; nationwide, the rate of premature deaths among the uninsured is almost twice that of homicide death rates.

Leadership Meeting with ACOFP Governors

March 13, 2008
The American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) 45th Annual Convention & Exhibition continues today in Denver, CO. AOA President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, President-elect Carlo J. DiMarco, DO; and I are in attendance and today met with the ACOFP Board of Governors to discuss several issues, including the AOA Greatness Plan, federal health initiatives, osteopathic match results, graduate medical education development, the patient-centered medical home, health system reform, and ACOFP residency initiatives. We also commended ACOFP Executive Director Peter Schmelzer, who brought the Congress of Delegates into a new technological era by going “paperless” with all voting and reports, thus saving the ACOFP several thousands of dollars in the process. Later this afternoon, President Ajluni addressed the Fellows of the ABOFP on his “Fit for Life” Initiative.

AOA Executive Committee Conference Call

March 13, 2008
President Ajluni led a meeting of the Executive Committee of the AOA Board of Trustees yesterday evening via teleconference. After observing a moment of silence for those osteopathic family members we have recently lost, Board members gave reports on their respective departments. Included in the reports were updates on the “Fit for Life” Initiative, recent blog discussions about the DO degree designation, anticipated payment changes under Medicare and Medicaid, and restructuring of the AOA Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program. The impact of the “recession” on AOA finances was also discussed in detail.

Advocacy for Patient Safety in Illinois

March 13, 2008
President Ajluni and Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society President Anthony DeLorenzo, DO, jointly wrote to the Illinois General Assembly earlier this week in support of HB 5372, which would comprehensively regulate retail clinics in Illinois. The bill was considered in a hearing on 3/11/08 before the House Healthcare Availability and Access Committee. HB 5372, which was put forth by the Illinois State Medical Society, covers most of the tenets of AOA’s policy and model legislation on store-based health clinics. As stated in the letter, which can be read online, the AOA and the IOMS believe it is important that retail clinics post the limited and minor services they are permitted to provide for the protection of the patients they may serve.

Trustee Promotes the AOA at Preventive Services Meeting

March 13, 2008
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is meeting 3/13-14/08 in Rockville, MD, to develop recommendations for screening for cervical cancer and consider other USPSTF issues. The Task Force is the leading independent panel of private-sector experts in primary care prevention. AOA Trustee and USPSTF organizational representative Robert S. Juhasz, DO, will give a presentation about the AOA, osteopathic medicine, and our efforts to promote the USPSTF Guide to Clinical Preventive Services within the osteopathic profession.

TOUROCOM Students Encourage Health Care Diversity

March 13, 2008
Osteopathic medical students at the new medical school in Harlem, the Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine – Harlem (TOUROCOM), hosted an open house yesterday evening, tutoring and mentoring young adults in science-related fields to encourage underrepresented minority enrollment in the health fields, especially osteopathic medicine. Students were able to use medical instruments, watch a real human brain dissection live, look at and use very advanced microscopes, and ask questions of physicians. TOUROCOM students also have planned future youth outreach events, such as enrichment field trips, working with physicians, and performing their own dissections on frogs.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 13, 2008
Did you know…that the AOA would like to invite all AOA members to participate in a Virtual Town Hall Meeting with me? By logging on to your computers and/or dialing in to a conference call, you would have direct access to ask me your questions live via your computer screen. If you are interested in participating in this type of meeting, please let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

Health Policy Notes

March 13, 2008
The federal government has reached a $666 million settlement with 667 hospitals seeking back payments resulting from a 1986 Medicare rule that excluded low-income patients from reimbursement eligibility calculations, the 3/13/08 Wall Street Journal reported.

The 3/11/08 USA Today reported that prescription drug sales grew by only 3.8% in 2007, which is the slowest rate of growth since 1961, with total sales reaching $286.5 billion last year. Reasons cited included expiring patents, more generic medications, and leveling out of the Medicare Part D program.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study has found that 26% of American teenage girls admitting having a sexually transmitted disease, with experts citing abstinence-only education and the teens’ sense of invulnerability as contributors to this high number, Yahoo.com reported on 3/11/08.

President Ajluni Addresses Family Physicians

March 12, 2008
AOA President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, is in Colorado today at the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians’ (ACOFP) 45th Annual Convention and Exhibition, taking place 3/11-15/08 in Denver, DO. President Ajluni addressed the ACOFP Congress of Delegates this morning, sharing success stories from his “Fit for Life” Presidential Initiative; highlights of recent AOA activities; and urging all ACOFP members to be role models for their patients, families, and communities. Following the Congress, the ACOFP installed Ronnie B. Martin, DO, as its 55th President. Dr. Martin pledged that family physicians would continue to play their “superpower” role within the osteopathic profession and for their patients during his presidency. Congratulations Dr. Martin!

Advocacy for PLI Reform in CO

March 12, 2008
President Ajluni and ACOFP President Ronnie Martin, DO, joined together this afternoon in testifying before the Colorado House of Representatives against SB 164, a bill that would increase the cap on non-economic damages by up to 56% in some medical malpractice cases. AOA and ACOFP Government Relations staff accompanied Drs. Ajluni and Martin and provided additional information regarding how existing caps have been shown to lower professional liability premiums. The lead editorial in today’s Denver Post supported the osteopathic medical profession’s position on the issue – read it online.

Council Addresses Minority Health Issues

March 12, 2008
The AOA Council on Minority Health Issues (CMHI) convened today via conference call under the leadership of CMHI Chair Hector Lopez, DO, for a strategic planning session and progress check, among other priority issues. The CMHI recently surveyed osteopathic medical schools and state and specialty society staff to assess the level of health care diversity training they received and provided, and how the AOA can increase awareness of diversity in health care nationwide. CMHI members also reviewed results and feedback from their CME session at the 2007 AOA Convention in San Diego and began planning for their upcoming CME session at the 2008 AOA Convention in Las Vegas.

New Physicians Convene via Teleconference

March 12, 2008
Michelle R. Mendez, DO, Chair of the AOA Council of New Physicians in Practice (CNPP), also convened a meeting of the CNPP today via teleconference. Primary on the agenda for discussion was the development of an advocacy segment in the CNPP’s annual “Prep for Practice” seminar at the AOA Conventions in order to train more new DOs on how to be effective advocates for the profession. The CNPP also plans to submit several “Meet a DO” articles for publication in The DO to raise awareness of young DOs and increase their overall involvement in the profession.

DO Joins FDA Panel on Radiologic Devices

March 12, 2008
AOA member Kenneth J. Steier, DO, MPH, MHA, Clinical Assistant Dean at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, represented the osteopathic medical profession last week in Washington, DC, as a member of the Food and Drug Administration's Panel on Radiologic Devices. Under discussion was the approval and use of computer-assisted diagnosis software in radiology procedures such as mammograms and chest CT scans. Dr. Steier was the only DO, and the only pulmonary physician, on the panel.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 12, 2008
Did you know…that there are only 10 days left to register for DO Day on Capitol Hill, the AOA’s largest annual lobbying event? Take advantage of this great opportunity to meet with your Senators and Representatives to tell them what is important to you and your patients. Register today on DO-Online!

Health Policy Notes

March 12, 2008
The Kentucky legislature has passed a bill that would allow parents to cover their unmarried children up to age 25 on their health insurance policies in an effort to reduce the number of uninsured young adults in the state, the Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal reported on 3/11/08.

Iowa lawmakers likewise passed a health insurance reform bill this week that would cover all Iowa children by 2011 and adults by 2013, at a cost of $30.8 million per year, by expanding the HAWK-I low-income insurance program and other measures, the 3/11/08 Des Moines Register reported.

A group of hospital associations has filed a lawsuit aiming to block the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from implementing a series of seven proposed Medicaid regulations that would severely cut hospitals’ funding, according to the 3/11/08 CQ HealthBeat.

In Memoriam

March 11, 2008
It is with deep sadness that I inform you that Michael Sevastos, the son of Athena Sevastos, DO, and grandson of the late AOA Past President John P. Sevastos, DO, has passed away. Many of you will remember “Mickey” serving as a page at numerous AOA House of Delegates meetings, where his kindness and energy were inspiring and contagious. I ask the osteopathic professional family to keep the Sevastos family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Family Physicians Hold Convention in Colorado

March 11, 2008
The American Osteopathic College of Family Physicians’ (ACOFP) 45th Annual Convention & Exhibition convened today in Denver, CO, under the leadership of ACOFP President Steven F. Rubin, DO, and President-elect Ronnie B. Martin, DO. The Convention will open this afternoon with the ACOFP Congress of Delegates meeting, at which AOA President-elect Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, the “Centennial State’s” favorite son, AOA Trustee Joel Cooperman, DO, and I represented the AOA. Several other AOA Trustees are in attendance representing their respective states. The ACOFP has 8,850 physician and 1,140 resident members, for a total of 23,000 members including student members of ACOFP chapters.

Advocacy for Patient Safety in Florida

March 11, 2008
AOA President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, wrote to the Florida House of Representatives’ Committee on Health Quality on 3/10/08 in support of FL HB 649, Podiatric Physicians, but requested recognition in the bill for the AOA’s Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) as an accreditor of hospitals and other health care facilities where podiatrists would perform their new services. The bill as written currently only recognizes the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. In addition, Florida Osteopathic Medical Association (FOMA) Executive Director Steve Winn is working with the AOA on gaining inclusion of HFAP in this bill.

Task Force Aims to Increase AOA Market Share

March 11, 2008
President Ajluni, President-elect Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, AOA Trustee Larry A. Wickless, DO, Chair of the AOA Market Share Task Force, and several AOA staff members convened a meeting via conference call last night to discuss the future of the Market Share Task Force. The Task Force, originally developed as an ad hoc committee to establish AOA membership goals, is evolving into a permanent Task Force that will work with the AOA Bureau on Membership, chaired by AOA Trustee Carol L. Monson, DO, to enhance and expand AOA membership and benefits. Last night’s call covered Task Force structure, potential members, and whether to rename the Task Force.

Osteopathic Specialists Consider Examination Standards

March 11, 2008
The AOA Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS) Task Force on the Formation of Conjoint Examination Committees also held a meeting last night via conference call under the leadership of Task Force Chair Wayne English, DO, to follow up on last week’s earlier discussions on establishing a framework and specific standardized operating procedures for all Conjoint Committees. The 3/10/08 call refined many questions related to the establishment of new Conjoint Examination Committees and worked towards developing a Task Force report for the BOS Assembly to consider at its April 2008 meeting.

Public Awareness Newsletter Distributed to Media Advocates

March 11, 2008
The AOA distributed the March 2008 Osteopathic Public Awareness Network (OPAN) Newsletter on 2/29/08 to keep all osteopathic media advocates aware of new opportunities and hot topics for public promotion of osteopathic medicine. This month’s issue provided resources on National Sleep Awareness Week, information on the new osteopathic channels on YouTube and MySpace, and monthly awareness ideas. If you would like to help the AOA make osteopathic medicine a household term, join OPAN today. Read the newsletter online.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 11, 2008
Did you know…that, since the beginning of the 2008 fiscal year, 21,250 email “receipts” have been sent to DOs who have renewed their AOA membership dues for the fiscal year? This new member service takes a proactive approach by emailing this receipt to all members who make a payment and have a valid email address on file.

Health Policy Notes

March 11, 2008
The 3/11/08 Washington Post reported that the number of practicing geriatricians in the US has fallen rapidly to about 7,000, while the number of elderly patients continues to rise; low reimbursement, long hours, and treating home-bound patients may be behind this decline.

Speaking of the elderly, the 3/11/08 Baltimore Sun reported that over 50% of seniors mismanage one or more of their prescription medications and are twice as likely to visit the emergency room due to drug safety issues.

Post-menopausal women who took Novartis’s breast cancer pill Femara for one to seven years reduced their risk for a cancer relapse by 63%, after finishing a five-year course on the estrogen blocker tamoxifen, whose benefits stop after five years, MSNBC.com reported on 3/10/08.

Trustee Recognized for Contributions to Home-Based Care

March 10, 2008
AOA Trustee Norman E. Vinn, DO, a board certified osteopathic family physician from San Clemente, CA., was honored at the South County Senior Services’ 8th Annual Captain’s Ball Gala on 3/1/08. Dr. Vinn is the founder and chief medical officer of Housecall Doctors Medical Group, Inc., which provides on-site clinical services to high-risk and homebound elderly. He was chosen as this year’s physician winner for the clinical model he created to coordinate care of homebound patients with other members of the health care delivery team in South County. South County Senior Services is the leader in providing home and community based services to ensure that seniors can stay in their homes longer and maintain the quality of life they deserve. Benefits from the Ball will support Adult Day Services, Meals on Wheels, Senior Transportation and other vital senior service programs in Southern California.

AOA Investment Performance Report

March 10, 2008
The AOA Investment Committee, under the leadership of AOA Past President George Thomas, DO, has released the latest AOA investment report, showing that the AOA operating investments increased in value by $102,250 during February but have decreased by $400,112 during the nine-month fiscal period ending 2/29/08 due to the economic downturn in the US. The total market value of AOA investments is $21,438,973; ORDF investments increased in value by $35,984 during February and decreased by $139,207 as of 2/29/08 to bring their total market value to $7,121,479; and DDEF investments decreased in value by $198 during February and decreased in value by $26,118 as of 2/29/08 resulting in a total market value of $910,982. AOA President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, President-elect Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, Past President Philip Shettle, DO, and Dr. Vinn also participated on the call.

Cleveland’s Best DOs Featured in Magazine

March 10, 2008
The March 2008 Cleveland magazine’s cover story featured several prominent osteopathic physicians. Excerpted from the national “Best Doctors in America 2008” database, which ranks the 40,000 physicians in America who received the highest ratings for quality and care from their peers, the article listed the 750 best physicians in the Cleveland area, including AOA Trustee Robert S. Juhasz, DO; Past President George Thomas, DO; and many other DOs. Congratulations Bob and George!

Membership Numbers Continue to Grow

March 10, 2008
The latest AOA membership numbers are in, and I am proud to report that we now have 37,483 AOA members! This in an increase of 654 members over this time last year, representing 99.2% of our budgeted revenue and 58.2% of our potential market share of all DOs. AOA members continue to support great osteopathic programs, such as the American Osteopathic Information Association and the American Osteopathic Foundation, to which members have contributed $338,622 and $420,421, respectively, so far this fiscal year.

Democratic Platform on Health Care Takes Shape

March 10, 2008
In anticipation of meetings later this Presidential election year of the Republican and Democratic Party Platform Committees, I attended a luncheon today in the Windy City hosted by the Democratic leadership Council’s (DLC) Progressive Policy Institute, of which the AOA is a member. Together with Mayor Richard M. Daley and Congresswoman Melissa L. Bean (D-IL), the DLC announced it will hold it 12th annual National Conversation in Chicago on 6/28-30/08, at which governors, mayors, business and civil leaders like the AOA will gather to develop a national platform to tackle America’s greatest challenges, including health care system reform. Stay tuned for future developments.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 10, 2008
Did you know…that AOA Trustee David Pucci, DO, recently promoted President Ajluni’s “Fit for Life” Initiative to the AOA Council of Interns and Residents (CIR)by mailing to the 39 attendees of the 2007 CIR Congress a “Fit for Life” package containing an AOA-branded pedometer, gift membership cards to distribute to non-member colleagues, and a letter thanking them for their continuation of the CIR Fitness Challenge? Attendees were surveyed at Congress to measure their fitness goals and habits and will be surveyed again this spring to end the program. Thank you David!

Health Policy Notes

March 10, 2008
The 3/5/08 USA Today reported that women who have undergone long-term hormone therapy with estrogen and progestin can face an increased risk of cancer for up to three years after stopping taking the pills, long after heart attack, stroke, and blood clot risks return to normal levels.

United Network for Organ Sharing data showed that hospitals that perform more than 14 heart transplants per year see significantly fewer patients die within 30 days of the surgery than those that perform fewer than 14, according to the 3/3/08 American Medical News.

The National Institutes of Health today announced the creation of a new “Women's Health Resources” Web site to provide the public with the latest scientific information regarding women's health research, available online.

President Ajluni Advocates for Disease Recognition

March 07, 2008
AOA President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, wrote to US Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) on 3/6/08 expressing the AOA’s support for National Celiac Awareness Month and the bill she introduced to provide screening and early detection of celiac disease. Given the osteopathic profession’s focus on prevention and disease management, President Ajluni pledged the AOA’s assistance as this issue moves forward. Read the letter here. Thank you Congresswoman Lowey!

Advocates Convene at AOA Headquarters

March 07, 2008
The Advocates for the AOA (AAOA) convened today at AOA Headquarters in Chicago for its Midyear Board of Directors Meeting. AAOA President Linda Cole, whose Presidential theme of “an attitude of gratitude” reminds us to be thankful for what we have, led the AAOA Board of Directors through committee and leadership reports; a planning session for the 2008 AAOA “Fore You” Golf Tournament; scheduling official AAOA travel to AOA and affiliate meetings; and activates planned for the 2008 AOA House of Delegates meeting. The AAOA also discussed continuing support of the Yellow Ribbon suicide prevention campaign; nominations to AOA bureaus, councils, and committees; and educational endowment. Thank you Advocates!

Collaboration on Influenza Pandemic Preparedness

March 07, 2008
Last night I participated in the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners’ (NBOME) National Summit on “Pandemic Influenza: Coping with a Major Disaster and Osteopathic Medical Licensure” in Chicago. The purpose of the Summit is to provide a forum for review and comment on the NBOME’s policies regarding a potential pandemic and minimize their impact upon the osteopathic medical profession. NBOME President Frederick Meoli, DO, also will convene a meeting of the NBOME Liaison Committee this weekend, which I will attend together with individuals representing organizations such as the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the Association of Osteopathic Directors and Medical Educators, the American Association of Osteopathic Examiners, the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents, and the Federation of State Medical Boards. Thank you NBOME!

Register Today for DO Day on Capitol Hill

March 07, 2008
The AOA Grassroots Osteopathic Advocacy Link (GOAL) distributed an Advocacy Action Alert on 3/7/08 to promote the upcoming “DO Day on Capitol Hill,” the AOA’s largest advocacy event of the year. DO Day is a prime opportunity to educate Members of Congress and their staff on osteopathic medicine and the osteopathic medical profession’s positions on important health policy issues where legislation is crafted -- Capitol Hill. Registration for this important event ends in fifteen days, so visit DO-Online today to sign up. Thank you to every DO and student doctor joining us in the advocacy arena to better osteopathic medicine and the patients we serve.

DOs Promote “Fit for Life” To Oklahoma Kids

March 07, 2008
AOA members Brain McDowell, DO, and Binh Phung, OMS II at the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSUCOM), were featured in the 3/3/08 Tulsa World newspaper for their efforts to make all Oklahoma children “Fit for Life.” Dr. McDowell, a pediatrician working to combat childhood obesity, is quoted discussing the magnitude of the problem: “This generation of children is the first in a long time that will live shorter lives than their parents.” Student Dr. Phung, President of the OSUCOM Pediatrics Club, was featured for the “Mini Med School for Kids” recently held on the OSUCOM campus, in which 115 elementary school students were taught how to make healthy eating choices, have fun while exercising, and other ways to be “Fit for Life.” Read the article online. Thank you Dr. McDowell and Student Dr. Phung!

AOA Fact for the Day

March 07, 2008
Did you know…that DO-Online offers all AOA members the opportunity to create their own personalized Web sites? The DO-Online Practice Web site offers you a place for patients and prospective patients to learn about you and your practice as a free benefit of AOA membership. You have the freedom to add as much information you wish about yourself, your practice, your partners and staff, and more. All AOA members who are in practice together have the ability to edit the site as well. Learn more, and create your own Web site, on DO-Online!

Health Policy Notes

March 07, 2008
Michigan lawmakers are considering a measure asking whether marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes; if they do not act on the measure within 40 days, a proposal will be placed on the state’s November ballot, according to the 3/4/08 USA Today.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the current “war on terror” has improved public health preparedness and paved the way for better data collection and information sharing, though challenges still remain, the 2/21/08 CQ HealthBeat reported.

The American Medical Association analyzed 10 independent studies on tort reform, finding that caps on non-economic damages are successful in reducing insurers’ claims payouts, translating to lower rates for physicians, the American Medical News reported on 3/3/08.

DO Nominated to VA Rural Health Committee

March 06, 2008
AOA President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, wrote to James B. Peake, MD, Secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), on 3/5/08 to nominate Paul R. Fowler, DO, JD, to serve as a member of the new VA Rural Health National Advisory Committee. A Past President of the American Osteopathic College of Occupational and Preventive Medicine, Dr. Fowler has served as a medical officer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and has been involved in the development and expansion of the Army's Community Based Health Care Program, which enables military men and women in transition to receive their health care close to where they live, often in rural areas. With this leadership experience, Dr. Fowler would make an excellent addition to this committee. Congratulations Dr. Fowler!

CAP Selected for Medical Registry Pilot Project

March 06, 2008
Richard J. Snow, DO, MPH, Director of the AOA's Clinical Assessment Program; Andrew Rabin, Chief Technology Officer of CECity.com, the AOA's technology partner on the CAP; and Sharon McGill, MPH, Director of the Department of Quality and Research, attended the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ 2008 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) Registries Kick-Off meeting in Baltimore, MD, on 3/3/08. The AOA was chosen as one of twelve registries to participate in a Registry Test Plan for submission of PQRI data to CMS. The purpose of this project is to test the feasibility of submitting clinical data to CMS through medical registries to determine the quality of patient care. The test project will run through February 2009. Congratulations to the CAP program!

DO Day for Illinois DOs

March 06, 2008
The Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society held it annual state lobby day in Springfield, IL, yesterday. AOA Trustee Karen Nichols, DO, and IOMS President Anthony DeLorenzo, DO, led a delegation of 10 DOs and 18 students and advocates in their visit to the State Capitol, which some students labeled “the best lobby day yet.” Prior to meeting with their State Senators and Representatives, an advocacy train session was held regarding two bills of interest to IOMS: support for retail clinics regulations and opposition to “lay” midwives. Reportedly, the IOMS DOs and students were the first to speak with legislators on these bills, which will be heard in committee next week. Congratulations IOMS!

Change in Osteopathic PPAC Representatives

March 06, 2008
The Practicing Physicians Advisory Council (PPAC) met on 3/3/08 in Washington, DC. It was the final meeting for AOA PPAC representatives Geraldine O’Shea, DO, and Peter Grimm, DO, who have completed their four-year terms. Succeeding AOA representative Joseph Giaimo, DO, who will be sworn in as a council member on 5/19/08, attended the meeting as an observer. The National Provider Identifier (NPI), Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC), quality measures, and health information technology (HIT) were among the issues discussed. Congratulations to Drs. O’Shea and Grimm on a job well done!

Osteopathic Carrier Advisors Convene in Chicago

March 06, 2008
As was reported last week, the AOA Bureau of Socioeconomic Affairs held its First Annual Osteopathic Carrier Advisory Panel (O-CAP) meeting this past weekend in Chicago to promote advocacy education and increase effective communication between the O-CAP members, who serve on regional Carrier Advisory Committees (CAC). Attendees, led by AOA Trustees Ray E. Stowers, DO, William E. Silverman, DO, and Ronald R. Burns, DO, were schooled on how to promote fair and equitable policies for physician reimbursement under Medicare and influence private payors, which will benefit all members of the AOA. Through this process we hope to have a major impact on national payment policy. Topics of discussion included CAC education, Joint Committee on Quality and Reimbursement policy updates, Medical Home updates, and Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs). Congratulations BSA!

AOA Fact for the Day

March 06, 2008
Did you know…that today is the first-ever World Glaucoma Day? A joint global initiative of the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) & the World Glaucoma Patient Association (WGPA), World Glaucoma Day aims to enhance global glaucoma awareness through diverse regional events, such as newspaper articles, radio and television coverage, public glaucoma "screening" campaigns, and "open-door" days at glaucoma clinics and departments of ophthalmology. I’m sure AOA President-elect Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, an ophthalmologist, supports today’s goal! For more information, visit http://www.wgday.net.

Health Policy Notes

March 06, 2008
A class-action suit has been filed in Texas seeking to nullify the Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform Act of 2003, claiming that caps on non-economic damages in malpractice cases are unconstitutional, the 2/28/08 Southeast Texas Record reported.

The Indianapolis insurer WellPoint, Inc., also has been named in a lawsuit filed in New York alleging that the company failed to pay overtime wages to nurses in violation of state and federal labor laws, BusinessInsurance.com reported.

The 3/4/08 USA Today reported results from a survey it conducted on pharmaceutical drugs, finding that 75% of Americans believe prescription medications have improved lives while 79% say the cost of such drugs are unreasonable.

In Memoriam

March 05, 2008
It is with deep sadness that I share the news that Philip B. Pressler, the husband of AOA Trustee Suzanne K. Kelley, DO, passed away on 3/4/08. Memorial services will be announced in the near future. I ask the osteopathic professional family to keep Dr. Kelley and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Collaboration to Support Emergency Health Conferences

March 05, 2008
AOA President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, has partnered with the American Medical Association (AMA) to develop two conferences on the status of emergency health information and risk communications systems and technologies, respectively. President Ajluni wrote to the AMA last week in support of these conferences under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s Public Health Conference Support Program. The AOA will work with the AMA both in developing the conference agendas and participating in the meetings.

Investment Committee Reviews Fund Performance

March 05, 2008
AOA Past President George Thomas, DO, convened a meeting of the AOA Investment Committee, which he chairs, last evening via teleconference. After reviewing the Finance Committee’s report on the AOA’s financial statements, Investment Committee members reviewed performance evaluation reports on the AOA’s operating reserve, Dale Dodson Educational Fund, and Osteopathic Research and Development Fund investments. The current economic downturn continues to prompt fiscal cutbacks and fiduciary responsibility. President Ajluni; President-elect Carlo J. DiMarco, DO; Trustee Norman E. Vinn, DO; and Past President Philip Shettle, DO, were also on the call.

New “Fit for Life” Awards Announced

March 05, 2008
The American Osteopathic Foundation is pleased to announce the creation of four new “Fit for Life Awards covering important wellness areas: 1) Nutrition; 2) Smoking Cessation; 3) Obesity; and 4) Physical Fitness. Made possible with support from Pfizer, Inc., the four “Fit for Life” awards were established to honor President Ajluni and his presidential initiative to make all DOs "Fit for Life" and reward excellence in the field of health and wellness. Click here to learn more about these awards and apply.

Mississippi Paper Promotes New Osteopathic School

March 05, 2008
The South Mississippi Sun Herald newspaper ran an article on 3/3/08 announcing the hiring of AOA Trustee Michael K. Murphy, DO, as the Dean of the developing osteopathic medical school at the William Carey University in Hattiesburg, MS. The article also helps to promote public awareness of the DO degree by describing the extensive education and training osteopathic physicians receive and their parity with MDs. Read the full article online.

AACOM Partnership on Leadership Conference

March 05, 2008
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) lent its support to the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) to present the Paul Ambrose Political Leadership Institute this past weekend in Washington, DC. This conference focused on training both osteopathic and allopathic medical students to be leaders in health care reform. Its goals were to equip students with the communication and lobbying skills that would enable them to reclaim the role of doctors in deciding how to deliver the best care; empower communities and medical schools; and change the world for the better.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 05, 2008
Did you know…that the Surgery Club at the Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine has created an art gallery of cancer microscopy prints to raise funds for the Bay Area's American Cancer Society? Noticing how cancer cells seen through a microscope are akin to abstract art, osteopathic medical students decided to make prints of these cells available to the public via live and eBay auctions, aiming to educate the public and alleviate fears about cancer while raising money for further research. See the Gallery online!

Health Policy Notes

March 05, 2008
Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County has launched a pilot project where physicians and attorneys will work together to mediate conflicts between patients and the hospital or doctors in malpractice cases to avoid taking them to court, the 3/4/08 Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The 3/5/08 Wall Street Journal reported that hospitals are trying to reduce errors by focusing on “high-alert” medications, which can cause death in incorrect doses. Although there are 19 categories of them, 8 high-alert drugs cause 31% of all medication errors that harm patients.

A national USA Today survey, reported on 3/4/08, found that prescription drug ads prompt over 33% of patients to ask their doctor about the advertised drug, and 82% of those patients get the drug they asked about; drug advertising cost $4.8 billion in 2006.

AOA Membership Numbers Growing

March 04, 2008
AOA Trustee Carol L. Monson, DO, Chair of the Bureau on Membership, has released our latest membership report, showing that, as of 2/29/08, the AOA as 37,442 members! This is an increase of 875 members over this time last year and represents 58.1% of our potential market share of all DOs. The AOA Market Share Task Force has set the AOA’s goal for this fiscal year, which ends 5/31/08, at 60%. What can we do to encourage more DOs to be AOA members? Leave your comments here!

Economic Downturn Prompts Fiscal Responsibility

March 04, 2008
The AOA Finance Committee, chaired by AOA Past President Philip Shettle, DO, has released the unaudited AOA financial statements for the eight-month fiscal period ending 1/31/08. During this time period, the AOA’s operating cash and investments have decreased by $6,888,463 and now total $22,498,240. Non-operating activities report a decrease of $3,017,525 during this time, mainly due to decreased investment income. AOA Controller Frank Bedford conducted a current budget review and future forecast to address the economic downturn, as a result of which the AOA’s operating revenues over expenses remains budget neutral. The projected reserve balance at the end of this fiscal year is $26.9 million, $1.9 million more than the reserve requirement.

Task Force to Create Conjoint Examination Standards

March 04, 2008
The AOA Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS) Task Force on Formation of Conjoint Examinations (TFFCE) convened yesterday evening via conference call under the leadership of TFFCE Chair Wayne English, DO. This past November, BOS Chair Ronald E. Ayres, DO, reactivated the TFFCE, which was first convened in 1994 to develop a certification exam for sports medicine, and charged it with revisiting, reviewing and enhancing the existing model for Conjoint Exam Committees. TFFCE members began initial discussions on establishing a framework and specific standardized operating procedures under which all Conjoint Committees should operate.

Cover Article on Osteopathic Medicine in Mississippi

March 04, 2008
The 3/2/08 Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, MS) ran a cover article on the William Carey University’s plans to open an osteopathic medical school by 2010. The new school will be the region’s first osteopathic college and will help to provide access to medical care for the state’s many underserved residents. To educate readers who may not know what “DO” means, the article described the holistic focus of osteopathic medicine, the training DOs receive, and their prevalence in primary care fields. AOA Trustee Michael K. Murphy, DO, has been hired as the school’s Dean. Read the article online.

Physicians Participate in Quality Initiative

March 04, 2008
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services held a briefing last week on the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI), providing preliminary participation data based on submitted claims from July through November 2007. According to the preliminary data, 15.4% of eligible physicians tried (whether or not they did so correctly) to participate in PQRI – or 99,319 National Provider Identifiers out of 631,110 eligible to submit quality measures. Of that total, 92,218 participants successfully submitted a quality measure code; 65,168 submitted more than one quality measure in at least 80% of the cases in which the measure was reportable. CMS still needs to make final calculations on performance rates, bonuses and payment amounts.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 04, 2008
Did you know… that the March 2008 issue of The Whole Patient is helping to advance the “Fit for Life” Initiative through patient education? The issue focuses on "Unleashing Patient Power: The Secret to Improving Dyslipidemia Outcomes," helping physicians and patients be more aware of dyslipidemia and its strong association with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular outcomes. The issue is supported by an educational grant from Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals and will be available on DO-Online early this month.

Health Policy Notes

March 04, 2008
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wrote to fifteen pharmaceutical companies on 2/26/08 asking them to publicly post the educational grants they provide to physicians; many companies, including Pfizer and Eli Lilly & Co., have already started to do so, the 2/26/08 USA Today reported.

A California woman whose medical coverage was cancelled as she was undergoing breast cancer treatment has been awarded $9 million in damages; the insurance company, Health Net, is also being sued for related alleged illegal practices, according to the 2/24/08 Miami Herald.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that a recent outbreak of hepatitis C at a Nevada clinic could signal a larger safety issue, as the unsafe practices leading to the outbreak could be prevalent at clinics around the country, the 3/3/08 Washington Post reported.

President-elect DiMarco Calls for Nominations

March 03, 2008
AOA President-elect Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, in preparation for his Presidential year, has initiated the nomination process to fill open positions on the AOA’s bureaus, councils and committees (b/c/c). Beginning under the leadership of Past President John A. Strosnider, DO, and continued by President Ajluni, individuals and organizations who are interested in becoming more involved in AOA activities can make nominations for any open position. To make a nomination or self-nomination, please indicate the name of the b/c/c, the position on that body (if designated), the name of the individual(s) being nominated and a short note on the qualification of the nominee(s). Check the AOA Appointment Book to see the 2008 open B/C/Cs positions. All nominations or questions about nominations should be sent to nominations@osteopathic.org by 5/1/08.

Article Highlights “Fit for Life” Tips

March 03, 2008
The AOA Department of Communications has released the March 2008 Health for the Whole Family (HFWF) article, entitled “Muscle Cramp – A Common Pain.” Carolyn Quist, DO, an OB-GYN practicing in Fort Worth, TX, contributed to this article, counsels readers on how to avoid muscle cramps by gently stretching the affected muscle, stopping the activity that caused the cramp, and applying heat to tense or tight muscles or cold to sore or tender muscles. The HFWF series is a great way to promote the profession and educate patients. To use this month’s article, insert your information in the designated areas and print the article in your office or member newsletter; contact the editors of your local newspaper and ask how to publish the article; or leave copies in your office reception area to help educate your patients about health care issues. Access the article here.

Army Times Promotes OMT for Soldiers’ Back Pain

March 03, 2008
In other media news, the 2/25/08 Army Times newspaper ran an article about the invaluable role osteopathic medicine can play in treating back injuries, one of the most common problems reported among soldiers in Iraq. Christopher Prior, DO, now practicing in Littleton, CO, is featured in the article talking about how he used OMT at the 115th Field Hospital in Kuwait to help soldiers heal their back pain. As he stated, “once people find out you can do [manipulations], you see everybody and their brother.”

Osteopathic Medicine Profiled in Baltimore Sun

March 03, 2008
Osteopathic medicine also was featured in the 2/27/08 Baltimore Sun article describing the profession’s American roots and growth to its prominent status in today’s health care arena for “promoting the body's innate…ability to heal itself.” Profiling several prominent New England DOs, including AACOM President Stephen Shannon, DO, and Sinai Hospital Chief of Family Medicine Tyler Cymet, DO, the article provides a balanced, accurate portrait of osteopathic medicine to educate readers about DOs. Read the article online.

March 2008 Touch Points Distributed

March 03, 2008
Speaking of communications, the AOA Department of Communications distributed the March 2008 Touch Points newsletter today, helping to keep all AOA family members aware of what we are doing to help them. Featured in this month’s edition were stories on the launch of new osteopathic channels on MySpace and YouTube; our advocacy to promote the patient-centered medical home model for care; results of the 2008 Osteopathic Match; and free resources and discounts available for AOA members. Read more online.

AOA Fact for the Day

March 03, 2008
Did you know… the AOA supports National Sleep Awareness Week (NSAW) because sleep plays such a critical role in staying “Fit for Life”? According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), 70 million Americans are affected by sleep problems. Through our partnership with the NSF, AOA members have access to a variety of online resources to help educate patients about how good sleep contributes to their health. To access these materials, go to sleepfoundation.org, click on “2008 Online Toolkit,” and enter “toolkit” for the username and “2008NSFCSAP” for the case-sensitive password.

Health Policy Notes

March 03, 2008
The 2/26/08 USA Today reported that consumer spending on health care will reach $4 trillion per year by 2017, or $1 for every $5 spent; the current 6.7% annual increase in spending (triple the rate of inflation) is due to increased demand and higher prices for care.

The Washington Post reported on 2/26/08 on the top special interest groups contributing to presidential candidates, including health professionals, health services, hospitals/nursing homes, lawyers, and pharmaceutical companies on the list.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has announced the creation of a "Pulling It Together" series for its Web site, which will sift through health policy information and provide a bigger picture of the various health policy issues. The first installment is available online.