Archive for July of 2009

President Wickless Addresses Florida Family Physicians

July 31, 2009
AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, is in the “Sunshine State” today attending the Florida Society of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians’ (FS-ACOFP) 29th Annual Convention & National Family Practice Update, which is taking place 7/29-8/2/09 in Orlando. President Wickless addressed the osteopathic family physicians in attendance today regarding his efforts to “Manage Change” at the AOA and through health system reform efforts this coming year. This program provided attendees with about 30 hours of AOA Category 1-A CME credit. AOA Trustees William M. Silverman, DO, and Ronald R. Burns, DO, were also in attendance.

Educational Leaders Convene in Chicago

July 31, 2009
The AOA Council on Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training (COPT) convened in Chicago today under the leadership of Michael I. Opipari, DO, Chair. COPT members acted on several resolutions to change basic standards for residency training programs integrate core competencies, and a proposal to utilize independent reviewers. Members also voted to manage change for OPTIs if GME programs in non-hospital settings become part of the health system reform proposals being debated in Washington, DC. Education meetings will continue tomorrow with Susan Zonia, PhD, convening the Bureau of Osteopathic Medical Educators into session. AOA President-elect Karen J. Nichols, DO, is also in attendance.

Osteopathic.org Shows Great Growth in FY 2009

July 31, 2009
The AOA’s consumer Web site, Osteopathic.org, saw great increases in a majority of statistics over the last year. Overall, the number of visitors to the site grew by 28%, while the amount of page views also rose by 15% and hits by 43%. The most popular download file was the Glossary of Osteopathic Terminology Usage Guide, with 41,436 downloads. The podcast “Doctor begins with DO” attracted the most listeners, with 6,140 downloads. Almost 262,000 members of the public visited Osteopathic.org to learn “What is a DO.” The second-most popular page on Osteopathic.org is the “Find a DO” function. Learn more by clicking the links!

DOs Appointed to Prestigious Positions

July 31, 2009
The Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine has announced that President Stan Flemming, DO, named Robyn Phillips-Madson, DO, as PNU-COM Dean, and Robert Sutton, PhD, as Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Phillips-Madson has served as Acting Dean since January 2009. Prior to joining the university, Dr. Sutton was chief learning officer and vice president of academic affairs for Genesys Health System of Grand Blanc, MI. In other appointment news, LeRoy E. Young, DO, has been appointed to the Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners. Congratulations all!

New Report on Complementary Medicine

July 31, 2009
According to a report released today by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, US adults spent a total of $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in 2007. This total includes $22 billion for self-care purchases of CAM products and $11.9 billion on an estimated 354.2 million visits to CAM practitioners. About $14.8 billion of total out-of-pocket costs for CAM was spent on the purchase of non-vitamin, non-mineral, natural products. The complete report is available online.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 31, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA House of Delegates passed a resolution to endorse the US Pharmacopeia’s position statement on “Ten Guiding Principles for Teaching Children and Adolescents About Medicines?” These recommendations enforce children’s right to appropriate information about medicine and parents’ responsibility to teach them.

Health Policy Notes

July 31, 2009
The 7/24/09 Medicine & Health reported on a new Web site, UCompareHealthCare.com, which currently lists more than 627,000 physicians and allows patients to look up their doctors online, similar to social networking sites like Facebook.

The US Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices has issued recommendations stating that pregnant women, infant caregivers, health care workers, and emergency medical personnel should be the first to receive the H1N1 influenza vaccine when it becomes available this fall, the 7/30/09 USA Today reported.

The 7/30/09 Chicago Sun-Times reported that House Democrats have reached an agreement with the conservative “Blue Dog” Democratic coalition on health system reform; a vote on the health reform legislation (HR 3200) is expected to take place in September.

President-elect Nichols in Chicago News

July 30, 2009
AOA President-elect Karen J. Nichols, DO, was featured in the 7/29/09 The Doings newspaper, part of the Chicago Sun-Times publishing group that covers Oak Brook, IL. The AOA arranged an interview between President-elect Nichols and the Doings last week after a reporter received the AOA news release on election as the first female President-elect of the AOA. The article provides background information on Dr. Nichols, who compared her election by America’s 67,000 DOs as "the highest honor that any osteopathic physician can receive…it's the crowning glory of everything." Dr. Nichols also serves as Dean of Midwestern University's Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove. Read the full article online.

Federal and State Officials Write to Past President DiMarco

July 30, 2009
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote to Immediate Past President Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, on 7/22/09 to thank him for his letter outlining the AOA’s priorities for health system reform and his pledge to collaborate with HHS and other stakeholders to achieve this goal. Joel M. Miller, a New York State Assembly member, also wrote to Dr. DiMarco on 7/7/09 to thank him for his advocacy against NY Bill A-1295, which would have authorized podiatrists to advertise using the term “podiatric physician.” Assemblyman Miller reported that the bill died before making it to the Assembly floor and further pledged to vote against the bill to ensure that the term “physician” would be associated with the unrestricted practice of medicine and surgery.

PTRC Convenes in Chicago

July 30, 2009
The AOA Program and Trainee Review Council (PTRC) held a meeting today in Chicago under the leadership of John B. Bulger, DO, Chair. To manage change affecting OGME, Dr. Bulger challenged the Council to be accountable, responsible and transparent in all its deliberations, which include reviewing internship and residency program recommendations for final approval, denial or deferral of action. In pursuit of this goal, PTRC members considered several requests from osteopathic internship and residency programs for continuing approval, training capacity increases, and new programs. The PTRC also held discussion on the proper procedure for re-approval of combined programs and options to support volunteer inspection processes.

CIR Member Posts Health Reform Video on CNN

July 30, 2009
AOA member Brad Landry, DO, who serves on the AOA Council of Interns and Residents, submitted an iReport video to CNN.com, which aired on 7/29/09 and posted on its iReport section. In the video, entitled “Health Insurance for All? Rationing?,” Dr Landry refers to Peter Singer’s 7/15/09 article in the New York Times, “Why We Must Ration Health Care,” identifying universal health care as an ethical issue and the message that the well-being of the uninsured is valued less than those who have insurance. Dr Landry’s screen name is blandryDO, identifying himself as an osteopathic physician. His video post can be viewed on CNN.com.

FTC Delays Red Flag Rule Implementation for Third Time

July 30, 2009
On 7/29/09 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced yet another delay in the implementation of “Red Flag” rules to protect patient identity theft in medical billing. This is the third delay in implementation, which is considered a moderate victory for physicians. The AOA has sent three letters to the FTC urging them to exempt physicians from this ruling, citing existing HIPAA rules to protect patient health information and the faulty inclusion of physicians as "creditors" under federal law. View the official FTC press release here. View the AOA's Frequently Asked Questions document on the Rule online.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 30, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA is a member of Friends of Indian Health? This coalition of over 40 health organizations and individuals supports health care improvement for the American Indian and Alaskan Native people

Health Policy Notes

July 30, 2009
The 7/28/09 Chicago Sun-Times reported that health care costs for an obese person are about $1,400 more per year than for somebody of normal weight, according to new research published this week in Health Affairs; in the last decade, the obesity rate rose 37%.

Medicine & Health reported on 7/24/09 that the health care sector will be a source for much growth in employment, according to a report released by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers; health care dominates the report’s list of sectors where the most jobs will be added by 2016.

HHS Secretary Sebelius congratulated the National Conference of State Legislatures on 7/24/09 after the group voted in strong support of an amendment to achieve health insurance reform by making coverage affordable, letting Americans keep their coverage, and a public plan option.

President Wickless Advocates on Capitol Hill

July 29, 2009
AOA President Larry Wickless, DO, joined James King, MD, President of the American Academy of Family Physicians, and Paul Grundy, MD, President of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, in our Nation’s Capital today for a series of Congressional meetings. The group of physician leaders met primarily with members of the House “Blue Dog” Democratic Coalition to advance the need for increased primary care physician reimbursement, the patient-centered medical home model for care, and expanded graduate medical education opportunities in health system reform (HSR) legislation under consideration on Capitol Hill.

COPTI Convenes Via Teleconference

July 29, 2009
The AOA Council on Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training Institutions (COPTI) convened via teleconference today under the leadership of D. Keith Watson, DO, Chair. Today’s meeting, which commences a cluster of educational council meetings this week, focused on implementing actions taken at the 2009 AOA Annual Business Meeting, among other priority issues. Topics discussed on the call included the format of OPTIs’ annual reports, corrective action plans for non-compliant OPTIs, training for OPTI inspectors, a review of OPTI basic documents, and certificates of completion. The COPTI also discussed how to advance the OPTI concept as part of OGME development issues within the larger HSR debate noted above.

Publicity for AOA House Video Game Resolution

July 29, 2009
Kotaku.com, a popular gaming Web site, featured an interview with Geraldine O’Shea, DO, Chair of the AOA Bureau on Scientific Affairs and Public Health, in an article on fitness video games. Specifically, Dr. O’Shea addressed the AOA House of Delegates approval of Resolution 285 to support physically active video games in patients’ exercise programs, especially if circumstances prohibit other types of exercise. In the article, Dr. O’Shea explained how she became a “convert” to physically active video games, leading the effort to get osteopathic support for the resolution, because “any activity is better than no activity” in getting patients up and about. Read the article online.

Prominent DOs in National News Outlets

July 29, 2009
In other media news, the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) was featured in an Erie Times-News editorial on 7/15/09. The article congratulated LECOM founders John Ferretti, DO, President and CEO, and Silvia Ferretti, DO, Provost, for their recent recognition in the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award. Read the article online to learn more about this prestigious recognition. The Chicago Tribune this week reported on the death of Joel Weisman, DO, who was one of the first physicians to detect the AIDS epidemic. Dr. Weisman, a graduate of the Kansas City College of Osteopathy, was renowned as a national advocate for AIDS research, treatment, and prevention.

AOF Announces New Student Grant Opportunity

July 29, 2009
The American Osteopathic Foundation (AOF) recently announced that $30,000 is available for the Student Initiatives Grant program, which provides funding to support student-administered projects/programs that promote osteopathic medicine and the profession. Student leadership or any osteopathic medical student organization at an AOA accredited college of osteopathic medicine is eligible to apply for a grant of up to $1,000. The project/program must focus on one of the following: Back to Basics – embracing the tenets of osteopathic principles and practice; Fit for Life – promoting health and wellness within the profession; Patient Centered Quality Care – striving to give patients the best medical care; or Pride in the Profession – promoting osteopathic medicine and the profession. Learn more online.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 29, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA is a member of the DGME Fairness Coalition? The coalition aims to generate support for legislation to increase direct graduate medical education (DGME) payment for all hospitals to 100% of the national average.

Health Policy Notes

July 29, 2009
An op-ed piece in the 7/27/09 USA Today guesses that yes, God would support universal health care coverage, after consulting religious texts including the Bible, the Quran, and Jewish Rabbis. Read the article online.

The 7/29/09 Medicine & Health reported that the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research has submitted a report to Congress calling for patient-centered research to be a major part of the $1.1 billion in CER funds.

The Chicago Tribune reported on 7/26/09 that most people given a choice between public and private insurance plans stick with private plans; according to Congressional Budget Office estimates, as few as 11 million people will have signed up for a government plan by 2019 if given that choice.

AOA Staff Governance Meetings

July 28, 2009
All AOA staff members who serve as Secretaries to our Bureaus, Councils, and Committees (BCCs) attended a meeting today during which I briefed them on how they can help “Manage Change” under AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, this year. Topics for discussion on the agenda included planning for the AOA BCC Chairs’ and Board of Trustees’ Orientation Session in early August, implementation of its work product with the members appointed by Dr. Wickless to their respective BCCs, and the schedule of cluster and Board meetings over the coming year. In addition, AOA Senior Staff held a meeting this morning to review successes and identify areas for improvement concerning the 2009 AOA Annual Meeting.

Collaboration with Quality Improvement Stakeholders

July 28, 2009
I represented the AOA today on a conference call of the AQA Alliance’s Steering Committee, on which I serve. Today’s agenda focused on follow-up issues resulting from the AQA’s 6/30/09 Meeting, including implementation of the performance measures and the future purpose and function of the AQA in this changing environment. We also finalized a draft agenda for the 9/11/09 AQA Meeting, reviewed a request from the Quality Alliance Steering Committee to review its three-year work plan, and discussed future collaboration between the AQA and the Hospital Quality Alliance.  

More DO Members Get their CME Online

July 28, 2009
As the osteopathic medical profession flourishes in this technological age, the AOA’s online CME site, DOCMEOnline.com, is an increasingly valuable resource. Statistics for May and June 2009 show that people are coming to the site more and staying longer. June saw increases in visitors, first-time visitors, visitors coming back, and duration of time spent on the site: overall visitors to the site increased 33.7%, first-time visitors increased almost 36%, and average time spent on the site increased by over two minutes. Lastly, visitors coming back to the site increased 26%. All the other numbers showed increases as well with page views increasing by 36% and hits increasing by almost 57%. Earn CME online today!

Osteopathic Representation at ACPM Meeting

July 28, 2009
AOA member Paul Fowler, DO, represented the osteopathic medical profession at the American College of Preventive Medicine’s (ACPM) “Lifestyle Medicine Blue Ribbon Panel Competency Development Meeting” on 7/27-28/09 in Washington, DC. Prior to the meeting, participants completed a survey to help identify areas for discussion, which included what constitutes lifestyle medicine; prevention and treatment of chronic disease; the role of alternative or complementary therapies; the evidence base for lifestyle interventions; and whether current levels of training and education in lifestyle medicine are adequate.

Revised Definition for HIT "Meaningful Use"

July 28, 2009
At its 7/16/09 meeting, the federal HIT Policy Committee approved a revised definition of meaningful use of health information technology (HIT) that provides more time for physicians and hospitals to meet meaningful use criteria. The revised definition gives physicians an “adoption year,” during which providers would only have to meet measures specified for the previous year. Based on this change, most clinicians would be able to participate in and receive funds under the stimulus bill and have the flexibility to meet meaningful use criteria in later years. Please keep in mind that the incentive payment for adoption in later years will not be as high as in 2011, as the 2011 incentive amount of $18,000 will be reduced to $15,000 in 2013 and to $12,000 in 2014. Complete information on the proceedings of the HIT Policy Committee can be accessed under the Public and Private Initiatives section of HHS Web site.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 28, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA has retained 1,082 of the gift memberships we distributed in FY 2009? This number represents almost 50% of all gift memberships distributed last year, testifying to our great success in providing valuable member benefits and services. Thank you for your support!

Health Policy Notes

July 28, 2009
The 7/27/09 News Observer reported that medical costs associated with obesity, including hospital stays, doctor visits, and medications, add up to $147 billion per year, or almost 40% more than in 1998, according to a study released by economists at RTI International announced.

The Congressional Budget Office announced on 7/27/09 that a new Independent Medicare Advisory Council as currently proposed by some Members of Congress and the President would do little to guarantee substantial savings unless the entity could recommend broad changes to Medicare.

The 7/25/09 New York Times reported that the California Assembly has passed a measure to close the state budget’s $26 billion gap by cutting many services: Medicaid was cut by $1.3 billion, and an additional $129 million was trimmed from California’s children insurance program.

PCMH Collaboration in Washington, DC

July 27, 2009
I am in our Nation’s Capital today attending a Consumer Advocacy meeting hosted by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC), of whose Board of Directors I serve as Chair. Over 25 consumer advocacy groups joined the PCPCC today in Washington, DC, to address ways we can work together to achieve health care system reform this year, particularly a plan that includes promotion of primary care and the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model for care. Today’s meeting included a roundtable to address integrating consumers in the PCMH movement and discussions on sustaining participation in the PCMH, reaching out to underserved populations, and health literacy and cultural competency. A call-to-action on both short- and long-term priorities concluded the meeting.

AOA Membership Continues Upward Trend

July 27, 2009
The latest AOA membership report has been released, showing that the AOA counts a total of 29,939 DOs committed to the osteopathic profession as of 7/24/09. This number represents 76.9% of our budgeted revenue and 42.3% of our potential market share of all DOs. It is a gain of 648 members over last week and 1,181 over this time last year. These members gave their support to many AOA entities via their dues bill: 26,268 have contributed $259,856 to the American Osteopathic Information Association; 9,122 have contributed $355,870 to the American Osteopathic Foundation; and 1,958 have given $90,705 to the Advocates for the AOA. Thanks for your support!

Blog Report Shows Increased Usage

July 27, 2009
The AOA maintains two blogs, the AOA Daily Report Blog and the AOA President’s Blog, to give members a direct line of communication to President Wickless and me. Based on statistics for blog usage released last week, many members are taking advantage of these unique communication mechanisms. Cumulative totals for the blogs saw increases in May over April. Total visitors coming to both sites improved by 11% in May; visits to the sites also increased by almost 35%, and unique visitors saw an increase of 11%. While in June both the Daily Reports Blog and AOA President’s Blog dropped in visits by 6% and 4%, respectively, total views [the number of times people viewed the page(s)] were up for both blogs at approximately 2% last month. Let us know how we can improve this member service.

VCOM Outreach to People in Need

July 27, 2009
The Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) announced that it has formed a new partnership with Foot Levelers, Premier Transfer and Storage, and Burch Enterprises to help provide free footwear to those in need. The free footwear is just one component of a larger VCOM global health initiative that includes medical outreach through VCOM clinics in the Dominican Republic, Honduras and El Salvador. Foot Levelers donated more than 35,000 pairs of new sandals, work boots, and athletic shoes for distribution to those in need in communities served by VCOM’s three international clinics. This year marks the fourth consecutive year of VCOM’s ongoing International Outreach and Missions program; since the start of VCOM’s international initiatives, VCOM doctors and students have provided care to more than 12,000 people.

Health Technology Recommendations Released

July 27, 2009
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) created two key concepts to determine whether eligible professionals qualify for health information technology (HIT) incentive payments: “meaningful use” of HIT and use of a qualified or certified electronic health record. The HIT Policy Committee Certification/Adoption Workgroup have held several meetings and two hearings on 7/14-15/09, resulting in several recommendations: certification criteria should be clearly defined and focus on meaningful use; the need for specialty certification; and the need to provide incentives up front. The Workgroup also proposed defining HHS certification as systems “able to achieve government requirements for security, privacy, and interoperability, and…enable the meaningful use results that the government expects. HHS certification is not intended to be viewed as a “seal of approval” or an indication of the benefits of one system over another.” Read more online.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 27, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA Greatness Fund is still growing? As of 7/24/09, the Greatness Fund had received 1,004 pledges that together total $1,373,380 to support our profession’s “big, hairy, audacious goals.” Learn more on DO-Online.

Health Policy Notes

July 27, 2009
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released its 2008 State Snapshots report on quality measures by state, which shows that no State does well or poorly on all quality measures. Learn how your state ranked online.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has suspended its markup of “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act” (HR 3200) to look for ways to achieve greater cost savings; both the House Ways and Means and Education and Labor Committees have already approved their portions of bill.

The Institute of Medicine has released Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2008, the eighth report in a series on the scientific and medical information regarding the health effects of exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam. A copy is available online.




Joint Advocacy for GME Expansions

July 24, 2009
AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, and Stephen C. Shannon, DO, President and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), sent a joint letter to members of the US Senate Finance Committee on 7/23/09 to voice our support for provisions that would establish Teaching Health Centers (THCs) within the Finance Committee’s health system reform legislation. The proposal would provide Medicare graduate medical education funding for the development and operation of new or expanded medical residency programs in THCs, which are defined as ambulatory care settings, including community health centers, federally qualified health centers, and other non-hospital entities. Read the full letter here.

Press Release Supports Health System Reform

July 24, 2009
Today the AOA issued a press statement to DC media outlets affirming our support of the President’s goals in achieving health care reform for all Americans. However, the AOA expressed our disappointment in the way he chose to characterize physicians by suggesting that some treatments are dictated by financial considerations other than what may be best for the patient. We look forward to working with the President and Congress to enact reforms that ensure all patients have access to and insurance coverage for health care services, preserve physicians’ right to practice, and protect the physician-patient relationship. Read the full press release online.

President Obama Visits Trustee’s Hospital

July 24, 2009
AOA Trustee Robert S. Juhasz, DO, who is the Medical Director for the Cleveland Clinic’s Willoughby Hills Family Health Center, has reported to us on President Obama’s visit to the Cleveland Clinic yesterday. President Obama visited the renowned health care center to see firsthand its model of health care and how it utilizes health information technology (HIT) in order to provide patients with cost-effective, high-quality medical care. The President’s visit included a demonstration of robotically assisted heart valve repair. The Cleveland Clinic has performed over 500 such surgeries – more than any facility in the country – with 0% hospital mortality and 99% success.

Medicare Proposed Quality and HIT Rules

July 24, 2009
Speaking of technology, the 2010 Medicare physician fee schedule proposed rule includes several provisions related to quality and HIT like e-prescribing. In general, the agency proposes to continue implementing quality improvement initiatives for physicians through the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI), with a goal of accepting quality data through electronic health records in 2010. Regarding e-prescribing, the agency will institute an authorized e-prescribing incentive program. To be eligible for the program, the e-prescribing quality measure must apply to at least 10% of the professional’s total Part B allowed charges. The AOA’s Clinical Assessment Program is recognized as a quality medical registry for PQRI’s purposes. Read more online.

DO-Online Statistics Show Increased Usage

July 24, 2009
Statistics for AOA member Web site, DO-Online, show that the overall number of visits, page views, and hits were up approximately 3% in June. Since the beginning of the year, our numbers are impressive: we attracted 494,217 total visitors, had 959,836 visits, 7,629,507 page views, and 24,529,668 hits. The most popular downloaded document on DO-Online was the accreditation document for osteopathic postdoctoral training institutions, with 9,354 downloads in June and 55,712 for the year. For the first two weeks in July and as a run-up to the House meeting, we saw even more increases in the numbers: visitors [32,696] were up 7%; visits [48,104] were up almost 12%; and page views [301,738] were up almost 52%. Thank you for your interest and support!

AOA Fact for the Day

July 24, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA is a member of the Coalition for Health Services Research? This Coalition, the advocacy arm of AcademyHealth, works to provide a unified voice for increased health services research funding.

Health Policy Notes

July 24, 2009
The 7/15/09 USA Today reported that health care reform bills are expected to cost $1 trillion over 10 years; this number is equivalent to the annual gross domestic product of South Korea; the combined net worth of the world’s 90 richest people; and enough to give every American $325.50 per year for 10 years.

The front page of the 7/23/09 Chicago Tribune included an article on chiropractors’ efforts to market themselves as “holistic, whole body” primary-care healers, despite their lack of medical training; the article mentions OMT as a method DOs use, not as a corollary to chiropractic manipulation.

The 7/22/09 Wall Street Journal reported that recent data suggest that America’s childhood obesity rates may no longer be rising: a series of studies from six countries show that childhood obesity rates have hit a plateau, holding steady for the past five to ten years.

AOA Leaders Conduct Governance Planning

July 23, 2009
AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, and President-elect Karen J. Nichols, DO, visited AOA Headquarters yesterday for a series of governance meetings in planning for the year ahead, including establishing a preliminary travel and meeting schedule for the balance of 2009. We finalized plans for the Board of Trustees’ orientation session and retreat, taking place 8/5-8/09 in Chicago, and discussed the roles and responsibilities of the President and President-elect as we work together to “Manage Change” this year. Later in the afternoon, Teresa Hubka, DO, President of the American Osteopathic Foundation, met with President Wickless and President-elect Nichols to discuss how to strengthen the working relationship between the AOA and the AOF to achieve mutual strategic goals.

Past President Addresses Alaska DOs

July 23, 2009
AOA Immediate Past President Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, traveled to “The Last Frontier” today to represent the AOA at the Alaska Osteopathic Medical Association’s (AkOMA) 21st Annual Summer CME Conference, which is being held 7/23-26/09 in Homer. President DiMarco addressed AkOMA attendees, speaking about President Wickless’ focus on “Managing Change” and the upcoming changes in medicine, technology, funding, and policy on the horizon and included in health system reform legislation. The AkOMA Conference is approved for 20.5 hours of AOA CME credit.

Media Coverage of AOA Advocacy Efforts

July 23, 2009
The AOA received media coverage in two Washington, DC, outlets based upon our 7/22/09 letter to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, opposing the creation of an Independent Medical Advisory Committee (IMAC). The Hill ran an article, “Cost-cutting commission sends fear down K Street,” describing the AOA’s and other medical associations’ efforts to keep MedPAC in its current advisory role. Congress Daily’s 7/23/09 article, “Physicians, Hospitals Threaten Support Over Medicare Deal,” also discussed the health sectors opposition to the MedPAC proposal, saying that it could threaten groups’ support for Congressional health reform legislation. Read the AOA letter and The Hill’s article online.

OMED Plans New Benefits and Events

July 23, 2009
The AOA’s 114th Annual Osteopathic Medical Conference & Exposition (OMED), themed “The Road to Health Begins with Prevention,” is shaping up to be our best Convention yet. Besides its new “OMED” title, chosen to better reflect our focus on osteopathic educational opportunities, OMED will feature many new programs and benefits this year. James Carville and Mary Matalin will serve as keynote speakers for OMED’s opening session on 11/2/09. For those DOs who will be taking certification exams during OMED, the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians is holding an intensive review session on 9/10-12/09 in Chicago (learn more here). OMED will be held on 11/1-5/09 in New Orleans, LA. Register on DO-Online today!

Medicare Proposed Rule Changes

July 23, 2009
Hanging in the balance if health system reform efforts should fail is the 2010 physician fee schedule proposed rule released this week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The rule projects a payment decrease of 21.5% via the SGR formula, resulting in a 2010 conversion factor (CF) of $28.3208, a decrease from the 2009 CF of $36.0666. It also would give primary care physicians a payment rate boost while specialties such could experience a significant payment rate reduction. In addition to these payment proposals, the rule addresses changes to equipment utilization rate assumptions, consultation services, misvalued codes, advanced diagnostic imaging, and physician self referrals, among others. Read more online.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 23, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA is a member of the AMA Bio-terrorism Coalition and the Partnership for Community Safety? These coalitions were created following the September 11 terrorist attacks in an effort to keep the health care community informed about first responder guidance and actions.

Health Policy Notes

July 23, 2009
The 7/23/09 Washington Post reported on an initiative by the Maryland Hospital Association to give $15.5 million over five years to 17 nursing schools in the state to help them increase enrollment, hoping to prevent a nursing workforce shortage.

The 7/21/09 New York Times reported that some doctors and pharmaceutical companies are moving towards “maintenance therapy” for cancer patients, which involves continuously treating patients with chemotherapy drugs, rather than stopping the drugs when the cancer is under control.

Only 25% of Americans believe that the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” commonly known as the stimulus package, helped the economy, while 31% believe it actually harmed the economy; 36% believe it had no impact, according to the 7/23/09 Rasmussen Reports.

Advocacy to Protect Congressional Oversight of Medicare

July 22, 2009
AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, wrote to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, today to express the AOA’s strong opposition to legislative proposals seeking to remove Congressional authority over the Medicare program. As President Wickless expressed, enacting such a provision would grant unprecedented authority over the allocation of a significant share of our nation’s federal budget to a body of unelected officials. We see no reason why the current structure and composition is suddenly inconsistent with Congressional goals of reforming the health care system. Our letter strongly urged Congress to pursue the innovative physician payment reforms recommended by MedPAC but maintain its statutorily mandated function as an independent advisory commission. Read the full letter online.

Talking Points on Health Reform Legislation

July 22, 2009
In other health system reform news, the AOA has revised its talking points document regarding HR 3200, the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act,” following the deliberation of our House of Delegates at the Annual Meeting last week. This document answers some frequently asked questions regarding HR 3200, including why the AOA supports this legislation and what provisions in it we do not support. It also addresses the “public plan” provisions contained in the bill, what happens to private insurance under the plan, and our advocacy to include medical liability and sustainable growth rate reform in the legislation. Read more here.

DOs Featured in Prominent News Outlets

July 22, 2009
The 7/7/09 Chicago Tribune Blog posted an entry on osteopathic medicine, educating readers about the differences between DOs and MDs, such as DOs’ extra training on the musculoskeletal system and manipulation, as well as their similarities, including full parity of practice rights throughout the USA. Specifically, the blog entry focuses on an interview with Ann McDermott, DO, a family medicine physician at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago, which was published in the July 2009 issue of Well magazine. Read both articles online.

Nominate Your Mentor Today!

July 22, 2009
The nomination deadline for the AOA 2009 Mentor of the Year award has been extended to 7/26/09! Through the Mentor Recognition Program, which is presented in association with Pfizer, Inc., the AOA honors DOs who help shape the future of the osteopathic medical profession through their involvement with students, postdoctoral trainees, and new physicians. While only one person will be named the 2009 Mentor of the Year, every nominee is inducted into the AOA Mentor Hall of Fame and is invited to attend the annual Distinguished Mentor reception at the AOA Convention this fall in New Orleans. Nominations for the 2009 Mentor of the Year award should be submitted no later than 7/26/09. Nominate your mentor or learn more about the iLEARN Mentor Program online.

AOA Supports Obesity Prevention Leaders

July 22, 2009
The AOA was pleased to be among several organizations that supported the Campaign to End Obesity Second Annual "Breakfast with Champions" on Capitol Hill this morning. The event honored Members of Congress who have shown an outstanding commitment to addressing the issue of overweight and obesity in the United States. The 2009 honorees are Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Representatives Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), Kay Granger (R-TX), and Ron Kind (D-WI). Most recently, the AOA sent a letter to Senator Bingaman in support of his legislation, the "Obesity, Prevention, Treatment, and Research Act of 2009 (S.1060), as we remain active on several fronts in addressing this important societal issue.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 22, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA is a member of the Facing Fear Together partnership? This group was established after the events of September 11 and seeks to integrate mental health and physical health with an emphasis on helping primary care providers meet the needs of their patients in times of terrorism.

Health Policy Notes

July 22, 2009
The American Medical Association spent the most money in the health care sector on lobbying this quarter at $4 million; Eli Lilly ranked second among health care organizations, spending $3.6 million on lobbying in the second quarter of this year, MSNBC.com reported on 7/20/09.

The USA Today reported on 7/20/09 that physician-assisted suicide laws in Oregon, enacted 10 years ago, have “quietly broken ground” for other states like Washington and Montana that seek to enact similar laws. According to a 2007 Gallup poll, 56% of Americans believe doctors should be able to assist suicides for terminally ill patients.

The Institute of Medicine has released Global Environmental Health: Research Gaps and Barriers for Providing Sustainable Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Services, which addresses the global water crisis brought on by growing population, urbanization, and poor water management. Get a copy online.

Modern Healthcare Announces President Wickless' Election

July 21, 2009
AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, was featured in the 7/19/09 Modern Healthcare for his election as the AOA’s 113th President. The article covered President Wickless’ focus on “Managing Change,” quoting from his Inaugural Address: "We need to view change as the key to our survival as an organization.” It also briefed readers about the AOA’s health system reform objectives, which, as President Wickless said, “cannot be achieved without stabilizing physician payment methodologies.” Read the full article online. For more on physician payment, read item #2 below.

Talk to President Wickless Via AOA President’s Blog

July 21, 2009
In keeping with the tradition started by the late AOA Past President John A. Strosnider, DO, President Wickless will use the AOA President’s Blog to keep connected with DOs and osteopathic medical students across the country via the Internet. On this Web site, President Wickless will write entries about his recent travels, activities, and priorities, inviting readers to post comments and start discussion with him. Read his first entry today and keep checking to learn more about our 113th AOA President.

YouTube Video Highlights Payment Reform Priorities

July 21, 2009
One of the AOA’s top advocacy priorities is physician payment reform. Our efforts aim to reform Medicare’s flawed sustainable growth rate formula to create an equitable, predictable physician payment system. To educate AOA members and the public about our efforts towards this goal, I recorded a video statement covering our actions, policies, and goals for payment and health system reform. The video has been posted on the AOA YouTube channel and on DO-Online. Watch it today.

Developing COM in Mississippi Media

July 21, 2009
The 7/20/09 Clarion-Ledger, a newspaper serving Jackson, MS, published an article on 7/20/09 regarding the developing College of Osteopathic Medicine at William Carey University, which is expected to welcome its inaugural class of osteopathic medical students in Fall 2010. The article addressed the University’s hopes that its osteopathic medical school will allow medical students from Mississippi and the surrounding states, most of which do not have osteopathic medical schools, to remain in the South for their osteopathic education and training, instead of leaving the region and often not returning to practice medicine. Read the article online.

PCPCC Advocates for Patient-Centered Reforms

July 21, 2009
The Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, of which Steering Committee the AOA is a member, sent a letter to the letter to the Chairmen of the House Ways & Means, Education & Labor and Energy & Commerce Committees on 7/20/09 stating that primary care and the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) are keys to creating a health care system that results in high quality, affordable care. The letter offered recommendations for consideration as the House of Representatives continues its work on health reform legislation, including funding for primary care extension programs, increased primary care payments, and funding for loan forgiveness programs.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 21, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA is a member of America’s HealthTogether? This partnership of health care organizations seeks to build national support for affordable health care for all.

Health Policy Notes

July 21, 2009
The 7/21/09 USA Today reported that President Obama’s approval rating has fallen to 55%, ranking him 10th among the 12 post-WWII Presidents, according to a Gallup poll.  50% of Americans disapprove how he is handling the health reform issue, compared to 44% who approve.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) announced this week that he is still working to reduce the cost of his Committee's bill and hopes to introduce it this week with bipartisan support. Additional revenue must be found, or more cost cutting must occur to pay for the bill.

The Boston Globe reported on 7/20/09 that the economic recession has impacted Americans’ healthy habits; fewer people spring for pricey gym memberships and personal training sessions and more opt for cheaper, more fattening foods.


AOA President Attends BCBSA Meeting

July 20, 2009
AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, represented the osteopathic medical profession at a Specialty Society Insurer Coalition (SSIC)/BlueCross BlueShield of America (BCBSA) Meeting in the Windy City today. The collaborative forum provided specialty organizations and BCBSA leadership an opportunity to address several issues regarding implementing coverage policies and solidifying a process for communicating new coverage policies to physicians and organizations. Likewise, BCBSA reviewed its timeline for implementation of electronic health records to identify ways the SSIC could advance this process. Topics on the agenda for discussion also included quality improvement for patient outcomes, affordability, and health system reform.

Collaborative Quality Forum in Washington, DC

July 20, 2009
I traveled to Washington, DC, today to participate in the 2nd invitation-only Quality Forum being hosted by the National Quality Forum (NQF) and the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS).  The purpose of these forums is to develop the details of the quality components of the health system reform legislation.  In addition to the AOA, approximately 40 participants including the leadership of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, the AARP, MedPAC, and America’s Health Insurance Plans will be in attendance.  Tomorrow I will be conducting a roundtable discussion on the tools available to and needed by physicians and other providers to implement quality mechanisms, including the AOA Clinical Assessment Program (CAP).

Membership Numbers Growing in FY2010

July 20, 2009
The latest AOA membership reports have been released, showing that the AOA has a total of 29,291 members as of 7/17/09.  This is an increase of 612 members since last week and 1,295 more members than we had at this time last year.  This number represents 75.6% of our budgeted revenue and 41.3% of our potential market share of all DOs.  Of these 29,291 members, 4,546 are in postdoctoral training and 2,776 are in their first three years of practice.  On the other end of the spectrum, 545 are retired from practice and 2,846 are life or honorary life members. 

Florida Society Assists Global Health Care Efforts

July 20, 2009
The Pinellas County (Florida) Osteopathic Medical Society (PCOMS) wrote to the AOA on 7/14/09 to advise us about the efforts of Tonya Hawthorne, DO, through her New Frontiers Health Force (NFHF) to provide health care for the Masai people living in the Maji Moto region of Ngoswani, Kenya.  Due to Dr. Hawthorne’s efforts, the NFHF broke ground on the Ngoswani Community Health Center in April 2008.  The PCOMS has provided the NFHF with a $2,000 grant to purchase medical equipment for the clinic like stethoscopes, scales, and microscopes. 

Media Corner Spotlights Annual Meeting Coverage

July 20, 2009
Media highlights resulting from the AOA Annual Meeting continue to appear, specifically concerning one resolution related to video games. A writer with Kotaku.com, a popular blog devoted to video gaming news, interviewed Geraldine O’Shea, DO, Chair of the Bureau on Scientific Affairs and Public Health, regarding Res. 285, which states osteopathic physicians should consider recommending physically active video games as a component of a patient’s exercise program. In addition, Student Doctor Brian Fishman blogged about the AOA’s Annual House of Delegates Meeting, specifically focusing on the physically active video games resolution. His blog posting on DoctorFishypants.com, which offers a positive perspective on video games, also appeared on the video gaming Web site Gamespot.com.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 20, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA has prepared talking points on the "America’s Affordable Health Choices Act" (H.R. 3200)? Some of the topics included in this document detail what this legislation proposes to do to address deficiencies and concerns with Medicare and primary care. Read more online.

Health Policy Notes

July 20, 2009
The 7/19/09 Rasmussen Reports stated that 67% of voters nationwide believe that people who have chronic conditions like diabetes should not have to pay higher health insurance premium; only 18% of those surveyed think chronic disease sufferers should have to pay higher premiums.

The US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), on which AOA member Stanley E. Grogg, DO, represents the osteopathic medical profession, will hold an emergency off-cycle meeting on 7/29/09 to address the H1N1 “Swine Flu,” Google.com reported on 7/18/09.

At a National Governors Association meeting on 7/19/09, many Governors expressed concerns that health reform legislation being discussed in Congress would require them to implement new Medicaid requirements without giving them money to pay for it, according to the 7/19/09 New York Times.

Karen Nichols, DO, Elected AOA President-elect

July 19, 2009
To the tune of “Walkin’ on Sunshine,” AOA Trustee Karen J. Nichols, DO, was elected as President-elect of the American Osteopathic Association this morning in Chicago! President-elect Nichols is the Dean of the Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and has held countless leadership positions within the AOA, most recently as the Chair of the Medical Education Summit Progress Task Force and as Chair of the Council Palliative Care Issues. She is the first woman elected to this office in the history of the AOA! Congratulations President-elect Nichols!
President-elect Nichols

AOA Board Welcomes New Members

July 19, 2009
Following Dr. Nichols’ election, the House elected the 2009-2010 slate of AOA Trustees: Barbara E. Walker, DO, First Vice President; Joseph M. Yasso, DO, Second Vice President; Joseph A. Giaimo, DO, Third Vice President; and to three-year terms on the AOA Board of Trustees: John W. Becher, DO, John E. Bodell, DO, Carol L. Monson, DO, Ray E. Stowers, DO, and Norman E. Vinn, DO. Michael K. Murphy, DO, was elected to fill the 3-year position on the Board vacated by President-elect Nichols. Nicole Ottens, DO, was chosen as the Intern/Resident representative and Cory Maughan, OMS IV, is the new student representative. In addition, Carl M. Pesta, DO, was re-elected as Speaker of the House, and Ray L. Morrison, DO, was elected Vice-Speaker. Congratulations all!

House of Delegates Adjourns

July 19, 2009
The 2009 AOA House of Delegates formally adjourned today following final actions, elections, and awards. During today’s meeting, the House approved budgets for the AOA Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011, sanctioning our streamlined operations for the next two years, and approved changes to the AOA Reserve Requirement Policy, establishing a new requirement formula, drawdown limits, and guidelines for repayment. They also finished their work developing AOA policy, approving resolutions concerning immunization for health care workers, fluoridation, and vaccines, among other issues. AOA Vice Speaker of the House Robert Sieple, DO, who is retiring from his position this year, was honored for his many years of service to the AOA House of Delegates.

First 2009-2010 AOA Board of Trustees Meeting

July 19, 2009
The 2009-2010 AOA Board of Trustees convened for the first time this morning to conclude the 2009 AOA Annual Meeting in Chicago. Newly elected AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, welcomed the Board members to their new roles and responsibilities on this highest osteopathic elected body. Trustees honored Immediate Past President Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, presenting him with his official portrait. During this morning’s meeting, Trustees approved the 2009-2010 AOA Appointment Book and were briefed on their roles and responsibilities as “agents of change” for the AOA. The Board’s first official meeting, and Orientation and Training Session, will be held next month in Chicago.

AOIA Elects New Officers

July 19, 2009
The American Osteopathic Information Association (AOIA) Board of Director also met on yesterday during the AOA Annual Meeting. The 2008-2009 AOIA Board held its final meeting, after which the 2009-2010 Board convened, including new Board Members: AOA Past President George Thomas DO, and James M. Lally, DO, MMM; AOA Past President Marcelino Oliva, DO, was elected Chair; and I was elected President of the AOIA. This morning at the House of Delegates, the AOIA membership in attendance convened in accordance with their bylaws to elect AOA Trustee Ray E. Stowers, DO, as the fifth member of the Board. During the meeting and following the elections, AOIA Board Members acted to approve the AOA Audit Committee’s report and received a report on DO-Online usage. AOA Trustees Robert S. Juhasz, DO, and Thomas L. Ely, DO, also participated.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 19, 2009
Did you know…that President Wickless is an osteopathic physician through-and-through? In fact, he was born in Kirksville and spent the first 25 years of his life there. For more information on our newest osteopathic leader, read his full biography on DO-Online.

Health Policy Notes

July 19, 2009
The 7/17/09 CQ HealthBeat reported that both the US House Ways and Means and Education and Labor Committees have passed their portions of the Tri-Committee House health care reform bill, the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act” (HR 3200); the Energy and Commerce Committee’s vote is expected on 7/22/09

Health Affairs reported on 7/17/09 that the US lags behind many other industrialized nations in the population and performance of its health care system, blaming the decades-long decline in primary care; to resolve this, the nation should create a large-scale “charter for primary care.”

The 7/18/09 New York Times reported that the H1N1 “swine flu” virus is expected to return next year earlier than the flu season usually begins; officials expect eruptions of H1N1 infections as soon as schools open, rather than in October or November.

Larry A. Wickless, DO, Inaugurated as 113th AOA President!

July 18, 2009
Larry A. Wickless, DO, an osteopathic gastroenterologist from Farmington Hills, MI, was inaugurated today as the 113th President of the American Osteopathic Association! Dr. Oliveri, Dr. Wickless’ longtime friend and mentor, served as Master of Ceremonies for the Inauguration. Many of Dr. Wickless’ friends and family attended the Ceremony, as did many of the fellows who trained under him in gastroenterology at Botsford Hospital. AOA Trustee Robert S. Juhasz, DO, gave the invocation, after which a video montage in honor of President Wickless’ impact on the osteopathic medical profession. President Wickless then gave his Inaugural Address, which focused on “Managing Change” as America’s health care system enters an era of profound change and expected reform.

AOA House of Delegates Acts on Resolutions

July 18, 2009
Prior to the Inauguration, AOA President Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, and Speaker of the AOA House Carl M. Pesta, DO, presided over the 89th Annual Meeting of the AOA House of Delegates today in Chicago. House Reference Committees gave their reports and recommendations on 125+ resolutions that were before the House. The House acted on resolutions concerning diverse health care issues, including domestic violence, diversity in leadership positions, managed care plans, tobacco use, anthrax victims, women’s contraceptive coverage, Medicare physician payment, health insurance codes of conduct, electronic prescribing, raw milk, the Family Medical Leave Act, and graduate medical education, among many others. A resolution regarding the use of the term “doctor” by non-physician clinicians generated lengthy debate.

A.T. Still Memorial Lecture on the Osteopathic Tapestry

July 18, 2009
AOA Past President Eugene Oliveri, DO, gave the annual A.T. Still, MD, DO, Memorial Lecture today before the 500+ DOs participating in the AOA House of Delegates. During his address, Dr. Oliveri spoke about two main threads that together weave the osteopathic tapestry – the AOA and the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, which is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year. Although throughout our shared history there have been many different opinions – and one legal battle – we emerged together today as collaborative, mutually respectful organizations. Speaking of collaboration, Dr. Oliveri’s lecture was followed this afternoon by an address given by Martin Crane, MD, Chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards, who praised our joint efforts to assure the continued competence of licensed physicians.

Annual Meeting Attracts Media Attention

July 18, 2009
The AOA Annual Meeting has attracted media attention! Chicago Tribune reporters Bruce Japsen and Julie Deardorff, as well as Medical Economics senior editor Morgan Lewis, Jr., have requested information on the outcomes of a number of resolutions, including the resolution on physically active video games; Res. 289 on the health risks of raw milk; Res. 274 on routine opt-out HIV screening for women; Res. 298 on use of the term “doctor” (see item #2 above); and Res. 308 on modifications to the Family Medical Leave Act. Modern Healthcare reporter Andis Robeznieks has requested a transcript of Dr. Wickless’ inaugural address to post on the publication’s Web site, ModernHealthcare.com. We will monitor these media outlets and post links to the stories once they are published.

Staff Attends Women’s Health Summit

July 18, 2009
AOA staff on 7/16-17/09 participated in the US Department of Health and Human Services’ “Summit for Action: The Health of Women and Girls Beyond 2010.” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius commended the group's work in developing an action agenda to improve the health, wellness, and safety of women and girls in the US.  Priorities for action include addressing the impact of violence and poverty on women and girls across the lifespan; establishing research methods to achieve Healthy People 2020 goals; training an interdisciplinary workforce to meet health care needs; increasing financial literacy for all women and girls with specific focus on vulnerable women and girls; and using innovative and effective approaches to educate women and girls about mental health and the prevention and treatment options available to them. 
 

AOA Fact for the Day

July 18, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA House of Delegates moved into a new technological age this year, utilizing electronic voting mechanisms for the first time? As opposed to vocal voting, electronic voting gives AOA records an accurate count of votes cast and eliminates the need for physically counting each delegate to resolve close votes.

Health Policy Notes

July 18, 2009
A Congressional Budget Office report released late on 7/17/09 estimates the House Democrats’ health reform bill will add $239 billion to the federal deficit over the next ten years; however, this estimate includes $245 billion to fix the flawed Medicare physician payment system, which is not counted under Congressional rules regarding how legislation is funded. Thus, the CBO estimates the legislation will ultimately result in a $6 billion surplus, the 7/18/09 CQ HealthBeat reported.

The 7/17/09 USA Today reported that approximately 1 million recent college graduates will become uninsured this year after being dropped from their parents’ health insurance plans, according to a report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

US Representative Michael Burgess, MD, an obstetrician from Texas, stated that “Doctors are very individualistic. We all think we’re right,” the 7/12/09 New York Times reported. Looking at the many opinions expressed during today’s House meeting, perhaps Rep. Burgess is correct!

AOA House of Delegates Annual Meeting Begins

July 17, 2009
The 89th Annual Meeting of the AOA House of Delegates commenced today at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago. Almost 500 delegates from the AOA state associations and specialty societies assembled this morning to hear reports from AOA Departmental Chairs regarding upcoming changes to osteopathic publications; fiscal strategies to help mitigate the economic recession’s impact; great achievements in membership and market share; federal recognition of the AOA Clinical Assessment Program; and remarkable expansion of OGME training positions. AOA President Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, gave his farewell address this morning, stating that although his presidential days were long, the year went by in the blink of an eye. Following his remarks, I gave my annual report to the AOA House – A Year in Motion – reminding all DOs that the AOA will always be here for them. The House acknowledged the great work undertaken by the AOA staff on their behalf, joining all 150 AOA staff members in singing the “AOA Fight Song.” Advocates for the AOA President Linda Adams, DO, also provided remarks. Kathleen Creason, Executive Director of the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California, received the Prestigious “Bob E. Jones Award” for her outstanding work transforming the operations and management of the OPSC.

Osteopathic Leaders Awarded Presidential Citations

July 17, 2009
During the House Meeting this morning, President DiMarco bestowed three Presidential Citations upon distinguished members of the osteopathic medical profession. These high AOA honors were awarded to Alvin D. Dubin, DO, Chair of the AOA Bureau of Osteopathic Specialty Societies and longtime President and Executive Director of the American Osteopathic College of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; John M. Ferretti, DO, a leader of osteopathic medical education and founding faculty member of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine; and AOA Past President Joseph W. Stella, DO, whose service to the osteopathic profession dates back to WWII. Congratulations to all concerned for your great service to the profession.

Luncheon Honors Educational Leaders

July 17, 2009
All delegates were invited to attend a luncheon meeting today in honor of our departing President, Dr. DiMarco, his “Leading to Greatness: Initiatives in OGME, Research, and Advocacy” theme, and all osteopathic medical educators. I “emceed” the event, introducing President DiMarco, who gave remarks to thank the educators for their work in advancing his Presidential theme. Teresa Hubka, DO, President of the American Osteopathic Foundation, presented the AOF “Educator of the Year” Award to Paul A. Krueger, DO. AOA Trustee Karen J. Nichols, DO, awarded the Distinguished Service Award to George Caleel, DO. I also recognized all Directors of Medical Education, College of Osteopathic Medicine Deans, Chairs of AOA Educational Bodies, and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine for their efforts over the past year.

Reference Committees Provide Recommendations

July 17, 2009
After the Education Luncheon, AOA delegates attended one or more of the six reference committees to review and make recommendations on the 125 resolutions on which the full House of Delegates will vote tomorrow. The Joint Board/House Budget Review Committee held a meeting this afternoon in Chicago under the leadership of AOA Past President Philip L. Shettle, DO, Chair. Committee members unanimously approved all financial resolutions related to the proposed new AOA Reserve Requirement Policy, a cost-of-living AOA dues increase, and the AOA FY2010 and FY2011 budgets.

Health System Reform Legislation Details

July 17, 2009
Although it has its faults, the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act” (HR 3200), which was introduced in the US House of Representatives on 7/14/09, provides substantial funding for physicians at a time when most other providers, like hospitals, home health, pharmaceuticals, and durable medical equipment, are facing deep and permanent cuts. According to the Congressional Budget Office, HR 3200 allocates over one-fourth of its budget/$238.2 billion in additional spending to physicians: $228.5 billion to eliminate accumulated SGR cuts; $1.6 billion for the PQRI (positive incentives only); $1.3 billion to make the geographic floor on Medicare payment permanent; $5 billion for the primary care bonus; and $1.8 billion for medical home demonstrations. The AOA distributed a Grassroots Osteopathic Advocacy Link E-Alert today urging DOs to take action to support these positive elements and urge Representatives to clarify other sections of the legislation.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 17, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA belongs to AcademyHealth? This professional society fosters networking and growth among public policymakers, business decision makers, health services researchers, policy analysts, economists, sociologists, political scientists, and clinical students. It convenes national scientific and health policy conferences, manages major research programs, and advocates for health services research through its Coalition for Health Services Research.

Health Policy Notes

July 17, 2009
The 7/16/09 Wall Street Journal reported that a common practice in coronary bypass surgery involving extracting leg veins for grafts is more dangerous than the traditional method, according to a new study finding that the new method puts patients at a higher risk of death.

A Massachusetts Commission examining the state’s health reform program has recommended a radical restructuring of how doctors and hospitals are paid to save costs, moving away from “fee for service” towards global payments for maintaining care, the 7/17/09 New York Times reported.

The Chicago Tribune reported on 7/17/09 that almost 36% of Black Americans, over 29% of Hispanics, and 24% of Whites are obese, according to new statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

AOA Board of Trustees Meeting Concludes

July 16, 2009
The AOA Board of Trustees concluded its Annual Meeting today in Chicago, led by AOA President Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, and President-elect Larry A. Wickless, DO. During today’s meeting, the Board voted to approve resolutions on the AOA reserve fund requirement policy, alcohol abuse, unionization of physicians, the AOA Greatness Fund, promotion of the patient-centered medical home, “Good Medical Practice” tenets, OGME funding, and industry transparency standards, among many others. This morning, President DiMarco hosted a breakfast meeting honoring AOA Past Presidents, at which AOA Immediate Past President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, and President DiMarco were awarded medals inducting them into ranks of the AOA Great Pioneers. The Board of Trustees also honored and thanked three Board Members whose terms of service will end this year: Robert Sieple, DO, Vice Speaker of the House; Andrew Farber, DO, Intern/Resident Representative; and Capt. Johnny Dias, DO, student representative.
Dr. Sieple

Dr. Farber

Dr. Dias

State and Federal Advocacy Leaders Convene

July 16, 2009
After the Board Meeting concluded, the AOA Bureau of State Government Affairs (BSGA) convened under the leadership of AOA Trustee James J. Dearing, DO. During the meeting, Edward Langston, MD, the former Chair of the American Medical Association’s Board of Directors, gave a presentation on our joint efforts to ask the NBME to publicly clarify the differences between its physician and nursing licensure exams. BSGA members also received reports on scope of practice mis-advertising and misrepresentation by allied health professionals and how the osteopathic profession can capitalize on the retail clinic phenomenon. The AOA Bureau of Emerging States’ Concerns (BESC) also met, led by BESC Chair Boyd R. Buser, DO, AOA Trustee. This evening, the AOA will host a briefing on federal health system reform efforts to keep all osteopathic affiliates aware of this week’s major developments.

Business Affairs Committees Meet

July 16, 2009
In additional meeting news, the A.T. Still Foundation met this afternoon under the leadership of AOA Trustee Suzanne K. Kelley, DO, Chair, to discuss funding for osteopathic research, education, the AOA Clinical Assessment Program, and the Foundations III textbook. AOA Past President Howard M. Neer, DO, chaired meetings of the Council on Building, which reviewed fiscal year 2009 activities and income from the AOA Headquarters building at 142 East Ontario Street in Chicago, and the AOA Bureau of Insurance, which oversees insurance programs available for AOA members’ coverage needs (property & casualty; PLI, employment practices, worker’s compensation; medical, life & disability; and auto).

Preparations Underway for House of Delegates

July 16, 2009
AOA Delegates have begun arriving in Chicago in anticipation of the Annual Meeting of the AOA House of Delegates, which begins tomorrow. Those already in the “Windy City” were able to take advantage of Early Delegate Registration this afternoon. Speaker of the AOA House of Delegates Carl M. Pesta, DO, called a meeting of the AOA Committee on Rules and Order of Business to review Robert’s Rules and proper procedures for the House meeting. The Credentials Committee, led by Scott Cyrus, DO, Chair, also met to organize and prepare for their task of certifying delegates who serve in the AOA House.

Student, Intern, and Resident Meetings

July 16, 2009
Osteopathic medical student leaders are hard at work at the AOA Annual Meeting. The Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) continued its Board Meeting today at AOA Headquarters in Chicago. Many SOMA members joined fellow students from the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) at the annual Student Forum, which gives student and AOA leaders, including AOA Trustees Boyd W. Bowden II, DO, and Martin Levine, DO, an open forum to discuss issues of mutual concern. The AOA Council of Interns and Residents held a CIR Caucus today as well so that all interns and residents who serve in the AOA House of Delegates could meet to discuss their position on resolutions before the AOA House.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 16, 2009
Did you know…that my 7/14/09 report to the AOA Board of Trustees was recorded and has been posted on DO-Online? If you were not in attendance, visit DO-Online to hear about what the AOA accomplished this year on your behalf!

Health Policy Notes

July 16, 2009
A new study by the consulting firm Hewitt Associates estimates that HMO costs will rise by approximately 12% in 2010; other sectors of health care are predicted to have similar jumps in cost, according the to 7/16/09 Chicago Tribune.

HHS Secretary Sebelius released Nationwide Emergency Department Sample data on 7/15/09 showing that 20% of the 120 million emergency room visits in 2006 were made by uninsured Americans, the 7/15/09 CQ HealthBeat reported.

The US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions voted yesterday on health reform legislation, with the vote split 13-10 down party lines in favor of passing the bill, the 7/16/09 New York Times reported.

Board of Trustees Meeting Continues

July 15, 2009
The AOA Board of Trustees convened this morning in Executive Session under the leadership of AOA President Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, and President-elect Larry A. Wickless, DO. Meeting in Executive Session, the AOA Board discussed to improve work flow and product in the AOA House of Delegates meeting, which commences on 7/17/09, among other critical issues. Following this morning’s meeting, the Board broke into four reference committees to review and provide recommendations on the 35+ resolutions on which it will act tomorrow. This evening, the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians, which leases office space in the AOA headquarters, is hosting a reception in honor of the AOA Board and our close collaboration with them.

Affiliates Convene during AOA Annual Meeting

July 15, 2009
Teamwork abounds in Chicago this week, as many AOA affiliates have scheduled meetings in partnership with the AOA Annual Meeting. Leadership from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and the AOA held a joint meeting today to address issues of mutual concern, including improving OGME, increasing the future physician workforce, COM updates, and data sharing between our respective organizations, among others. The Association of Osteopathic State Executive Directors (AOSED) convened at AOA Headquarters in Chicago, as did the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA), which is led by A.J. Stefani, OMS IV. The Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) holds its National Osteopathic Student Caucus (NOSC) this evening, offering those students who could not travel to Chicago the opportunity to participate in the meeting online. Visit the COSGP Web site for more information.

President DiMarco Supports House Health Reform Bill

July 15, 2009
President DiMarco, following consultation with the AOA Board of Trustees, today wrote to the US House of Representatives’ Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor Committees to express the AOA’s support with caveats for their recently unveiled health system reform legislation, the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act” (H.R. 3200). We proposed several recommendations in accordance with AOA policy to improve the legislation that would improve physician payment structures, promote the patient-centered medical home, ensure coverage for all Americans, encourage the inclusion of medical liability costs, and expand the physician workforce. See the policy notes below for further information.

AOA Trustee Promotes Patient-Centered Care

July 15, 2009
AOA Trustee James J. Dearing, DO, was featured in a Physician’s Money Digest article about the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) and recent efforts to implement this revolutionary model of care. Dr. Dearing was interviewed about his experience in the patient-centered medical home pilot program in Arizona administered through UnitedHealthcare. The article also mentions the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, of which the AOA is one of the leading entities, and over two dozen PCMH pilot projects currently underway in the country. Read more online.

Media Articles Highlight DOs

July 15, 2009
In other media news, two recent articles featured DOs. The first is from CreditCards.com, a credit card industry news resource site. It features Alesia J. Wagner, DO, answering questions on how germs can be transmitted on different forms of currency including credit and debit cards. Read the article online. The second article, from the 7/12/09 USA Today, interviewed Scott Burger, DO, regarding his plans to franchise his urgent health care centers nationwide. The article is posted online.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 15, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA had its name officially changed to the “American Osteopathic Association” at an Annual Meeting in Kirksville in July 1901? With this change, the AOA transitioned from a student organization to the primary professional organization representing all osteopathic physicians.

Health Policy Notes

July 15, 2009
The House Democrats’ health system reform bill unveiled on 7/14/09 would levy a surtax on the 2 million richest American taxpayers in order to finance reform, taxing those who earn over $350,000 per year up to 5.4%, the 7/14/09 Washington Post reported.

The 7/10/09 CQ HealthBeat reported that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has added information on readmissions after treatment to its popular “Hospital Compare” Web site, giving consumers more information to judge a facility’s quality of care.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that President Obama’s pick for US Surgeon General, Regina Benjamin, MD, is expected to make increasing the primary care workforce a major focus of her work, particularly areas like increasing access in poor and rural communities.


AOA Annual Meeting Commences

July 14, 2009
AOA President Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, President-elect Larry A. Wickless, DO, and I opened the 2009 Annual Meeting of the AOA Board of Trustees today at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago. Each AOA Departmental Chair made a presentation to the Board regarding the activities undertaken in their departments, including health system reform advocacy, new processes to streamline program approval for ACGME trainees, upcoming changes to AOA publications, DO Day on Capitol Hill, and much more. Many AOA affiliated organizations also gave their reports to the AOA Board, including the Advocates for the AOA, the American Osteopathic Foundation, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP), the Association of Osteopathic State Executive Directors, the Association of Osteopathic Directors and Medical Educators (AODME), the Bureau of Hospitals, the Student Osteopathic Medical Association, the American Association of Osteopathic Examiners, and the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners. During today’s events, AOA Trustee Ron Burns, DO, made a special presentation of $25,000 to the AOA Greatness Fund, earmarked for OGME, on behalf of the Osteopathic Foundation of East Orlando. Thank you for your support!
Greatness Donation

AOA Governing Bodies Convene

July 14, 2009
Prior to the Board Meeting’s commencement, the AOA Presidents Advisory Council, composed of several AOA past presidents, met with President DiMarco and President-elect Wickless to guide and counsel AOA leaders as we prepare for our largest policy-making event of the year, the AOA House of Delegates meeting. The AOA Committee on Awards also convened under the leadership of its Chair, AOA Trustee Thomas Ely, DO, to review candidates for various AOA awards and to make recommendations for future A.T. Still, MD, DO, Memorial Lecturers. Speaking of awards, I recognized Leo Isen today during the AOA Board of Trustees meeting for his 47 years of service as the stenographer at AOA Annual Meetings and Conventions.
Leo Isen
In addition, Frederick Meoli, DO, who recently retired as President of the NBOME, was honored for his efforts to ensure greatness in osteopathic examinations and licensure.
Dr. Meoli

Affiliates Show Teamwork through Meetings in Chicago

July 14, 2009
In demonstration of the osteopathic spirit of teamwork, many AOA affiliates are also holding meetings in conjunction with the AOA Annual Meeting. The COSGP held a meeting today under the leadership of its Chair, Sonbol Shahid-Salles, OMS IV at the Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine, in preparation for its National Osteopathic Student Caucus, which will take place tomorrow in Chicago. AODME President Susan Zonia, DO, led an AODME Strategic Planning Session today at AOA Headquarters. In addition, the American College of Osteopathic Internists will host the AOA Board of Trustees at a collaborative working dinner this evening.

Advocacy Efforts Support Obesity Prevention

July 14, 2009
President DiMarco wrote to US Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) on 7/13/09 in support of the “Obesity, Prevention, Treatment, and Research Act of 2009” (S.1060). S.1060 seeks to develop a national strategy to reduce the incidence of adult and childhood overweight and obesity through a US Council on Overweight and Obesity Prevention, which would improve access to nutritional counseling, prevention services, and physical education programs for beneficiaries in federal programs. As President DiMarco stated, the AOA is “an active partner in organizations such as the Campaign to End Obesity and the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease [and] recognizes the need to address the problem of overweight and obesity in the US.”

Membership Report Shows Continuing Growth

July 14, 2009
The latest AOA membership and dues report was released on 7/10/09, showing that total AOA membership has reached 28,679 at this early stage in FY2010. This is an increase of 868 members since last week and of 1,267 over this time last year. This number represents 74.1% of our budgeted revenue and 40.4% of our potential market share of all DOs in America. We have also retained over 1,000 DOs who received a free gift membership last year as members this year, testifying to the great benefits and services provided by AOA membership.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 14, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA belongs to the Trust for America’s Health Working Group on Pandemic Flu Preparedness? This group meets periodically to share information about pandemic influenza and governmental pandemic preparedness initiatives. It also monitors Congressional and Administration efforts to provide adequate funding for pandemic influenza preparedness.

Health Policy Notes

July 14, 2009
The 7/13/09 CQ HealthBeat reported that the Minnesota pharmaceutical firm Humanetics Corp. has conducted a preliminary clinical trial of an Alzheimer’s Disease treatment that appears to be effective in slowing the progress of the disease, from which over 5 million Americans suffer.

A President’s Council of Economic Advisors study found that the health care sector is expected to create over 3.5 million new jobs by 2016, Health Leaders reported on 7/13/09. The report, Preparing the Workers of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow, is available online.

The Wall Street Journal reported on 7/13/09 that Michigan’s economic recession has impacted the health care sector; however, Andy Levin, Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, stated that “health care is the biggest job engine in our state.”

AOA Annual Meeting Commences in Chicago

July 13, 2009
The AOA Annual Meeting begins today in Chicago, where AOA President Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, and President-elect Larry A. Wickless, DO, are already hard at work as the full AOA Board of Trustees gathers prior to the commencement of the Annual Board Meeting tomorrow morning. The AOA Committee on Basic Documents and Operations of Affiliated Organizations convened today, led by its Chair, AOA Trustee William G. Silverman, DO, to review compliance with the AOA Healthy and Viable Affiliate Organizations Program and discuss the developing Principles of Affiliation document. The AOA Audit Committee held a meeting under the leadership of Philip L. Shettle, DO, to receive the outside auditor’s report. In addition the Committee on Administrative Personnel met under Dr. Shettle’s direction.

Finance Committee Approves FY2010 Budget

July 13, 2009
AOA Immediate Past President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, led a meeting of the AOA Finance Committee, of which he is Chair, today at the Fairmont Hotel. Committee members considered and approved the AOA’s draft budgets for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011, which are both balanced despite the impact of the economic recession. The Investment Committee made a presentation to the Finance Committee about strategies to improve AOA investment performance. Members also reviewed the AOA Reserve Requirement Policy and a cost-of-living dues increase, both of which will go before the House of Delegates this year. The AOA Board of Trustees and many Past Presidents participated in this meeting.

Trustees Convene Strategic Planning Meeting

July 13, 2009
AOA Trustee Mark A. Baker, DO, called a meeting of the AOA Strategic Planning Committee today in Chicago to continue its work developing the next AOA Strategic Plan. In pursuit of this goal, members heard an update from the Committee on Organizational Structure on efforts of the AOA bureaus, councils, and committees to streamline their governance and operations, including specific recommendations from the AOA Certification Fee Task Force and the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program. Committee members developed topic areas to examine in an environmental analysis report. The Committee will next meet at the Osteopathic Medical Exposition & Conference in New Orleans in October 2009.

President DiMarco Supports Men’s Health Office

July 13, 2009
President DiMarco today wrote to US Representative Baron Hill (D-IN) in support of the “Men and Families Health Care Act of 2009” (H.R.2115), legislation he introduced to establish an Office of Men's Health within the Department of Health and Human Services. As President DiMarco wrote, “There is evidence to show that men are less likely to visit a physician for regular check-ups or obtain preventive screening tests for early detection of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and other health issues. An Office of Men’s health would serve as an important addition to the work of the DHHS in educating the public about the health needs of men.”

AOA Promotes Disease Prevention in Health System Reform

July 13, 2009
The AOA and more than twenty-five members of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) sent a letter of support to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Ranking Member Michael Enzi (R-WY) thanking them for their efforts to address the burden of chronic disease in health care reform legislation. The "Affordable Health Choices Act" contains several provisions that invest in helping Americans better prevent, detect, and manage chronic illnesses. Read the letter here. Dr. Ajluni represents the AOA on the PFCD Advisory Committee.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 13, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA belongs to the US Chamber of Commerce? As an elite member of the US Chamber, the AOA has access to many of the Chamber’s resources, receives communications in the AOA’s areas of interest, and has opportunities to network on behalf of the profession.

Health Policy Notes

July 13, 2009
President Obama today announced that Regina Benjamin, MD, is his nominee to serve as the next US Surgeon General, the 7/13/09 Washington Post reported. Dr. Benjamin is a family physician from Alabama and the Immediate Past Chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards. Last month, she joined the AOA as an associate member.

Modern Healthcare reported on 7/9/09 that as many as 45,000 physicians nationwide may be eligible to receive $64,000 in Medicaid subsidy payments for implementing electronic medical records; the funds were designated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

A new report from the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) found that the US has made both advances and losses in terms of children’s health care: more children get their recommended vaccinations and have health insurance, but more also live in poverty this year, Health Day reported on 7/13/09.

Osteopathic Nominations to COGME

July 10, 2009
On 6/30/09, AOA President Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, nominated several osteopathic candidates to serve on the Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME). The AOA, in conjunction with the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), nominated Kenneth Veit, DO, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; D. Keith Watson, DO, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education at the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine; and Lindsay Reed Tjiattas-Saleski, DO, MBA, who is currently in a combined family practice/emergency medicine residency training program in Langhorne, PA, and participating in the Health Policy Fellowship program. In addition, the AOA and AACOM supported the American College of Emergency Physicians’ nomination of Douglas McGee, DO, Director of Medical Education and the Emergency Medicine Program Director at Albert Einstein Medical Center.

Past President Addresses Michigan Podiatrists

July 10, 2009
AOA Immediate Past President Peter B. Ajluni, DO, traveled in his home “Great Lakes State” today to attend the Michigan Podiatric Medical Association’s (MPMA) 2009 Summer Conference, which is taking place 7/9-12/09 in Bay Harbor. Dr. Ajluni served as the keynote speaker at the MPMA luncheon today, speaking about his AOA Presidential theme of “Fit for Life” and how our respective organizations can work together in pursuit of this goal. The AOA and the American Podiatric Medical Association have a long history of collaboration as well.

Major Victory in International Practice Rights

July 10, 2009
The AOA earned a victory this week for osteopathic physicians seeking to practice internationally. On 7/8/09, the AOA received a letter from the Medical University of Lublin, Poland, notifying us that they are ready to begin the process that would allow US-trained DOs to gain practice rights in the country. Although the process may last up to three months and requires much document submission, it is the first time an osteopathic physician has been able to obtain licensure and recognition in Poland. According to the AOA Bureau of International osteopathic Medical Education and Affairs, the AOA has now attained practice rights for US-trained DOs in over 45 nations.

Flash Reports on AOA Investments

July 10, 2009
The AOA has released our latest “flash” reports for the operating, ORDF and Dale Dodson Educational Fund (DDEF) investments during the first month of FY2010. In summary, operating investments decreased in value by $46,782 during June; their total market value was $16,144,396 as of 6/30/09. ORDF investments likewise decreased by $18,121 in June, resulting in a total market value of $5,085,554 as of 6/30/09. DDEF investments decreased in value by $2,000 last month, bringing their total market value to $884,483 as of 6/30/09.

AOA Family Member Supports Education Funding

July 10, 2009
Philip Pumerantz, PhD, President of the Western University of Health Sciences, home to the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, wrote an opinion piece that was published in the 7/7/09 Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. The article, “Students have options to pursue medical excellence,” speaks out against the California Legislative Assembly’s recent suggestion that the state eliminate support for all University of California professional schools. Although this measure aims to cut the State’s budget, Dr. Pumerantz describes the many unforeseen consequences of such a measure, including limiting the number of physicians who train in California and thereby threatening public heath in the state. Read the article online.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 10, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA sits on the Partnership for Prevention’s Health Professionals Roundtable on Preventive Services? This group seeks to improve health by preventing illness and injury and by promoting health. The roundtable’s mission is to help address the gap that exists between preventive services recommended by the US Preventive Services Task force and what the typical primary care patient receives.

Health Policy Notes

July 10, 2009
The 7/6/09 CQ HealthBeat reported that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced this week that government and community groups can apply for portions of a $40 million outreach grant to help increase enrollment in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Health Day News reported on 7/9/09 that mammograms have an “over-diagnosis” rate of 35%, meaning that about one-third of the cancers mammograms pick up are unlikely to ever become a problem, according to a new study published in BMJ.

A new Medicare analysis of 4,600 US hospitals reported in the 7/9/09 USA Today found that too many people die needlessly in them: in 5.9% of hospitals, pneumonia patients died at rates “significantly higher” than the national average, as did heart failure patients at 3.4% of hospitals.

President DiMarco Writes to RVUCOM Students

July 09, 2009
AOA President Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, wrote an open letter on 7/2/09 to osteopathic medical students at the Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM) to address their concerns about recent leadership changes at the school. Many students had signed a petition asking the AOA to monitor the situation and ensure that their medical education was not in jeopardy. Dr. DiMarco assured the RVUCOM students that the AOA holds all osteopathic medical schools to the highest standards, and at this time we have no reason to believe that RVUCOM does not meet them. Furthermore, we are committed to the future of every osteopathic medical student and promised to communicate with RVUCOM leaders and students regularly to assuage any concerns and create transparency in operations.

Congressional Testimony Draws Media Attention

July 09, 2009
As you know, President DiMarco testified before the House Small Business Committee hearing on physician workforce yesterday. Following the testimony, President DiMarco gave a brief interview to the local Erie, PA, affiliate station WJET. His remarks were also shared with a reporter from AAFP News Now. To further promote Dr. DiMarco’s advocacy, the AOA distributed a press release to the DC media circuit and shared photographs with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Read the press release here.

Watch President DiMarco’s Testimony on YouTube

July 09, 2009
Since most of us don’t get to attend Congressional Hearings, videos of Dr. DiMarco’s testimony before the House Small Business Committee have been posted on YouTube. Members of the AOA family can watch Dr. DiMarco give his testimony on YouTube. In addition to his official statement, Dr. DiMarco was called upon by various members of the Committee to share the AOA’s positions and policies on medical liability reform, graduate medical education and training slots, access to health care, and rationing of health care

DO Featured on Florida TV

July 09, 2009
In other media news, AOA member Robert George, DO, Chair of the AOA Bureau of Conventions, gave an interview to a Florida ABC 7 affiliate on 7/7/09 during the news broadcast’s “Health Smart” portion. During his interview, Dr. George explained the difference between MDs and DOs and the equivalent education, training, and practice rights both types of physicians have. He provided information about osteopathic postgraduate medical education in Florida through the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine – Bradenton and its affiliated hospitals. Watch Dr. George’s video online.

Obama Appoints New NIH Director

July 09, 2009
President Obama has nominated Francis Collins, MD, PhD, to be the new Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to press statements released on 7/8/09. Dr. Collins previously worked as a scientist, researcher, and administrator of the National Human Genome Research Institute and the Human Genome Project, where he made several landmark discoveries regarding disease genes. Dr. Collins’ nomination must be approved by the US Senate before it is final.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 09, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA belongs to the Rural Health Care Coalition? This is the working group for National Rural Health Association members with government relations offices in Washington, DC. The group promotes a variety of rural health issues, including physician payment, physician workforce, and access to care.

Health Policy Notes

July 09, 2009
The Washington Post reported on 6/30/09 that hospitals are seeking to cut operating costs by reducing the number of readmissions. Over 20% of Medicare hospital patients return to the hospital within 30 days, which costs Medicare between $12 and $15 billion every year.

In other hospital news, the 7/9/09 Chicago Tribune reported that the American Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, and Catholic Health Association have agreed to a decrease of $155 billion in Medicare payments over 10 years to help finance health system reform, provided the Obama Administration is successful in extending coverage to all Americans.

The 7/8/09 CQ HealthBeat reported that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the health care reform plan developed by Democrats in the US House of Representatives would achieve more than $500 billion in gross savings over 10 years, although additional spending could cut net savings to $152 billion.

President DiMarco Testifies before House Small Business Committee

July 08, 2009
AOA President Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, testified today before the US House of Representatives’ Small Business Committee to provide the osteopathic perspective on efforts to address physician workforce issues. As Regional Dean at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, President DiMarco spoke about the critical need to increase the number of practicing primary care physicians and general surgeons in the US. He also acknowledged the many challenges that prohibit osteopathic medical students from entering primary care, like disparate payment structures and administrative burdens. President DiMarco urged Congress to reform the Sustainable Growth Rate to ensure that physician payments are predictable and equitable, and create payment incentives for primary care fields. Read his full testimony by clicking this link. Below is a photo of Dr. DiMarco in the US Capitol.

DiMarco

Editor-In-Chief Announces Upcoming Changes

July 08, 2009
AOA Editor-In-Chief Gilbert D’Alonzo, DO, wrote an editorial in the June 2009 The DO magazine outlining upcoming changes to two AOA publications, The DO and JAOA – The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. This fall, after 50 years of print publication, The DO will re-launch as an online-only publication. This change will help the AOA “more quickly meet the needs of DOs and osteopathic medical students and to match their increasing sophistication with technology.” In addition, the JAOA will undergo restructuring changes to increase readership and content, pending approval of the AOA Board of Trustees and House of Delegates later this month. For more details on these exciting changes, read Dr. D’Alonzo’s editorial online.

Listen to AOA Town Hall Meeting Online

July 08, 2009
For those who missed it, the AOA held its first-ever virtual town hall meeting on 6/22/09. The meeting, which attracted over 500 participants, addressed Congress's plan for health system reform. President DiMarco’ Past President Marcelino Oliva, DO, Chair of the AOA Bureau on Federal Health Programs’ and I served as hosts of the hour-long interactive broadcast, during which we entertained questions from DOs throughout the US following an overview of several reform plans provided by Shawn Martin, Director of Government Relations from the AOA's DC office. If you were not able to participate, visit DO-Online to listen to a transcript of this great advocacy event.

North Carolina President Advocates for Osteopathic Awareness

July 08, 2009
On 7/3/09, AOA member Anthony Elkins, DO, President of the North Carolina Osteopathic Medical Association, wrote to Alexa Garcia-Ditta, a Charlotte Observer reporter, regarding her 6/30/09 article, “How to look for a surgeon.” Dr. Elkins addressed the article’s omission of osteopathic certification bodies when advising readers to check to see if their doctors are board-certified. He educated the reporter about the two types of fully licensed physicians in this country, MDs and DOs, and the clinical parity the two houses of medicine enjoy. Patients may use the “Find a DO” feature on Osteopathic.org to find a DO in their community.

AMSA Creates DO Advisory Board

July 08, 2009
In a victory for osteopathic medical students, the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) has created its first DO Advisory Board to increase the presence of DO-specific issues and programs in the organization. Last year AMSA unanimously supported a resolution to change the Visiting Student Application Service to provide equal access to osteopathic students. This was significant because it brought allopathic students together with osteopathic students in solidarity to say that all students, no matter their degree, should have equal access to education opportunities. The Board, chaired by Stephanie Betts, OMS-III at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, plans to expand osteopathic programming to educate pre-meds and allopathic students about the osteopathic profession. Contact osteopathic.ig@amsa.org if you would like to get involved with AMSA and its many osteopathic initiatives.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 08, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA belongs to the National Alliance for Autoimmune Awareness? This coalition organized by the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association links autoimmunity experts and key stakeholders, including autoimmune researchers, physicians, patient organizations, and government agencies, with others interested in autoimmune diseases.

Health Policy Notes

July 08, 2009
The CQ HealthBeat reported on 7/7/09 that the Senate Finance Committee is exploring alternative sources to finance health system reform after polls conducted this weekend show that 70% of Americans disapprove of taxing health care benefits.

An article in the 7/10/09 Medical Economics ranks Texas as the best place in America to practice medicine, citing the state’s 2003 tort reform law, low malpractice insurance costs, lack of state income tax, and low real estate costs as factors behind this rank.

The 7/8/09 Washington Post included an article summarizing many of the discussions around health care costs, limits on what we can pay, and the role of comparative effectiveness research in health care system reform. Read the article online.

AOA One-Pager Increases National Osteopathic Awareness

July 07, 2009
Advocacy on Capitol Hill is one of our best tools for achieving health system reform along osteopathic principles. In order to keep federal and state bodies up to date on what the AOA is and does, the AOA Department of Government Relations distributes an “AOA Advocacy 1-pager” on Capitol Hill, to state governments, and other interested parties. This 1-page handout provides a brief synopsis of osteopathic medicine and philosophy and demographic information about the osteopathic profession. Read the updated version of the AOA 1-pager here.

Osteopathic Physicians Increase Arizona Workforce

July 07, 2009
An Associated Press article published on 7/5/09 reported on how osteopathic graduates are helping to increase access to care in the “Grand Canyon State.” Arizona is home to two colleges of osteopathic medicine – the A.T. Still University, School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, and the Midwestern University/Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine. Currently, 11% of practicing physicians in Arizona are DOS; however, by 2012, “the state will graduate twice as many DOs than MDs.” The article also educates readers about the parity between the two houses of medicine and DOs’ full scope of practice, in addition to their traditional focus on primary care fields. William C. Inboden, DO, a family physician in Tucson, was quoted in the article, which is available online.

SOMA Awards First Prevention Scholarship

July 07, 2009
The Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA), in coordination with the Student Doctor Network, announced that Tamar Nazerian, OMS I at the Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (WesternU/COMP), has been selected as the winner of an annual scholarship in community and preventive medicine. The scholarship was launched earlier this year to provide support for students that plan to enter the field of community and preventive medicine. Prior to matriculating at WesternU/COMP, Student Dr. Nazerian completed a Masters in Public Health at the University of Southern California. A complete text of her application essay is available at www.studentdoctor.net.

Loan Repayment Opportunity for Students

July 07, 2009
Speaking of osteopathic medical students, the US Department of Health and Human Services has made available $200 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for student loan repayment to primary care medical, dental, and mental health clinicians that are interested in serving in the National Health Service Corps. Individuals would have a two-year service commitment with the Corps in exchange for loan repayment. These awards will be made to those that will serve in health centers, rural health clinics, and other health facilities that serve uninsured and underserved populations. Complete information on eligibility requirements and application materials can be found online.

New Stem Cell Guidelines Released

July 07, 2009
On 7/6/09 the National Institute of Health (NIH) announced new guidelines for using embryonic stem cells for research that would permit scientists to use older stem cell lines if they can prove that the embryos were derived in an ethical manner.  NIH will decide on a case-by-case basis whether the stem cells are eligible for federal funding.  The easing of restrictions on federally-funded embryonic stem cell research fulfills a promise made by President Obama during his campaign. In 2007, the AOA House of Delegates passed a resolution to support biomedical research on stem cells and continue to monitor developments in stem cell research and sources of stem cell funding.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 07, 2009
Did you know…that the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP) leases office space in the AOA Headquarters building? Jan Wachtler, ACOEP Executive Director, treated me to a tour of her newly revamped office space on Monday. As you can see from the photo below, their offices look great!

ACOEP

Health Policy Notes

July 07, 2009
The 7/6/09 Washington Post reported that over 350 former Congressional staff members have been hired by large insurers, hospitals, and medical groups as lobbyists for health system reform; the Post estimates that the health care industry currently spends more than $1.4 million per day on lobbying.

The New England Journal of Medicine has launched a new online resource that compiles information on health care system reform, including information on health care policy news, opinion pieces, and commentary from health care leaders.


USA Today on 7/2/09 reported that the percentage of Americans who have private health care insurance has hit its lowest level in 50 years: about 65% of Americans under age 65 had private insurance in 2008, down from 67% in 2007 and about 80% in the 1970s.

Membership Numbers Show Early Growth

July 06, 2009
AOA Trustee Martin S. Levine, DO, Chair of the AOA Department of Professional Affairs, has released the latest AOA membership reports, showing that, as of 7/2/09, the AOA has a total of 27,811 members. This number, an increase of 810 over last week and 1,081 more members than we had at this time last year, represents 72.0% of our budgeted dues revenue and 39.2% of our potential market share of all DOs. Demonstrating our success in providing excellent member services, 1,061 DOs who received free gift memberships last year have elected to remain AOA members this year.

AOA Annual Meeting Resolutions Posted

July 06, 2009
Resolutions that will be considered during the 2009 Annual Board of Trustees Meeting and House of Delegates are now available via DO-Online. The House will consider upwards of 100 resolutions, and the Board will act on over 30 resolutions. Osteopathic family members who will be participating in the Annual Meeting can familiarize themselves with the resolutions in advance.

Touch Points Keeps DOs Informed

July 06, 2009
On 7/1/09 the AOA distributed the July 2009 edition of Touch Points, our monthly electronic newsletter to all AOA family members. This month’s issue included articles on the AOA’s advocacy efforts to enhance physician payment in health system reform legislation, new CAQ examinations that will be available this fall, reminders to DOs to earn their CME hours before the end of the current three-year cycle, and plans for the AOA Annual Business Meeting & House of Delegates in Chicago next week. If you did not receive a copy of Touch Points, you can read a copy online.

COMs Mentioned in Media Story

July 06, 2009
Seven colleges of osteopathic medicine were among 23 schools mentioned in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article covering an American Medical Student Association/Pew Prescription Project survey on conflict-of-interest rules. The article discussed US Senator Charles Grassley’s (R-IA) efforts to contact the 23 schools who did not respond to the survey in order to compile complete information on medical colleges’ conflicts-of-interest policies. In other COM news, the Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific held groundbreaking ceremonies on 6/23/09 for its Northwest Academic Center on the Samaritan Health Sciences Campus in Lebanon, OR.

Media Corner Highlights DO Interview

July 06, 2009
Dr. DeLorenzo

AOA member Antony DeLorenzo, DO, the Immediate Past President of the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society (IOMS), was interviewed by Chicago's ABC affiliate news on 6/30/09. In the interview, Dr. DeLorenzo discusses how patients can take control over their own health, in partnership with their physicians, using tools like the LifeMine Personal Health Organizer, which he created. During the interview, Dr. DeLorenzo advises patients to use tools like LifeMine to organize their health information, track their health history, and become stewards of their own health. Watch the interview online.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 06, 2009
Did you know…that the 2010 Unified Osteopathic Convention is themed “A Bridge to OpportUNITY”? This great event is scheduled to take place in San Francisco, CA, in Fall 2010. I hope to see you all there!

Health Policy Notes

July 06, 2009
The Wall Street Journal reported on 6/25/09 that large health insurers across the country rely on faulty databases to underpay claims and fail to provide accurate information to consumers on how they calculate charges for out-of-network care.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated on 6/26/09 that the Obama Administration may consider a national insurance co-operative as part of health system reform legislation, but it would not support state-based co-operatives, according to the 6/26/09 CQ HealthBeat.

The 7/1/09 New York Times reported that three-quarters of people forced into bankruptcy by overwhelming medical care costs had health insurance when they got sick or were injured; limitations or restrictions on insurance coverage were often to blame.

AOA Observance of Independence Day 2009

July 02, 2009
In observance of America’s Independence Day, AOA offices will be closed on Friday, July 3. We will re-open at regular business hours on Monday, July 6. I wish every member of the osteopathic family a safe, celebratory holiday weekend in honor of America’s brave struggle for independence and the resounding freedom we enjoy today.

Medicare Rewards Physicians!

July 02, 2009
In a major victory for physician payment reform, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as part of its 2010 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule, announced on 7/1/09 that it has removed the costs of physician-administered drugs from the Medicare physician payment formula. The AOA has recommended this course of action since 2002. This is a major policy achievement and signals the Obama Administration’s commitment to enacting long-term physician payment formula reforms. See also the policy notes below for another potential payment victory!

Advocacy Results in Osteopathic Awareness

July 02, 2009
Another advocacy victory occurred this week regarding a May Consumer Reports article about lower-back pain that did not mention DOs or osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) as an option for care. In response to letters from the AOA and other supporters of osteopathic medicine, the magazine has added a section on osteopathic medicine to its health Web site, ConsumerReportsHealth.org. The magazine also now provides information about OMT on the site's hands-on care page (available to subscribers only). In addition, a blog post dated June 29 mentions how the magazine received compelling letters from osteopathic family members regarding the use of OMT after the article was published. Thank you all for your help in expanding osteopathic recognition and public awareness! 

JAOA Study Examines Personality Types

July 02, 2009
Personality types have been reported to affect performance among allopathic medical students and dental students on standardized examinations, according to a study published in the June 2009 issue of JAOA—The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. Lead study author Donald J. Sefcik, DO, MBA, and coauthors explore the relationship of personality types and COMLEX-USA Level 1 scores among osteopathic medical students, ultimately suggesting that personality profiling may help improve academic performance. Read more about this study on the JAOA Web site.

DOs Recognized for Outstanding Contributions

July 02, 2009
AOA member Paul Ehrmann, DO, attracted media attention recently after his children's health program received an award from the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. Crain’s Detroit Business published an article on 5/31/09 regarding Dr. Ehrmann’s Children's Health Initiative Program, extolling the program for providing information and resources on good nutrition, effective physical education, and positive lifestyle modification for elementary school children ages 8-12 and their parents. In other great DO news, Mark R. Henschke, DO, PharmD, MMM, was selected by the Consumers’ Research Council of America as one of “America’s Top Physicians.” Dr. Henschke is being listed in the “Guide to America’s Top Physicians” 2009 Edition, along with many other DOs. Look up your colleagues online.

New Study Examines America’s Obesity Epidemic

July 02, 2009
This morning, the Trust for America's Health, of which the AOA is a member, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will release the sixth annual edition of "F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009."  According to the report, adult obesity rates increased in 23 states and did not decrease in any state in the past year.  The percentage of obese and overweight children is at or above 30% in 30 states.  For the fifth year in a row, Mississippi had the highest rate of adult obesity (32.5%); Colorado had the lowest rate (18.9%).  The full report contains rankings of state obesity rates for adults and children and a review of federal and state policies to help reduce or prevent obesity.  Note: The report is available online at http://www.healthyamericans.org and http://www.rwjf.org
 

AOA Fact for the Day

July 02, 2009
Did you know…that using plants in medical practice dates back at least to AD 50, when the Roman Doctor Pedanuis Dioscordis wrote De Materia Medica? This early medical guide became the basis for using plants and herbs as medicines, a practice which is still around today.

Health Policy Notes

July 02, 2009
The 6/29/09 Chicago Tribune reported that the nation’s primary care physician shortage likely will worsen if more people are insured; to meet expected demand in 2020, the US will need 40,000 more family physicians, which is a 39% increase over the number we had in 2006.

Health Leaders reported on 7/1/09 that CMS has proposed a change to its 2010 Physician Fee Schedule that would lower many radiology service reimbursements by up to 30%, using some of the money saved through this reduction to increase primary care reimbursements by 8%.

Wal-Mart announced on 6/30/09 that it has joined forces with the Service Employees International Union, which represents 2 million employees, to support a the idea of mandating large employers to provide health insurance to their workers, according to the 7/1/09 New York Times.

Leaders Address Health System Reform

July 01, 2009
The AOA Bureau on Federal Health Programs (BOFHP) and the Joint Committee on Quality and Reimbursement (JCQR) convened a joint conference call last evening under the leadership of AOA past President Marcelino Oliva, DO, BOFHP Chair, and AOA Trustee Ray E. Stowers, DO, JCQR Chair. This meeting was called to develop a response to the US House of Representatives’ Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor Committees’ Tri-Committee Reform Discussion Draft of health care reform legislation. In addition, the AOA Certification Fee Task Force also held a teleconference on 6/30/09, led by its Chair, AOA Trustee Robert S. Juhasz, DO, to discuss their presentation to the AOA House of Delegates later this month.

Collaboration on Patient Centered Medical Home

July 01, 2009
I concluded my visit in our Nation’s Capital today at the AOA Department of Government Relations offices, meeting with executive staff of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC). Our respective organizations met to discuss strategic planning issues and tactics to promote the patient centered medical home model for care in all health system reform proposals. Strategic pathways to help accomplish this goal and governance issues were also discussed and agendas for upcoming PCPCC Board, Key Stakeholders, and Consumer Advocacy Group meetings, all taking place later this month, were also finalized.

Outreach Tool for DO Media Advocates

July 01, 2009
The AOA’s July 2009 Health for the Whole Family (HFWF) article, “Eye Strain at Work: See the Signs,” is now available for download on the AOA Daily Reports Blog. This article, which was developed with input from Lee Shettle, DO, an osteopathic ophthalmologist in Largo, FL, educates patients on how to recognize, prevent, and ease computer eye strain. To sign up for the Health for the Whole Family series and receive customizable versions of health articles like this one to send to your local papers or place in practice newsletters and patient reception areas, email pr@osteopathic.org.

GOAL Urges DOs to Take Action Today

July 01, 2009
The AOA Grassroots Osteopathic Advocacy Link (GOAL) distributed an Advocacy Action Alert on 6/30/09 urging DOs to tell the FDA not to interfere with doctors’ medical practices. This Alert responds to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent considerations of Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) for certain opioid drugs, which could potentially restrict the use of these drugs, used to manage pain. The AOA is concerned about the detrimental impact such a policy could have on the quality of patient care and believes that pain management prescribing should be the province of the patient-physician relationship, not the FDA. To contact the FDA about this issue, click this link.

AOF Weathers Economic Recession

July 01, 2009
The American Osteopathic Foundation (AOF) has released financial statements for the twelve-month fiscal period ending 5/31/09. During FY 2009, the AOF total cash and investments of $8,504,017 decreased by $3,012,186, while net assets of $8,816,494 decreased by $3,138,478. These losses result from the economic recession, but were mitigated by the AOF’s fiscal governance policies. During FY 2009, the S&P was down 32.57% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 30.45%. The market value of the Foundation’s investments as of 5/31/09 was $8,058,901, a one-month increase of 6.87% or $518,190 since 4/30/09.

AOA Fact for the Day

July 01, 2009
Did you know…that the AOA belongs to the National Quality Forum? This membership association was established to develop and implement a national strategy for health care quality measurement and reporting. Since health care quality has a significant impact on patient outcomes, workforce productivity, and health care costs, NQF was created as a mechanism to bring about national change.

Health Policy Notes

July 01, 2009
The Institutes of Medicine released its recommended national priorities for comparative effectiveness research (CER) funds on 6/30/09; the “List of 100 Initial Topics” and the “CER Report” are both posted online at the above links.

The US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee continues to mark-up health care reform legislation, recently focusing on preventive care strategies to lower obesity rates, reduce risk factors, and keep Americans out of hospitals, the 6/23/09 CQ HealthBeat reported.

The 6/25/09 Miami Herald reported that 90% of 1,000 community hospitals surveyed in March 2009 by the American Hospital Association have reduced their budgets to stay solvent during the economic recession, including freezing salaries, cancelling construction projects, and delaying purchasing new equipment.