Tag Archives: primary care

Stalemate or Innovate: What Will the Future of Federal Legislation Bring?

Hope Wittenberg

Hope Wittenberg, MA
Director, Government Relations

This past session of Congress was frustrating. Seemingly no movement was made on spending levels for health programs, GME reform, and on broader national issues such as gun control or immigration reform. Brinksmanship over the national debt led to a 16-day government shutdown that cost the government money.

In the aftermath of the shutdown, however, key lawmakers sat down and worked out a budget.

This budget set the overall spending levels for the Fiscal Year 2014 (Oct 1, 2013–Sept 30, 2014) enabling the appropriations committees, which are in charge of discretionary spending, to move forward and craft a spending bill. When Congress returned in January from their winter recess, appropriators were hard at work on the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, which culminated in some success for some of our key health programs.

Historically, both AHRQ and Title VII primary care programs have limited support in the House. Both programs have been zeroed out in the House version of the spending bill in recent years.

However, the spending bill kept them intact, with Title VII primary care support growing to $39.6 million (only a 1% increase). Unfortunately, the current amount of Title VII funding, while enough to fund continuing grants, isn’t large enough to allow for a competitive cycle again this year. AHRQ’s total spending, including trust fund transfers, grew to $471 million (9% increase). AHRQ’s increase was mainly due to expanded funding from the Patient-Centered Outcome Research Trust Fund as mandated in the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading

Is It OK if Our Residency Graduates Work for Walmart?

Joseph Scherger, MD, MPH

Joseph Scherger, MD, MPH

I attended a health care forecast conference recently and learned a sobering new reality. In the near future, Americans will be getting their primary care services in many different locations.

Walmart has announced that it soon will be offering comprehensive primary care in many of its stores. Walgreens, already the largest provider of immunizations outside the government, will expand its Take Care clinics and manage four common chronic diseases: diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and asthma. A longtime colleague and family medicine educator recently went to work for Kroger’s new clinic system, The Little Clinic. Large employers are setting up workplace clinics to provide common health services while keeping their employees on the job.

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I Have a Confession

Cheryl Seymour, MD

Seymour, MD

WomenInFMThis is the fourth in a work/life balance series written by members of the STFM Group on Women in Family Medicine.

The ACGME Draft Program Requirements for GME in Family Medicine include a requirement that all core faculty work full time. Please consider the implications of this requirement for your program now and in the future as you read this post.

So I have a confession… I really do want it all.

Doesn’t everyone?

I want to practice full spectrum family medicine: deliver babies, round on the floors and in the ICU, care for families in the clinic, nursing home, and at home and I want to teach residents and students, have a vibrant academic career, serve as an advocate for the health of my community and I want to be an engaged and loving parent and spouse.

Is this possible?

My mentors and heroes are physicians who have delivered three generations of babies, attend funerals as a matter of course, and have literally spent thousands of hours listening to residents’ H&Ps in the middle of the night. They have served the same community for decades and are still going strong, taking call without complaint, into their sixth and seventh decades.

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