Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What Happens When We're in Class All Day

Lauren Gluck here, your friendly neighborhood VP of Policy & Legislation. It can be hard to stay updated on all the goings-on of health news and policy, so I'm going to try to bring it to you. I'll take five of the most relevant and interesting stories/articles/websites and break them down into need-to-know information. As always, if you have any questions or comments, e-mail me at

1. The brainchild of the ACP, AMA, AAFP, AAP, and many others, this website is a fairly user-friendly guide to decoding what the Affordable Care Act means to you, broken down by state, age group, etc. Take a look at the "timeline" header for a year-to-year evaluation of how ACA will affect >65, <65, physicians, and small business owners.

2. AMA promotes Graduate Medical Education funding: Remember how the MSSNY-MSS called for advocacy to increase residency/GME spots and funding? The AMA is doing just that! This article says, "To ensure an adequate physician workforce and better access to care, proper GME funding is a must." Some of AMA's solutions include: expand GME programs geographically to areas in need; extend GME to include non-hospital training sites, like outpatient settings, nursing homes, and community health centers; and create an all-payer GME system that includes federal and/or state mandates.

3. New ACGME resident duty hour standards: As of July 1 2011, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education will enact new rules for how long residents can work. Some of the updates include: 16-hr (PGY1) and 24-hr (PGY2+) max within 80-hr workweek, one-day-off-in-seven standard, direct supervision for interns (they'll never be the only doctor on their service), and maximum 6 consecutive nights of night float. (Here's a link to all the rules, plus specific rules by specialty program.) How do you feel about this? Take a quick survey from the Eastern Virginia Medical School Dept. of Surgery to voice your opinion as a medical student!

4. How Can I Help Patients Change Unhealthy Behaviors?: Here's an issue I've encountered a lot in preceptor, and I'm sure I'm not alone. This article focuses on Collaboration, Autonomy, and Education to help patients adopt healthier habits. The author tells us to: 1) Resist the "righting reflex" -- you know, when you think explaining the medicine behind, say, smoking, will magically help your patient quit, but often makes the patient resist the change; 2) Understand the patient's motivations; 3) Listen to the patient; and 4) Empower the patient. Easy enough, right? Well… We'll get there.

5. The AMA-MSS Annual Meeting is coming up from June 15-18 in Chicago. It's a great opportunity to meet medical students from all over the country and to learn about issues important to us as medical students and future physicians. Scheduled events include: 3 days of educational programs on a wide range of topics; policy-making sessions; a medical specialty showcase; leadership elections; and an AMA National Service Project event. Interested in attending? Register (free!) here. A few of us from the UB AMA-MSS Executive Board will be going, so you won't be alone!

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