ONS Celebrates Society for Women’s Health Research

ONS joined hundreds of other advocates on May 4, 2016, in Washington, DC, to celebrate the Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR) 26th annual gala, "Revolutionizing Health Care and Research Through Data." 

Several expert speakers championed SWHR's role as a leader in driving the conversation about women's health and the need for more research through precision medicine and clinical trials. Kavita Patel, MD, MD, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former White House director of policy, moderated a panel that included a patient advocate; a corporate director; Jennie Larkin, PhD, senior advisor for Extramural Programs and Strategic Planning at the National Institute of Health; and Robert Califf, MD, MACC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner. The discussion pushed the boundaries on why electronic health records are not better, stronger, and faster for providers and patients. The group had more questions than answers, but all agreed that progress is forcing a change in the delivery system at remarkable rate.

For more than 20 years, SWHR has been at the forefront of health care and research to improve patient care. Before the term "personalized medicine" was used, SWHR focused on supporting dedicated emphasis and federally funded research investment into identifying the right treatment for women. As health care continues to evolve, integrating an ever-adapting technology world into treatment, care, and cures is essential. Big data, coordinated-care, and patient-centered care is where SWHR says it sees the future.

Obama Administration to Reconsider New Medicare Part B Proposal 

In March 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a new adjustment to Medicare Part B that would examine the way physicians prescribe medications to patients. Under the proposed change, physicians would be compensated at an add-on flat-fee of $16.80 per drug, per day, plus 2.5% for the drugs they prescribed. This is different from the average drug price plus 6% add-on that CMS currently reimburses. The proposal suggested that the current model gives physicians incentive to prescribe higher priced drugs to receive a more substantial reimbursement. 

Concerns among the healthcare community arose from this new proposal, along with objections from both Republican and Democratic party representatives. CMS had provided the opportunity for institutions to submit comments by Monday, May 9, 2016. ONS voiced its concerns over the possible changes to Medicare Part B.  

FDA Launches Educational Campaign to Address Smoking in LGBT Community 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) young adults, which represent nearly 2 million people aged 18–24, are nearly twice as likely to use tobacco products as other young adults. To address the use and dangers of tobacco in this population, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched a new education movement geared toward the LGBT community. 

The educational campaign, “This Free Life,” focuses on the negative health consequences of smoking, the dangerous mixture of chemicals found in tobacco smoke, and that a tobacco-free lifestyle aligns with the ideals of the LGBT community. ONS has recognized the dangers of smoking and notes that tobacco use is one of the most preventable behaviors in the fight against cancer.