Jun 20 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: Verbal abuse among nurses, deinstitutionalization, prenatal genetic testing, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:

Nearly half of newly licensed registered nurses have been verbally abused by colleagues, according to a study by the RWJF-funded RN Work Project. Those who reported being verbally abused had lower job satisfaction and unfavorable perceptions of their work environment, and were more likely to say they intended to leave their jobs within the next year. Nurse.com and the News Press report on the findings. Read more about the study.

Amy Dockser Marcus, AB, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research and award-winning journalist for her coverage of cancer, wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal about long-term health effects for adult survivors of childhood cancer. Research shows that more than 95 percent of adult survivors suffer from a chronic health condition by the age of 45, the story reports.

Harold Pollack, PhD, MPP, wrote a piece for the Washington Post Wonkblog about the successes and failures of deinstutionalization. On the whole, he writes, moving individuals with disabilities out of large institutions into family- or community-based settings improved the lives of millions of Americans living with intellectual and developmental disabilities, like his brother-in-law. However, it was much less successful for Americans suffering from severe mental illness. Pollack is a recipient of an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, and an alumnus of the RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research program.

A Chicago Magazine story cites a book by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus Patrick Sharkey, PhD, that argues that racial inequality in employment and economic status is a function of the rigid segregation of urban neighborhoods over several decades.

“Dozens of the nurses have completed their advanced degrees and are ready to begin teaching throughout the state,” the Times of Trenton writes in an editorial about graduates of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative. “Their success, however, is much more than a matter of personal fulfillment. Chances are it will have an impact on your well-being… The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the state’s Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Legislature are to be commended for proactive planning anda successful strategy for an invaluable investment in New Jersey’s health.” The Times of Trenton also profiled two of the recent graduates. Read more about some the New Jersey Nursing Scholars who recently graduated.

Investigator Award recipient Alexandra Minna Stern, PhD, co-authored an editorial in the Wall Street Journal [subscription required] about prenatal genetic testing. “Like so many other powerful technologies, fetal gene tests must be used with caution and care,” Stern and Marcy Darnovsky, PhD, write. “Exactly what that entails is a concern not simply for medical professionals, or for people with Down syndrome and their advocates, or for companies marketing [noninvasive prenatal tests]. This portentous development in prenatal testing also raises thorny ethical problems for parents-to-be—and for everyone who cares about how we collectively understand what it means to be ‘healthy’ and who counts as ‘normal.’”

In a Washington Post opinion article, RWJF Clinical Scholar Roberta Capp, MD, writes about her personal experience with Medicaid patients who face long waits and other barriers to see primary care providers, often driving them to emergency departments instead. With an impending expansion of the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, Capp writes, “[H]aving insurance does not guarantee access to health care. Policymakers need to explore and reduce the barriers Medicaid patients face as millions join an already overburdened system.”

“The problem facing health care today isn't that we need more doctors. The problem is that we still get care the old-fashioned way, which makes it appear that we need more doctors,” Clinical Scholars alumnus Elliot Fisher, MD, MPH, writes in the Wall Street Journal [subscription required]. Rather than adding more physicians to the health care system, we should make use of team-based approaches that leverage other health care professionals and technology to improve the effectiveness of our current physician workforce and improve care for patients, he argues. Watch a video interview with Fisher about accountable care organizations.

Modern Healthcare reports on a study led by Clinical Scholar Kelly Kyanko, MD, that finds about 3 million patients in the U.S. are hit with unexpected out-of-network charges. About 8 percent of patients currently go out of network for care, the study finds, and 40 percent of those are involuntary. The Democrat and Chronicle All About Health blog also reported on the findings.

Tags: Research, Medical, dental and nursing workforce, Nurses, Work environment, Developmental disabilities, Disabilities, Genetics, Prenatal and neonatal care, Human Capital, Human Capital News, Media Coverage, Publications, Research & Analysis, Nursing, RN Work Project, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Scholars in Health Policy Research, Health & Society Scholars, New Jersey Nursing Initiative, Clinical Scholars