Author Archives: mfreeman

Latest Charting Nursing's Future Brief Focuses on IOM's Recommendations for Nurses' Educational Progression

Sep 14, 2011, 3:15 PM, Posted by mfreeman

Following up on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s landmark Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report, the latest edition of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Charting Nursing’s Future series focuses on increasing the formal education of the nation’s nursing workforce. Perhaps most notably, the report calls for greater emphasis on bachelor’s and doctoral degrees, and sets specific targets to be achieved by 2020. Among those targets: increasing the share of the nursing workforce with a bachelor’s or higher degree to 80 percent, and doubling the current percentage of nurses with doctoral degrees.

As the new Charting Nursing’s Future brief observes, these goals “will require fundamental changes: new competency-based curricula; seamless educational progression; more funding for accelerated programs, educational capacity building, and student diversity; and stronger employer incentives to spur progression.” The publication covers each of these topics in detail, discussing key challenges and solutions, and offering success stories from programs already in place.

The issue is the first of four that will focus on implementing Future of Nursing recommendations.

To subscribe to free delivery of future editions to your email inbox, visit An archive of past editions is available here.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.

Are Budget Cuts Endangering Physician Training?

Jul 13, 2011, 6:00 PM, Posted by mfreeman

One of the great challenges of implementing health reform is training a health care workforce that is well-prepared to meet the needs of the estimated 30 million Americans who will soon be added to the rolls of the insured. To help with that, Medicare subsidizes academic medical centers and teaching hospitals for a portion of the costs of training new doctors.

The nation’s current deficit woes are jeopardizing that funding, according to Herbert Pardes, M.D., former director of the National Institute of Mental Health and now president and CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and Edward D. Miller, M.D., dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. They write in an op-ed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal,

Seeking to reduce the federal budget, Democratic and Republican lawmakers are looking at cutting funds for graduate medical education. Specifically, they're considering reducing the Medicare reimbursement for doctor training, possibly in half, to cut about $4 billion from the federal budget. This could dramatically limit the ability of patients to see physicians, even for critical illnesses….

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GAO Report: Medicaid and CHIP Children Have Harder Time Finding Specialty Care

Jul 8, 2011, 11:15 AM, Posted by mfreeman

A newly released study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have a much harder time obtaining care from medical specialists than do children who are privately insured.

The GAO based its conclusions on its 2010 survey of physicians. Its key findings:

  • “More than three-quarters of primary and specialty care physicians are enrolled as Medicaid and CHIP providers and serving children in those programs.”
  • “A larger share of primary care physicians (83 percent) are participating in the programs—enrolled as a provider and serving Medicaid and CHIP children—than specialty physicians (71 percent).”

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Risa Lavizzo-Mourey's 2011 President's Message

Jul 6, 2011, 12:23 PM, Posted by mfreeman

A doctor in the desert. A scientist in outer space. A dentist in the Arctic delivering care on cross-country skis. And a family doctor who's taken to city streets with a radical new way to help the sick get well and cut costs at the same time. These are among the inspiring women and men leading what Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., calls a “quiet revolution in health and health care.”

In her 2011 President’s Message, released late last week, Lavizzo-Mourey notes that “Americans are approaching what’s being called our ‘coming age of permanent austerity.’ Serious economies, some severe, are likely, triggering long-term and significant changes in our daily lives. At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the expectation and proactive design of change, powered by remarkable people and ideas, is the fundamental currency of our philanthropy…. It’s all about the power of people and ideas.”

In her message, available online, Lavizzo-Mourey shares stories from across the United States, including one about the work of Sanjeev Arora, M.D., a University of New Mexico specialist in liver diseases. Arora’s “Project ECHO” is changing the lives of residents of isolated, rural communities by linking local family physicians together with specialists in virtual “tele-clinics,” forming what Arora calls a “knowledge network.” Says Lavizzo-Mourey of the RWJF-funded effort: “ECHO is an extraordinarily potent global model for the delivery of better, cheaper care to vulnerable and underserved rural and urban populations.”

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