Urge Your Member of Congress to Co-Sponsor the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act
March is National Nutrition Month and, as part of the Endocrine Society’s centennial celebration, we are using this month to raise awareness of how hormones influence obesity. Currently, we are working with Congress on bipartisan legislation known as The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (H.R. 2404/S. 1509) and we need your help in encouraging your Members of Congress to co-sponsor this legislation. Please click here to join the Endocrine Society’s campaign.
If passed, this legislation would:
Expand the Medicare benefit for intensive behavioral counseling by allowing additional types of health care providers to offer this service.
Provide coverage of prescription drugs under Medicare Part D for chronic weight management to individuals who are obese or overweight with one more co-morbidities.
Take Action:Joining our campaign is quick and easy. Our new online campaign will provide you with a drafted letter and will send it to your Congressional delegation for you.
Society Members Meet with European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety; Provide Scientific Expertise to Inform EDC Regulations
On February 29, Endocrine Society met with policymakers in the European Union to provide scientific expertise, comments, and concerns regarding the European Commission process to develop criteria to identify EDCs.
Society members Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, MD; Rémy Slama, PhD; and Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP met with Vytenis Andriukaitis, MD, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety; Christel Schaldemose, Member of the European Parliament; and staff from the Directorate-General for the Environment. During the meetings, they shared highlights from the Endocrine Society’s new Scientific Statement demonstrating that EDCs are an important public health threat. They shared the Society’s position that governments need to design effective regulations to protect vulnerable populations from irreversible effects due to EDC exposures. They also emphasized the significant costs of inaction, inadequate action, or improper regulation of EDCs. Recent studies published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolismhave shown that health effects from EDC exposure cost the EU more than €157 billion each year.
Currently, the European Commission is carrying out an impact assessment to compare different options for defining criteria for the identification of endocrine disruptors. The assessment will evaluate four potential options. The assessment and development of criteria for EDC identification is managed by the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, led by Commissioner Andriukaitis. The Endocrine Society has consistently argued that the current regulatory apparatus is insufficient for the protection of human health from harms due to EDC exposures, and the Society maintains that the most appropriate approach for establishing criteria to define EDCs includes multi-level categorization based on level of evidence and does not include potency as a criterion. The Endocrine Society will continue to contribute scientific expertise to the EU’s efforts to ensure that the end result of EDC identification and subsequent regulatory process will effectively protect the public’s health. Additional information about EDCs is available at press.endocrine.org/edc.
Society Meets with New Diabetes Caucus Leadership, Honors Representative Whitfield
On March 1, the Society joined the Congressional Diabetes Caucus to honor Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) for his leadership in co-chairing the Caucus for the past five years. During this time, Representative Whitfield has championed a number of causes related to diabetes from expanding coverage for continuous glucose monitors (CGM) to funding for the Special Diabetes Program. Joining Representative Diana DeGette as Co-Chair will be Representative Tom Reed (R-NY) who successfully reversed his own type 2 diabetes through weight-loss interventions and who also has a son with type 1 diabetes. Representative Reed has shown considerable passion in advancing diabetes policies. He previously served as Vice-Chair of the Caucus and will be replaced in that role by Representative Susan Brooks (R-IN). Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA) will also serve as Co-Chair. The Society looks forward to continuing to work with these key thought leaders to expand coverage for prevention programs and for CGM.
Society Comments on Draft Measure Plan Focus on Alignment and New Measures
The Endocrine Society submitted comments on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) draft Quality Measure Development Plan (MDP), which serves as the strategic framework for the future of clinician quality measure development to support the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and alternative payment models. The MDP highlights known measurement and performance gaps and recommends approaches to close those gaps through development, use, and refinement of quality measures.
The Society’s comments focused on the need for alignment of quality measures across all payers in order to reduce administrative burdens, development of new measures that are cross-cutting across specialties and/or specific to endocrine diseases, the importance of risk adjustment for any outcomes measures, and the need to simplify the measure development process.
The final MDP, based on feedback received through the comment period, will be released in May 2016, and will be updated annually. Through the final report, CMS will identify gaps in existing measures and release a Call for Measures to begin filling those gaps.
Society Member Jyotsna Keni, MD, Receives 2016 Vigersky Travel Award
The Endocrine Society is pleased to announce that the 2016 Harold Vigersky Practicing Physician Travel Award recipient is Jyotsna Keni, M.D., an endocrinologist practicing at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital in Fountain Valley, California. Dr. Keni attended medical school at the UCLA.
The Vigersky Travel Award was established in 2010 by Society Past President Robert Vigersky to enable U.S. clinicians who do not receive financial support or reimbursement to attend the Endocrine Society's annual meeting (ENDO) or Clinical Endocrinology Update (CEU). Dr. Keni will receive complimentary registration to ENDO 2016 in Boston and a $1,500 stipend for travel and lost productivity. Clinical practitioners interested in applying for the 2017 Harold Vigersky Practicing Physician Travel Award can learn more on the Society website.
Genzyme Launches Co-Pay Assistance Program for Thyrogen
Genzyme has launched a new patient assistance program for individuals who are prescribed Thyrogen to treat differentiated thyroid cancer. The Thyrogen Co-Pay Program is intended to address challenges with out-of-pocket costs for the drug through financial assistance. Eligible patients should have out-of-pocket costs which exceed $100 with commercial insurance. Assistance for patients with no insurance or insurance that does not cover Thyrogen are also eligible for additional financial support. Additional information can be found at www.thyrogen.com or by calling Thyrogen ONE at 1-888-497-6436.
NIEHS Seeks Input on Educational Outreach Programs
On March 1, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input on “Developing New Tools and Approaches for Educational Outreach Related to Environmental Health Science.”
Specifically, the institute will use responses to the RFI to build a more robust program of Small Business Innovation Research / Small Business Technology Transfer Research (SBIR/STTR) grants to develop educational tools and materials to increase environmental health literacy (EHL). Through the SBIR/STTR program, NIEHS supports the development of EHL materials targeted to:
* General public
* Pre-K through 12th grade students
* Undergraduate and graduate students
* Healthcare professionals
NIEHS is requesting information regarding:
* High priority educational needs and opportunities related to environmental health science for different groups, such as community organizations, general public, pre-K through 12th grade students, undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, or healthcare professionals.
* Potential barriers (e.g., cost or institutional challenges) for implementing new tools or approaches for EHS STEM education, and approaches to overcome those barriers.
* Market needs for EHS resources aimed at the different groups mentioned above.
* Opportunities for adding EHS training in medical schools or graduate education (e.g., engineering, policy, and secondary education).
* Opportunities for gaming technologies, mobile applications, and similar new technologies to advance environmental health literacy.
* Research background and other expertise needed for small business teams developing tools for EHS education.
Take Action: While NIEHS has solicited grant applications for this program, the Institute has not received a strong response from the small business community. We encourage members of the Endocrine Society with expertise in education and environmental health to examine the RFI on the NIH Grants Guide and consider responding. Please note that responses are due by Saturday, April 2.