AAGP eNews
Apr. 9, 2013

Congratulations, award winners!
During AAGP's 2013 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, at the March 14 Opening Plenary, the association honored several members for their achievements. Congratulations to this year's award winners!

Martha Bruce, PhD,
AAGP Distinguished Scientist
This award is presented to an AAGP member for original scientific contributions to the field of geriatric psychiatry and for dedicated mentorship of the careers of successful contributing junior researchers. Dr. Bruce is a professor of sociology in psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the Graduate School of Medical Sciences, and associate vice-chair for research in the Department of Psychiatry. She is co-director for the Weill Cornell Advanced Research Center in Geriatric Mental Health and the Cornell representative to the Governing Council of the National Network of Depression Centers.

Rajesh R. Tampi, MD,
AAGP Clinician of the Year
Dr. Tampi received the Clinician of the Year Award for his excellent patient- and family-centered care, his in-depth knowledge of current research, and his outstanding work as a teacher and mentor. Dr. Tampi is director of Masonicare Behavioral Health in Wallingford, Conn., and attending psychiatrist at the Dorothy Adler Geriatric Assessment Center. He is also an associate clinical professor of psychiatry with the Yale University School of Medicine, and has been an active member of AAGP since 2002.

Genevieve Yuen, MD, PhD,
AAGP Member-in-Training Research Award
Dr. Yuen received this award for her paper titled "Neuroanatomical correlates of apathy in late-life depression and antidepressant treatment response," the best original research paper submitted by a member-in-training.

Adam P. Spira, PhD,
AAGP Barry Lebowitz Early Career Scientist
This award is presented for the best original research paper submitted by an early career scientist. Dr. Spira received the award for his paper titled "Poor sleep and β-amyloid deposition in community-dwelling older adults."

Greater Lynn (Massachusetts) Senior Services, Inc.'s Elder Mobile Mental Health Projects, GMHF/AAGP Deirdre Johnston Award for Excellence & Innovation in Geriatric Mental Health Outreach Services.
Greater Lynn’s Elder Mobile Mental Health Project is a compassionate, pioneering effort aimed at delivering a range of critical mental health services to the most vulnerable elderly. The program is consumer-centered and flexible, and brings needed psycho-social services and supports to the individual and integrates them into the home environment.

AAGP members find creative ways to support Scholars Fund

In 2013, the AAGP Scholars Fund again broke all records with a total of $72,300 raised to support residents' and medical students' attendance at the AAGP Annual Meeting and provide them with unique education and mentoring opportunities in the field of geriatric psychiatry. With the funds raised, 22 Honors scholarships were offered, which include one-on-one mentorship throughout the year. In its short five-year history, the Scholars Program has been an unbelievable success impacting the entire field of geriatric psychiatry. Each year, contributions to the program have surpassed the previous year allowing the Scholars Committee to fund additional Scholars, selected through the competitive application process. It is also not coincidental that in 2012, there was a significant jump in individuals entering geriatric psychiatry fellowship programs, demonstrating how a relatively small investment can make a difference.

AAGP is grateful to all its members who contribute to the Scholars Fund. You are benefiting the field. Over the next few months, we will profile some of the Scholars so the AAGP membership can meet these unique individuals. First, meet some AAGP members who have come up with creative ways to support the Scholars Program.

Marie DeWitt and Kevin Horowitz

Marie Dewitt, MD, of Houston was married recently and many friends contributed to the Scholars Fund as their gifts to the couple — a joyful reason to donate.

Elliott Stein
Elliott Stein, MD, of San Francisco a longtime member and past president of the association showed his support by sponsoring not just one but three Honors Scholars in 2013.

Groups of members at three institutions combined their donations to sponsor Honors scholarships in 2013, proof of the power of teamwork. And two members obtained contributions from their institutions for full scholarships. These are great ways for organizations to show their support. And, the latest innovation is a member who is combining his passion for running and supporting trainees by raising money for the Scholars Fund through his participation in a marathon — that's 26.2 miles to help build the workforce.More

AAGP leadership makes plans for 2013/2014

AAGP President David Steffens (left) receives the gavel from Paul Kirwin, signifying the transition of power to the current president.
As AAGP President Paul Kirwin, MD, passed the gavel to incoming President David Steffens, MD, the transition of power was official. New AAGP President Steffens will lead the AAGP Board of Directors in 2013 on such issues as implementing the IOM workforce recommendations; increasing AAGP's membership; and developing new programs to meet the membership's needs. The AAGP Board of Directors consists of five Executive Committee members serving as the officers of the organization: Secretary/Treasurer Laura Dunn, MD; President-Elect Susan Schultz, MD; Secretary/Treasurer-Elect Melinda Lantz, MD; and Immediate Past President Paul Kirwin, MD. In addition, there are 10 at-large Board members including the Committee Chairs from the Research (Eric Lenze, MD), Clinical Practice (Maureen Nash, MD), and Teaching and Training (Brent Forester, MD) Committees. The rest of the Board of Directors includes Paul Newhouse, MD; Martha Bruce, MD; Eye Byrd, MSN; Blaine Greenwald, MD; Marc Agronin, MD; Ellen Whyte, MD; Larry Tune, MD; and the AAGP MIT-Elected Member, Donovan Maust, MD. More

House Committees advance Medicare physician payment reform effort

On April 3, leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee outlined details of a proposal to repeal the current Sustainable Growth Rate system and replace it with a fair and stable system of physician payment in the Medicare program.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Pitts, R-Penn., and Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, stated that, "Fixing the flawed SGR physician payment system is a top priority for the Committees on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means. We recognize that the uncertainty over potentially devastating reimbursement cuts makes it difficult for practices to plan for the future. This uncertainty affects decisions to hire necessary staff and make investments in practice improvement."

They added, "We envision a system where providers have the flexibility to participate in the payment and delivery model that best fits their practice. The overarching goal is to reward providers for delivering high-quality, efficient health care, whether in a fee for service system or in an alternative payment model program."

The multi-phased proposal, which would eliminate the 24.4 percent across-the-board cut slated for January 2014 and any future SGR cuts, specifies a process to reward providers for high-quality and efficient care in the fee for service program. In addition, the proposal includes processes to determine quality and efficiency measures that focus on evidence while being flexible and specialty-specific; recognizes the role that specialty-specific registries play in facilitating quality improvement while minimizing provider participation burden; and addresses the need for timely performance feedback to allow providers to identify improvement opportunities and optimize incentive payments. More

Excellence in Mental Health Act introduced

On March 21, Reps. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., and Leonard Lance, R-N.J., introduced H.R. 1263, the Excellence in Mental Health Act to expand access to mental health treatment and improve quality of care and federally qualified mental health centers. The bill would expand access to the country's 2,000 community mental health centers by supporting the expansion of existing centers and the construction of new centers. This would allow for the treatment of up to an additional 1.5 million mental health patients each year, in addition to approximately 200,000 veterans. When the bill was introduced, Representative Matsui said, "The bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health Act will address our nation's fragmented mental health system by enhancing Medicaid funding for community mental health centers that offer evidence-based treatment and support for millions of vulnerable people with mental disorders." H.R. 1263 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration. More

GME Bill introduced in Congress

Legislation to increase the number of residency slots entitled the Training Tomorrow's Doctors Today Act (H.R. 1201) has been introduced by Representatives Aaron Schock, R-Ill., and Allyson Schwartz, D-Penn. The purpose of the legislation is to address the nation's imminent physician shortage. A similar bill entitled Resident Physician Shortage Act (S. 577) was introduced by Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in the Senate. The bills aim to help meet the nation's increasing demand for new physicians by funding an additional 15,000 Medicare-supported graduate medical education positions over the next five years. The bills use different formulas to allocate the new residency slots, but both pieces of legislation give priority to hospitals that already offer more residency slots than the number for which they receive funding and those in states with new medical schools. The bills also target expansion of residency programs and specialties in which a shortage already exists. In the House Bill, a study by the General Accounting Office is mandated that would assess the competency of the physician workforce to care for older adults upon completion of residency training and submit a report to Congress along with recommendations for any legislation and administrative action necessary to rectify any identified any gaps. AAGP will work with the sponsors of this legislation to advocate for geriatric psychiatry to be included as an identified shortage specialty.More

Resources for HRSA's Loan Repayment Program

If you're planning to submit an application for the 2013 National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program, check out these new resources to assist you with the application. The deadline to submit your application for the NHSC Loan Repayment Program is Tuesday, April 16. If you need further assistance, please contact HRSA Customer Care Center at 1-800-221-9393 or email GetHelp@hrsa.gov.


AAGP on Facebook

Did you know that AAGP has an active Facebook page that posts updates on happenings in geriatric psychiatry several times a week? Please like the AAGP Facebook page.More

House Committees advance Medicare physician payment reform effort
On April 3, leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee outlined details of a proposal to repeal the current Sustainable Growth Rate system and replace it with a fair and stable system of physician payment in the Medicare program.More

New system can help spot sleep disturbance in people with early dementia
The Medical News
A new sleep pattern monitoring system has been developed by U.K. researchers to help spot sleep disturbance in people diagnosed with early dementia. The system, known as PAViS, could be used remotely by health care workers to view sleep profiles and analyze sleep patterns based on sensory data gathered at the patient's home.More

AAGP President Steffens anticipates needs from a 'silver tsunami'
UConn Today
The University of Connecticut writes how the chairman of the psychiatry department at the UConn Health Center, David C. Steffens, MD, MHS, is working to galvanize research and clinical resources to address the "silver tsunami" — the burgeoning need for mental health services for older adults.More

Obama announces $100 million for brain mapping project that could help Alzheimer's, other diseases
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
President Barack Obama recently proposed an effort to map the brain's activity in unprecedented detail, as a step toward finding better ways to treat such conditions as Alzheimer's, autism, stroke and traumatic brain injuries. He asked Congress to spend $100 million next year to start a project that will explore details of the brain, which contains 100 billion cells and trillions of connections.More

No increased risk for death with antipsychotics in Alzheimer's?
For years, clinicians have been warned that off-label use of antipsychotic medications to treat behavioral disturbances in patients with dementia could increase mortality. However, preliminary evidence from a new Japanese study appears to refute this tenet. A large, prospective cohort study conducted by investigators at Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan, showed no significant differences in mortality risk between patients with dementia who received antipsychotics and those who did not.More

Is the cost of dementia care really higher than cancer and heart disease?
Medical Daily
A report just published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that the costs associated with the care of patients with dementia were higher than that of cancer or heart disease. And, shockingly, the data presented showed that direct costs of care would increase from $109 million in 2010 to $259 million in 2040. This staggering increase was attributed to the increase in the elderly population, particularly baby boomers, and the rise in the rates of dementia.More

3-D stem cell culture technique developed to better understand Alzheimer's disease
Science Daily
A team of researchers at The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute led by Scott Noggle, PhD, Director of the NYSCF Laboratory and the NYSCF — Charles Evans Senior Research Fellow for Alzheimer's Disease, and Michael W. Nestor, PhD, a NYSCF Postdoctoral Research Fellow, has developed a technique to produce 3-D cultures of induced pluripotent stem cells called embryoid bodies, amenable to live cell imaging and to electrical activity measurement. As reported in their Stem Cell Research study, these cell aggregates enable scientists to both model and to study diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.More

Genetic markers found to predict Alzheimer's
Fox News
Scientists have identified early genetic markers that can potentially predict who is at an increased risk for developing Alzheimer's, Medical Daily reported. Currently, in order to determine if someone will develop Alzheimer's disease, doctors use tests that analyze the amount of Tau protein buildup in the central nervous system. The more Tau in an individual's system, the more likely he or she will progress towards dementia. More