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Home   Join/Renew   Certification   Member Services   Education   Research   Foundation Dec. 8, 2009

In this issue:

The latest on the health care reform: Senate begins debate
Action Alert: Support prevention & wellness
ACSM's strategy for health care reform – prevention highlighted in current bill
Women's preventive care amendment added to Senate health care bill
Debate in Senate includes comments on lack of prevention and wellness programs
What's missing in the bill: Making exercise prescription easy for physicians
Help influence policy--become an Advocate or a Key Contact
Your action needed: Help define Healthy People 2020 goals
Sports medicine & exercise science headlines

This special issue of Sports Medicine Bulletin is dedicated to health reform – and what ACSM members can do to ensure physical activity, prevention and wellness language is included in the bill. SMB will return to its regular format next week.

The Latest on Health Care Reform: Senate Begins Debate
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Debate on the Senate health care reform legislation (H.R. 3590) began last week. Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) acknowledged that consideration of the legislation could take several weeks and warned senators to expect Saturday and Sunday sessions this month. While senators are likely to vote on dozens of amendments as they debate the health care bill, Democrats and Republicans were only able to agree on two in the first few days of the debate. This provides an indication of how long the process could take.

At this point, Senator Reid's goal is to have the Senate vote on the health care reform bill before it recesses for the holiday, which would mean that (assuming the Senate is able to pass a bill) the conference committee that will be responsible for resolving differences between the House and Senate bills will not meet place until early 2010. Many people on Capitol Hill believe that reforming the health care system will become more difficult the closer we get to the 2010 fall elections.

Action Alert: Support Prevention & Wellness
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On Nov. 30, debate on the Senate health care reform legislation (H.R. 3590) began. As the Senate attempts to craft its final version of health care reform legislation during the month of December, it is extremely important that you take a few minutes to contact your two Senators and ask them to support the power of preventive medicine through physical activity. More

ACSM's Strategy for Health Care Reform -- Prevention Highlighted in Current Bill
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ACSM continues its work to ensure that provisions emphasizing the importance of prevention and wellness, specifically relating to physical activity and healthy lifestyles, are kept in the merged version of the bill. ACSM is also encouraging Senators to introduce amendments with similar priorities.
SMB, the current version of the bill would:
  • Establish a Prevention and Public Health fund, to be funded at nearly $5 billion over five years, that would authorize the creation of community-based prevention and wellness programs to promote healthy lifestyles, including increased physical activity levels
  • Mandate that Medicare beneficiaries receive an Annual Wellness Visit, which includes a personalized prevention plan and requests that the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services evaluate the available evidence, literature, best practices and resources relevant to programs that promote healthy lifestyles and reduce risk factors for the Medicare population
  • Include a Sense of the Congress statement that encourages Congress to develop better methodologies for scoring progress to be made in prevention and wellness programs.

Women's Preventive Care Amendment Added to Senate Health Care Bill
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On Dec. 3, the Senate adopted an amendment to its health care overhaul bill (HR 3590) that would increase access to preventive health care and screening services for women and retain previous mammography guidelines. The amendment by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) also would eliminate co-payments for many preventive services for women, requiring instead that insurers provide full coverage for screenings and other such care. This was the first roll call vote, which was approved 61-39, since debate opened on Nov. 30. Under a unanimous consent agreement, both amendments required 60 votes for adoption. ACSM is working hard to ensure that the health care reform bill also incorporates a combination of initiatives designed to increase physical activity levels and improve nutrition, which can make the greatest impact and reach the most people at the lowest cost.

Debate in Senate Includes Comments on Lack of Prevention and Wellness Programs
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Senators have been focusing on some of the more controversial issues of health care reform such as the inclusion of a public option. But some Senators have stated the need for provisions that include prevention and wellness:

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
  • "Americans want us to encourage healthy choices like prevention and wellness programs."
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
(during the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee [HELP] markup of the Senate health care reform bill)
  • "...we need to recreate America as a genuine wellness society- one that emphasizes wellness and fitness and good nutrition and disease prevention with the goal of keeping people out of the hospital in the first place."

What's Missing in the Bill: Making Exercise Prescription Easy for Physicians
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Commentary by ACSM experts does not necessarily reflect the views or positions of ACSM.

Robert Sallis, M.D., FACSM, is chairman of the Exercise is Medicine™ Task Force and a past-President of the American College of Sports Medicine. He is co-director of the sports medicine program at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in southern California.

As chairman of the Exercise is Medicine™ Task Force, making it easy for doctors to prescribe exercise to patients is always top-of-mind for me. However, as I review the latest iteration of the Senate health care reform bill, it seems that few of these important measures are included at the federal level.

While I applaud the prevention and wellness language that is included in the bill – which will hopefully help patients use physical activity to prevent chronic disease – it is not going to help physicians and other health providers hold up their end of the deal when it comes to making exercise a standard part of the health care paradigm. EIM has specific legislative strategies to fulfill this need.

Help Influence Policy--Become an Advocate or a Key Contact
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There has never been a greater opportunity to influence legislation and administrative policies in favor of physical activity and exercise—and nobody is better able to make the case than one who is both a knowledgeable professional and a constituent. As an ACSM member/advocate, you will receive occasional Action Alerts when legislation is at a crucial juncture. In just a few minutes, you can send an e-mail message to key Members of Congress, urging them to support policies that encourage physical activity and exercise. Click HERE to become a member/advocate. More

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Your Action Needed: Help Define Health People 2020 Goals
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Online comments accepted through Dec. 31

This month, ACSM members and certified professionals have an opportunity to help identify national health objectives. Through Dec. 31, online comments are being accepted as part of the Healthy People 2020 process. Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year, national objectives for promoting health and preventing disease. Healthy People 2020 will reflect assessments of major risks to health and wellness, changing public health priorities, and emerging issues related to our nation's health preparedness and prevention.

Your professional insights can have a lasting effect through the Healthy People process. Please review the proposed objectives, particularly those relating to physical activity and fitness, and consider offering your opinion. Following are excerpts from comments by Past President Angela Smith, M.D., FACSM, at a recent public meeting, which can you can tailor for your own commentary, plus additional suggestions from ACSM.

Exercise and Science Headlines

NFL Issues New Guidelines on Concussions
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The National Football League on Wednesday announced that it would impose its most stringent rules to date on managing concussions, requiring players who exhibit any significant sign of concussion to be removed from a game or practice and be barred from returning the same day. More

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Launches Initiative against Dangerous Over-the-Counter Nutritional Supplements Containing Drugs
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The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), in partnership with the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League, the U.S. Olympic Committee and other national sports and health organizations, today launched an effort to end the dangerous and unscrupulous practices of "rogue" manufacturers within the nutritional supplement industry. This new effort, called "Supplement Safety Now," will work to eliminate the practice of selling dangerous products containing steroids and other drugs as "safe and legal" dietary supplements. More

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