April 14, 2006
We got some good news about our waiver request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) concerning payment for graduate medical education of displaced residents. Last Friday, CMS released an interim final rule which not only provides a mechanism for cost reimbursement for salaries of displaced residents and medical supervision in host hospitals, but it will apply to future emergencies as well. Called, Graduate Medical Education Affiliation Provisions for Teaching Hospitals in Certain Emergency Situations, the rule was published in the Federal Register this week, and there is a 60-day comment period.
As you know, the legislature is in session. While we are still trying to recover from the financial devastation of the aftermath of Katrina, there is one hopeful bit of news. The Governors budget includes a $91 million increase in funding of higher education. Included is $31 million for raises for full-time faculty. That would average a 5% increase. Whether or not that part of the budget request will pass remains to be seen, but were grateful to the Governor and the Division of Administration for the proposed support for our faculty.
Dr. James Aiken, Director of the Homeland Defense Program in the School of Public Health, is on his way home from Qatar. Jim was invited to train local health care providers in disaster medical response in preparation for an upcoming sports spectacular event. In addition to teaching disaster medical response and emergency preparedness at the federal Noble Training Academy, Dr. Aiken directed the medical preparation for the first Super Bowl after 9/11 in New Orleans.
Graduation is right around the corner. Because of the lack of available facilities in New Orleans, we are holding our Spring Commencement in Baton Rouge on Saturday, May 20, 2006 at 4:30 p.m. The ceremony will be in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on the LSU campus. It will be an opportunity for us to celebrate the enormous accomplishment of our faculty and students in overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges. Please mark your calendars.
And finally, a fund-raiser to benefit the Health Sciences Center and other area colleges and universities, is being planned. A KATRINA Walk, a 5k Run/Walk, will be held on June 24, 2006 in Audubon Park Shelter #10. Details of the event will be posted on our website in the coming weeks.
I hope each of you and your loved ones enjoy a time of peace and renewed hope during this holiday season.