What We're Reading: New WHO Leader; Drug Control Office Budget; Teaching Hospital Mortality

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Elected to Direct WHO

Beginning on July 1, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will take the helm as director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO). Tedros, who is known by his first name, is the first WHO director to hail from Africa and also the first non-physician, as he has a doctorate in community health. STAT reports that the 194 member countries of the WHO chose Tedros in part for his diplomacy and leadership skills, as well as his successful efforts in boosting immunization rates while he was the health minister of Ethiopia.

Drug Control Office Spared From Deep Budget Cuts

When first drafted, the Trump administration’s proposed budget specified a 95% funding cut for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, but the final document now proposes just a 5% cut, according to POLITICO. The updated budget means that 66 of the office’s 75 current employees will be kept full-time next year, while the original cuts would have required laying off half of the office’s staff. Bipartisan legislators and drug control experts praised the decision to largely maintain the funding, as the original proposal had provoked a backlash. Critics feared deep cuts could worsen the opioid epidemic.

Study Finds Lower Mortality Rates at Teaching Hospitals

New research published in JAMA indicates that Medicare beneficiaries who received care in major teaching hospitals were significantly less likely to die within 30 days than those treated at smaller academic or non-teaching hospitals. The differences in mortality persisted after adjusting for patient characteristics and hospital volume and location. The researchers noted that federal pay-for-performance programs tend to penalize teaching hospitals the most, “calling into question whether the national approach to measuring and rewarding on performance is working effectively.”

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