USDA finalizes compensation plan for high-path avian flu damages
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced yesterday that it has issued a final rule spelling out USDA indemnity pay to farms hit by highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks.
The final rule updates a 2016 interim rule and allows indemnity payments to be split, based on a provided formula, between poultry and egg owners and their contracted growers. It also adopts biosecurity principles set by the National Poultry Improvement Plan and requires larger operations to have auditable biosecurity plans in place to receive indemnity payments.
According to its statement on the final rules, the USDA said the split payments for highly pathogenic avian influenza are in line with the existing program for low pathogenic avian influenza.
In the final rule, officials address stakeholder concerns that followed the release of the interim rules, including if self-certification of biosecurity was adequate. In the final rule, operations that meet minimum size requirements must have an auditable plan that addresses 14 biosecurity principles that comply with the NPIP.
Aug 14 APHIS press release
Feb 8, 2016, CIDRAP News scan "USDA expands regulations for compensating avian flu damages"
Recommendations tackle steps to keep, increase ID physician-scientists
In new recommendations geared toward retaining and boosting the numbers of physician scientists specializing in infectious diseases, three medical societies said the main factors needed are improved compensation, expanded mentorship and training opportunities, and steps to improve workforce diversity.
The three groups include the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS). The groups published their policy recommendations in a Journal of Infectious Diseases supplement.
They acknowledge the challenges that infectious disease physicians face balancing their clinical and scientific roles and that efforts to address attrition and bring new people into the field will require efforts of federal, university, and professional sectors.
Among the current problems are inadequate funding for fellowship opportunities and big compensation disparities, with median pay 20% less for infectious disease researchers when compared to infectious disease clinicians working at hospitals or clinics. According to the report, infectious disease physician-researchers make 27% less than their peers working in private practice.
The report covers ways to increase the number and quality of training opportunities, which includes expanding entry criteria for federal grant opportunities and collaborations with research and advocacy groups.
Aug 14 IDSA press release
Aug 14 J Infect Dis abstract