General Information

Hospital Autopsies (Columbus Dispatch August 26, 2012 Ohio Autopsy Rate Drops)

The U.S. autopsy rate dropped from 16.9 percent in 1972 to 4.3 percent in 2007 for cases in which death resulted from disease, not external causes such as homicides and vehicular crashes. Those figures from the National Center for Health Statistics were based on 86 percent of U.S. deaths.

The U.S. autopsy rate’s long, steady decline can be traced in part to the Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals. In 1971, it ended a requirement that hospitals perform autopsies on 20 to 25 percent of patients who died. Another factor: Hospitals foot the bill for autopsies, which can cost $2,000 or more. That might leave hospitals with less incentive to perform them.

Fellowship Funding

If a program is approved by the ACGME (Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education), it is eligible for CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) funding. Forensic pathology is specifically listed as an eligible program. You have to read the list of accreditation programs with parts of the Medicare regulations together - 42 CFR 43.78(a) and 413.75(b) - to see that they are in fact eligible for funding. Whether or not a hospital chooses to pursue funding for their FP fellowships depends on the program.

Autopsy Reimbursement

Medicare Benefit Policy Manual
Chapter 15 – Covered Medical and Other Health Services

30.1 - Provider-Based Physician Services
B. The Provider Component

The portion of the physician’s activities representing services which are not directly related to an identifiable part of the medical care of the individual patient is the provider component. Payment for provider component services can be made only to a provider, and is included in the provider’s prospective payment system (PPS) rate. Provider services include teaching, research conducted in conjunction with and as part of patient care (to the extent that such costs are not met by special research funds), administration, general supervision of professional or technical personnel, laboratory quality control activities, committee work, performance of autopsies, and attending conferences as part of the physician’s provider service activities. Such services are covered under Part A where they relate to inpatient services.

National Education Index

The National Center for Education Statistics has created a National Education Index for students interested in pursuing undergraduate and graduate programs across the US.

They have collected and compiled data from more than 19,000 educational programs at 2,240 universities throughout  the nation, and have packaged the data into an easy-to-use database that is very rich and informative.

By lowering the information barrier, they aim to encourage a new wave of first generation college students to consider the opportunities that graduate school can provide. Inspired by Black History Month, they are reaching out to groups that are statistically underrepresented in universities today. This database, along with other featured resources, should be useful for students interested in furthering their education. So far, over 200 universities and governmental agencies have utilized this database project for their communities.

It is accessible here.