UHMS Seeks Grant Funding for Scientific Writer

Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society grant proposal request for part-time scientific writer 

I. PROPOSAL SUMMARY

The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) is seeking funding to contract with a scientific writer to work with the various UHMS committees for the purpose to assist them in authoring works in the fields of undersea and hyperbaric medicine such as: position letters and statements, creating commentary on published works, gathering and creating metadata, etc. This resource is expected to have a positive material effect for the membership.

II. ORGANIZATION DESCRIPTION and HISTORY 

The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) is an international scientific organization which was founded in 1967 to foster exchange of data on the physiology and medicine of commercial and military diving. Over the intervening years, the interests of the Society have enlarged to include clinical hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The society has grown to over 2,000 members and has established the largest repository of diving and hyperbaric research collected in one place. Clinical information, an extensive bibliographic database of thousands of scientific papers, as well as books, and technical reports which represent the results of over 100 years of research by military and university laborato­ries around the world are contained in the UHMS Schilling Library, holdings are now part of the Duke University Library, Durham, NC. The results of ongoing research and clinical aspects of undersea and hyperbaric medicine are reported annually at scientific meetings and in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine published bi-monthly.

The UHMS is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation. The board of directors (board), elected by the membership oversees the organization’s mission and adherence to its bylaws. The president of the board is responsible for choosing the UHMS committees’ chairs. There are numerous standing committees and a few ad hoc ones as well. The board hires the executive director who oversees the organization and executes the policy of the board.

The Society shall be international in scope. Its primary purposes shall be:

  1. to provide a forum for professional scientific communication among individuals and groups involved in basic and applied studies concerned with life sciences and human factors aspects of the undersea environment and hyperbaric medicine.
  2. to promote cooperation between the life sciences and other disciplines concerned with undersea activity and hyperbaric medicine.
  3. to develop and promote educational activities and other programs, which improve the scientific knowledge of matters related to undersea and hyperbaric environments and the accepted applications of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the membership, as well as physicians and allied health professionals, divers, diver technicians and the public at large.
  4. to provide a source of information and support in the clinical practice of hyperbaric medicine and to stay abreast of legislative, legal, and regulatory changes in the field.
  5. to provide a means by which hyperbaric facility directors/owners will have an opportunity to request an accreditation survey of their facility for safety, staffing and verifying the adequacy of the professional medical application of hyperbaric therapy.

The UHMS has long been regarded as the pre-eminent scientific organization in the fields of undersea and hyperbaric medicine. The UHMS continues to shoulder the burden of producing the scientific rationale that allows the field to progress. However, over the past few years, globally the fields and medicine in general have been beleaguered with regulatory changes and the UHMS is underfunded to be able to adequately respond with the scientific information needed for each issue being presented.

The UHMS can be a central force, as it has in the past for positive change but needs additional and external funding to accomplish this goal.

III. BACKGROUND

The UHMS has historically been the organization regulatory bodies have referenced including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), particularly with regard to the scientifically backed indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO2).

This goes back to the need for meticulous scrutiny of emerging clinical applications of HBO2, the UHMS established the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Committee in 1976. The committee was charged with the responsibility of continuously reviewing the research and clinical data and rendering recommendations regarding clinical efficacy and safety of HBO2. To achieve this goal, the multidisciplinary committee is comprised of practitioners and scientific investigators.

Since, 1976, the committee has met annually to review research and clinical data. From the twenty-eight indications for which third party reimbursement was recommended in the 1976 and 1979 reports, the number of approved indications has been refined to fourteen in the 2014 report. These indications are those for which in vitro and in vivo pre-clinical research data as well as extensive positive clinical experience and study have become convincing.

Evidence considered by the committee includes sound physiologic rationale; in vivo or in vitro studies that demonstrate effectiveness; controlled animal studies; prospective controlled clinical studies; and extensive clinical experience from multiple, recognized hyperbaric medicine centers.

The committee also reviews cost effectiveness and has established guidelines for each entity. Results show that, in addition to its clinical efficacy, HBO2 therapy yields direct cost savings by successfully resolving a high percentage of difficult and expensive disorders, thereby minimizing prolonged healthcare interventions.

The committee recommends third party reimbursement of HBO2 for the disorders included in the accepted conditions category. Currently, most insurance carriers have established HBO2 reimbursement policies.

The need to support the field with scientific literature is unprecedented at this point in the fields’ existence.

Specifically, the major issues being experienced at this point are third party payor challenges to the UHMS approved indications including these listed below.

  • Misinterpretation of UHMS diagnoses which do not meet the intent of the author(s)
  • Deletion of indications potentially without proper analysis
  • Deletion of indications as a result of a poorly defined crosswalk between ICD-9 and ICD-10

IV. PROJECT

To address the challenges the UHMS is seeking to fund a scientific writer to assist the UHMS committee chairs in authoring scientific works, i.e. position statements, letters, etc. that will have a positive and meaningful impact on individuals participating in the fields of undersea and hyperbaric medicine.

The program will begin immediately as funding comes into the program for the scientific writer and will end when the funding runs out. This position is viewed as being one that could and should go into perpetuity and therefore the UHMS will be seeking to fund the need into the future.

When funded, the scientific writer will be assigned to the highest priority items which at this point are:

  • Assist in authoring a position on the elimination of radiation codes and compromised flap in the process of the ICD-9 to ICD-10 transition
  • Compiling scientific literature and performing analysis on the indications most at risk for challenge by third-party payors

V. BUDGET

The cost of the position is estimated to be eighty thousand dollars – US ($80,000.00) annually for approximately 1000 hours.

100% of the contributions going to this restricted grant request will be used for the project as it is described.

VI. RESPONSES

Individuals or organizations wanting to contribute to this specific grant, please mail funds to the UHMS office specifically as described below. Checks will be made out to the UHMS and in the Memo line please write Scientific Writer Fund.

Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society
Scientific Writer Grant
631 US Highway 1
Suite 307
North Palm Beach, FL 33408
+561-776-6110

If you have any questions, please contact John S. Peters, Executive Director UHMS.

Contributions to the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society—a 501(c)(3) charitable organization—are tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes as provided under the Internal Revenue Code.

Donors should consult their own tax advisor regarding the specific deductibility of their charitable contributions.

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