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January 19, 2023

Around the nation: Harvard Medical School to withdraw from 'best medical schools' rankings

Daily Briefing

    Harvard Medical School has withdrawn from U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of the "best medical schools," in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and New York.

    • District of Columbia: CMS last week announced that a record 15.9 million people had signed up for health insurance through Affordable Care Act marketplace before the end of open enrollment on Jan. 15. Compared to the same time last year, roughly 1.8 million more people have signed up for health insurance through the marketplace—a 13% increase. According to NPR, reasons for the upward trend in enrollment include subsidies helping consumers with the costs of plans and increased logistical help from "navigators" who help people understand their options and sign up for a plan. "The Biden-Harris Administration has made expanding access to health insurance a key priority, and we are thrilled to see so many Americans enrolling in Affordable Care Act plans this year," said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. "Thanks to President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, four out of five enrollees can find coverage for $10 or less." (Simmons-Duffin, "Shots," NPR, 1/13; CMS press release, 1/11)
    • Massachusetts: Harvard Medical School on Tuesday announced that it will no longer participate in U.S. News & World Report's annual "best medical schools" ranking—following in the steps of Harvard's law school, which withdrew from the school rankings last fall. According to George Daley, dean of the faculty of medicine, he believes the rankings create "perverse incentives" for schools to report misleading information and create policies that increase their standings. "My concerns and the perspectives I have heard from others are more philosophical than methodological, and rest on the principled belief that rankings cannot meaningfully reflect the high aspirations for educational excellence, graduate preparedness, and compassionate and equitable patient care that we strive to foster in our medical education programs," Daley said. Although the medical school will no longer share information with U.S. News, it does plan to share some of the data on its admissions site. According to the New York Times, it is not clear whether Harvard's decision could affect other medical schools' participation in the rankings. (Taylor, New York Times, 1/18)
    • New York: The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) said that it is currently "exploring its options" after a state Supreme Court judge struck down a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. On Friday, Judge Gerard Neri ruled that Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and NYSDOH had overstepped their authority with the vaccine mandate and said it is now "null, void, and of no effect." In a statement, NYSDOH said the vaccine mandate is "a critical public health tool" and that it "strongly disagrees with the judge's decision and is exploring its options." (AP/Modern Healthcare, 1/17)

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