Congress Faces Tight Budgetary Squeeze for FY 2013Congressional leaders have returned to Washington and are in the midst of initial planning for the annual spending bills. The process formally begins with the Administration's budget proposal, which is expected February 6 this year. The fiscal year 2013 measures, which cover spending starting October 1, 2012, are restricted by last year's budget control agreement, which caps spending at $1.047 trillion, and are also subject to $97 billion in sequestration cuts mandated by the failure of last year's Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to reach agreement on a deficit-reduction proposal. Read more.
Congress Returns to Washington, Faces March 1 Deadline to Avert Medicare Physician Payment CutsThe House of Representatives has returned from a winter break and is slowly beginning deliberations on pressing legislative priorities, including legislation to avert a potential 27.4 percent cut in Medicare physician payment rates. Although Congress reached an eleventh hour agreement to temporarily avert the cuts through February 29, an agreement must still be reached on legislation to provide relief from scheduled Medicare payment cuts for physicians for the remainder of 2012. Read more and visit the ASH Advocacy Center today to take action to urge lawmakers to address and correct the physician payment formula and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
GRANT Act Would Require Publication of All Research Grant Proposals; Causes Alarm in Research CommunityThe Grant Reform and New Transparency (GRANT) Act (H.R. 3433) is raising alarm throughout the research community. Of greatest concern is a provision requiring publication of full research grant proposals on the Office of Management and Budget website, making an applicant's ideas and data publicly available to all. A second provision would require public disclosure of the names of all grant peer reviewers. Read more.
ASH Makes Recommendations to Implement Clinical Trials Coverage Provision of Health Reform LawUnder the terms of an ASH-supported provision contained in the health reform law, insurers would be prohibited from dropping coverage because an individual chooses to participate in a clinical trial and from denying coverage for routine care that they would otherwise provide just because an individual is enrolled in a clinical trial. ASH recently joined several organizations in submitting recommendations to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in advance of the agency's anticipated rulemaking to implement the clinical trials coverage provision. Read more.
NIH establishes National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Appoints Interim LeadershipIn a move to re-engineer the process of translating scientific discoveries into new drugs, diagnostics, and devices, the NIH has established the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The action was made possible by Congress' approval of the fiscal year 2012 spending bill, which includes the establishment of NCATS with a budget of $575 million. Thomas Insel, MD, has been designated as the acting director and Kathy L. Hudson, PhD, as acting deputy director of NCATS. Drs. Insel and Hudson have been deeply involved in establishing NCATS and will lead the process of bringing the Center into being and getting its programs underway while NIH conducts a nationwide search for the first NCATS director. Read more.
NIH Reorganization Announced for General Medical SciencesTwo new divisions have been established within the at the NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NGMS), which supports basic research and research training. Under the reorganization, there will be a Division of Training, Workforce Development and Diversity and a Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. The new divisions will also be home to programs transferred from the former National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). The overall amount of funding will not change and most grants will be administered by the same NIH staff members. Read more.
Applications Due January 24 for Lasker Clinical Research Scholar ProgramApplications are due January 24 for the Lasker Clinical Research Scholar Program, a partnership between the NIH intramural and extramural communities and the Lasker Foundation. The goals are to bridge the widening gap between cutting-edge research and improved patient care and to nurture the next generation of clinical researchers. Those selected for the program will be able to take advantage of a unique combination of NIH funding, combining a period of independent research in the NIH Intramural Research Program for five to seven years, with the opportunity for additional years of independent financial support either at the NIH or at an extramural research institution.
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