May 4, 2015


Research News:

Push to Boost Medical Research Gains Traction

An unusual coalition of Democrats and conservative Republicans is calling for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), but the lawmakers must contend with spending caps known as the sequester. Bipartisan legislation introduced this week, called 21st Century Cures, would provide billions of dollars in new funding for medical research at NIH. Prominent Republicans like former Speaker Newt Gingrich and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have both called for increasing NIH funding in the past month. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the chairman of the appropriations health subcommittee, said Thursday that he is "pleased" that President Obama requested an additional $1 billion for NIH in his budget. (The Hill - May 2 2015)

NIH Summit Delivers Recommendations to Transform Alzheimer's Disease Research

The National Institutes of Health released recommendations today that provide a framework for a bold and transformative Alzheimer's disease research agenda. Developed at the recent Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit 2015: Path to Treatment and Prevention, the highly anticipated recommendations . . . call for a change in how the academic, biopharmaceutical and government sectors participating in Alzheimer's research and therapy generate, share and use knowledge to propel the development of critically needed therapies. (National Institutes of Health - May 1, 2015)

House Panel Holds Hearing on 'Politically Driven Science'—Sans Scientists

Representative Louie Gohmert, R–Texas, is worried that scientists employed by the U.S. government have been running roughshod over the rights of Americans in pursuit of their personal political goals. So this week Gohmert, the chair of the oversight and investigations subpanel of the U.S. House of Representatives' Natural Resources Committee, held a hearing to explore "the consequences of politically driven science." Notably absent, however, were any scientists, including those alleged to have gone astray. (ScienceInsider - May 1, 2015)

Smith: Battery Storage 'Next Frontier in Energy R&D'

The Energy Subcommittee today held a hearing to examine the state of large-scale battery storage and recent technology breakthroughs achieved through research and development (R&D) at the Department of Energy's national laboratories. The hearing also highlighted how innovative companies are transitioning basic science research in battery storage technology to the commercial market. While the private sector funding will deploy next generation battery technology into the energy marketplace, witnesses testified that the federal government should invest in basic research and development that can revolutionize battery technology. (House Committee on Science, Space and Technology - May 1, 2015)

Health News:

Hospitals Seek End to Contingency Fees for Auditors

The American Hospital Association is pushing to end a system in which some auditors for Medicare keep a share of disputed payments through contingency fees. The influential trade group is lobbying for a House bill (HR 2156), offered by Reps. Sam Graves, R-Mo., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., that would alter the operations of the recovery audit program. Among its aims is to shift this program away from a system in which the recovery audit contractors, or RACs, are paid by keeping about 9 percent to 12.5 percent of every claim they deny, the group said. They would instead get flat fees, as other Medicare contractors do. (CQ HealthBeat - May 1, 2015)

AAMC Applauds Reintroduction of GME Expansion Legislation

Senators Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Reps. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., and Charles Boustany, Jr., M.D., R-La., April 30 introduced the "Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2015" (S.1148, H.R. 2124), AAMC-supported legislation that would increase the number of Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) residency positions. In a statement, AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., applauded the members' continued leadership . . . (Association of American Medical Colleges - May 1, 2015)

Items of Note:


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