House Appropriations Committee Moving Forward with NIH Funding Bill; Take Action TODAY to urge support for NIH
The House Appropriations Committee just released the text of the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations bill that will be considered by the LHHS Subcommittee July 7. The bill provides $33.3 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $1.25 billion (4 percent) compared to the FY 2016 level (and $2.25 billion above President Obama’s request). On June 9, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Labor-HHS FY 2017 funding bill, which includes funding for most Department of Health and Human Services agencies. The bill included a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that would grow NIH’s total budget to about $34 billion.
A press release from the LHHS Subcommittee notes that, “Funding within the bill is targeted to proven programs with the most national benefit, including medical research, public heath, and biodefense, as well as funding for a comprehensive approach to combating the nation’s opioid epidemic.” Included within the total for NIH, funding is provided for the following initiatives:
$511.5 million for Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards
$333.3 million for the Institutional Development Awards Program
$350 million increase for Alzheimer's research
$195 million for the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neuro-technologies Initiative
$300 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative
$12.6 million for pediatric cancer research
House Appropriations Committee consideration of the L-HHS appropriations bill is a critical step in the appropriations process. Funding for federal programs expires September 30, so the Congress must pass legislation to fund programs in the new fiscal year. If it cannot reach agreement, the Congress typically passes a Continuing Resolution to keep the government open, but it only funds programs at the past year's level. To obtain an increase for NIH, both the Senate and House need to pass funding bills.
Take Action: It is critical that all Members of Congress hear from their constituents about the need to provide a funding increase for NIH. Join the Endocrine Society’s advocacy efforts by participating in our online campaign. All you need to do is visit our online advocacy center and submit your zip code and our system will send letters to your Representative and Senators.
Endocrine Society Endorses TENDR Statement on Environmental Toxins and Brain Development
On July 1, a broad group of scientists, physicians, and health advocates issued a consensus statement calling for action to protect children’s brain development from toxic chemicals used extensively in products and food, and polluting air and water. The Targeting Environmental NeuroDevelopmental Risks (TENDR) Consensus Statement asserts that the “current system in the United States for evaluating scientific evidence and making health-based decisions about environmental chemicals is fundamentally broken.” The statement stresses the importance of the endocrine system and hormones in brain development, and notes that endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) demand attention due to their widespread use in consumer products and potential to interfere with brain development.
The Endocrine Society has consistently held that current regulatory frameworks are insufficient to address harms due to exposures to EDCs and that action is needed to reduce the risk of human health impacts due to EDC exposures. We enthusiastically support Project TENDR and are glad to join with 10 other organizations in endorsing the TENDR Consensus Statement. For more information about Project TENDR and to read the Consensus Statement, please see http://projecttendr.com/.
Society Provides Input to CMS on How New Care Models Impact Endocrinology; Schedules Special Session at CEU
On June 27, the Endocrine Society submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on proposed healthcare delivery models called the Quality Payment Program (QPP). The QPP resulted from legislation replacing the Sustainable Growth Rate last year and overhauling the way in which physicians are reimbursed for services they provide to their patients. The proposal delineates two paths for payment: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) which emphasize quality improvement as opposed to straight fee-for-service healthcare delivery.
The Society submitted comments to CMS that address both tracks for payment and also general comments on how these programs will impact endocrinologists. Key comments from the Society included:
The proposed programs are an opportunity for CMS to improve upon its existing quality improvement programs, but that CMS should delay its reporting period to ensure that physicians have enough time to properly transition to the QPP.
CMS should provide ample opportunity for physicians to receive feedback on their performance for continued process improvement.
Risk adjustment will be a critical component of these programs and should be devised in a manner that is transparent and can be tested. An overview of the QPP proposal can be found in a previous issue of Endocrine Insider.
We will be holding an informational session about how the new Quality Payment Program will impact practicing endocrinologists at the Society’s upcoming Clinical Endocrinology Update meeting. For more information about new Medicare payment and health delivery models, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
NIH Requests Information on Technologies Used to Identify Potential Developmental Toxicants
On June 30, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) issued a request for data and information on “approaches and/or technologies currently used for identifying potential developmental toxicants.” The NTP/NICEATM will use the information collected to evaluate the state of the science in the field and identify technical gaps for the use of non-animal testing strategies to evaluate chemicals for effects in offspring.
Take Action: We encourage members of the Society with expertise in developmental toxicity to consider responding to the request for information. More information on the request and instructions for responding can be found on the federal register notice. Please note that responses are due on August 15, 2016.