Friday, September 03, 2010

U.S. Judge Rules Against Obama’s Stem Cell Policy

The National Institutes of Health issued a notice late Monday on the federal district court injunction blocking the federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. The notice confirms the information provided by Dr. Francis Collins last week in a call with the media. The notice states that grant awards that were funded on or before August 23, 2010, are not affected by the preliminary injunction order, and award recipients may continue to expend the funds awarded to them prior to the date of the injunction. However, pending competing and noncompeting continuation hESC awards and contracts are suspended until further notice, and the peer review of all pending competing hESC applications and proposals also are suspended.

NIH has ordered the termination of all NIH intramural human embryonic stem cell research. Deputy Director Dr. Michael Gottesman wrote in an email to intramural scientists, "HHS has determined that the recent preliminary injunction ordered by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in the matter of Sherley v. Sebelius is applicable to the use of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) in intramural research projects. In light of this determination, effective today August 27, 2010, all intramural scientists who use hESC lines should initiate procedures to terminate these projects. Procedures that will conserve and protect the research resources should be followed."

The new issue of The New Yorker features an article on Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH, and the recent injunction barring federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research.

A new supplement released Monday to the September issue of Academic Medicine highlights the innovations in medical education curriculum since 2000. “A Snapshot of Medical Student Education in the United States and Canada” coincides with the centennial anniversary of the landmark Flexner report and examines advances in medical education curriculum at 128 U.S. and Canadian medical schools. In addition to the school reports, articles on the history and future of medical education and how the health care system has affected the development of the medical education system are included from authors such as Lois M. Nora, M.D., J.D., M.B.A., Brian David Hodges, M.D., Ph.D., Barbara Barzansky, Ph.D., Susan E. Skochelak, M.D., M.P.H., and Donald M. Berwick, M.D., M.P.P.

An article distributed by Bloomberg on Tuesday discussed the impact stimulus funding has had on research and how the ending of such funding is causing some pain.

An editorial in Monday's Chicago Sun Times highlights the University of Chicago's Urban Health Initiative. The editorial states, "...we see some reason to believe the project is making successful inroads in redirecting a significant number of people away from the ER and toward the clinics and community hospitals. If those numbers grow, and if the quality of care at the referral sites is demonstrably high, this project could serve as a model for similar efforts across the nation. We sincerely hope so. Bold efforts such as this are essential if the United States is to get a grip on the spiraling cost of health care.",CST-EDT-edit30.article

The Wall Street Journal on Monday featured an article titled, "Cash-Poor Governments Ditching Public Hospitals." The article reports, "More than a fifth of the nation's 5,000 hospitals are owned by governments and many are drowning in debt caused by rising health-care costs, a spike in uninsured patients, cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and payments on construction bonds sold in fatter times. Because most public hospitals tend to be solo operations, they don't enjoy the economies of scale, or more generous insurance contracts, which bolster revenue at many larger nonprofit and for-profit systems.Local officials also predict an expensive future as new requirements—for technology, quality accounting and care coordination—start under the overhaul, which became law in March."

from Tony Mazzaschi

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