FY14 Appropriations Bill Proposes Funding for NIH, NIDCR and other agencies

Late last night the House and Senate Appropriations Committee released the Consolidated
Appropriations Act of 2014,
which provides proposed funding levels and report language for the remainder of fiscal year 2014.  Congress still needs to approve and vote on this legislation in order for it to become law.

First of all, thank you to all our advocates who responded to the AADR Action Alerts, contacted your Members of Congress, invited them to your campuses, wrote editorials and other activities that heightened their awareness of the importance of a strong biomedical research enterprise for America.  Your efforts were noted and against all odds, the Consolidated Appropriations Act contains a Labor-Health and Human Services (L-HHS) appropriations section.

Specifically, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 proposes to fund the National Institutes of Health at $29.926 billion and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) at $398.7 million, which is nearly a one billion dollar increase for NIH and an $11.7 million increase from the FY13 post-sequestration level for NIDCR. However, this is still $766 million below FY12 for NIH and $11.6 million below for NIDCR.  It is important to note that the approximate one billion increase provided to the NIH, “…(was) generally distributed proportionately among NIH Institutes and Centers.” The other additional amounts were added to the National Institute of Aging in recognition of Alzheimer’s research and also to other institutes in anticipation of research in connection to the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative.

Additionally, the explanatory statement accompanying the bill includes report language
encouraging the director of the NIH to make the development of alternative dental restorative materials a high priority.

“Dental Materials Research-The United Nations (UN) Environmental Programme, International Negotiating Committee completed deliberations in January 2013 on a global legally binding treaty on mercury. The UN agreement contains provisions for the reduction in the use of dental amalgam, as a mercury- added product, and calls for increased dental research into alternative materials. Given the global commitment to reduce all uses of mercury, the NIH Director is expected to make the development of alternative dental restorative materials a high priority.” (Joint Explanatory Statement, Division H-Depts. Of Labor-HHS-Education pg. 38)

AADR also advocates and tracks funding for a number of institutions.  Click here to view a detailed funding chart.

Other Important Provisions

  • The agreement proposes $32 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) oral health training program. Within the $32 million no less than $8 million is dedicated for general dentistry programs and not less than $8 million for pediatric dentistry programs. This section also prohibits health workforce funds to be used for section 340G-1, the Alternative Dental Health Care Providers Demonstration
  • The agreement includes funding for the early childhood caries initiative within the
    Indian Health Services.  According to the report language, “The Service is encouraged to work with the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and to consult with Tribes about increasing preventive dental care for children by bringing dentists and hygienists into BIE schools. The Service should continue to make significant strides towards completion of
    electronic dental records. The Service is encouraged to explore establishing a centralized credentialing system to address workforce needs similar to those of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, to consider a pilot program for the credentialing of dentists, and to propose funding for fiscal year 2015.”
    The Centers for Disease Control and
    Prevention (CDC) programs are directed to actively coordinate with the
    Institutes and Centers of the NIH to identify scientific gaps to accelerate
    understanding of diseases and their prevention knowledge across NIH and CDC
    research portfolios.
  • In accordance with a longstanding tradition funding is not directed to any specific disease research area. The NIH is expected to base its funding decisions only on scientific opportunities and the peer review process.
  • NIH is expected to maintain funding support for basic biomedical research.
  • The NIH Director shall provide a report on Core Techniques and Technologies for Advancing Big Data within 180 days of enactment to the House and Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • The NIH Director and IC Directors are directed to work with the other HHS operating divisions to establish a more systematic means of disseminating research results.
  • The NIH is directed to examine and produce a report on how the post peer review priority setting process, resource allocation process and the portfolio evaluation data and information to ensure that the priority setting process provides decision makers with answers to key questions such as: How the proposed activity
    significantly advances the body of biomedical science; How the proposed activity could contribute to expanding knowledge to improve human health; The relationship and impact of the proposed
    activity to the program goals and objectives; and how the proposed activity could impact the overall research portfolio of the NIH and the national research institute or center involved.
  • The NIH Director shall produce a report regarding the implementation of strategic planning. This report will include information about the prioritization process between rare and neglected diseases while also maintaining a focus balance between translational and basic bio-medical science; and how the plan is harmonized across the NIH ICs to ensure a balanced portfolio that is free of unnecessary duplication and takes advantage of cross-cutting bio-medical research.

For more Information: Click here to read the omnibus appropriations bill and here to read the joint explanatory statement.

What is Next? Today the House will vote on a short term continuing resolution funding the federal government through Jan. 18 to give Congress more time to vote on the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. AADR will keep you informed as this process moves forward.


Summer on the Hill #3: What We are Called to Do

Read the speech given by Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, to graduates at Harvard Medical School Class Day where he calls on graduates of medicine and dentistry to reach beyond the research and healing and to tackle broader issues in policy and advocacy. Written in the context of a moving and emotional experience in his life with a young troubled teen, this piece is sure to remind all of that which is bigger than each individual.


HRSA Seeking Supervisory Dental Officer

From the HRSA Division of Medicine and Dentistry, Oral Health Branch-

Dear Colleague,

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has just announced an opening for a Supervisory Dental Officer within its Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr), Division of Medicine and Dentistry (DMD).  For more information about this specific announcement and how to apply, please visit www.USAJobs.com and search for announcement number:  HHS-HRSA-DE-12-669783, or click on the following link:   http://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/PrintPreview/317354000.  This position is scheduled to close on June 4, 2012.

This is an exciting time in the Bureau with interest in aligning the workforce with the nation’s need for improved access to care.  The BHPr programs provide policy leadership and grant support for health professions workforce development – making sure the U.S. has the right clinicians, with the right skills, working where they are most needed.  The DMD serves as the Bureau lead in support and evaluation of medical and dental personnel development and utilization including, primary care physicians, dentists, dental hygienists, physician assistants, and other primary care specialties to provide health care in underserved areas.

Successful candidates will have a strong background and experience in oral health and dental workforce training and education programs, with a degree in dental surgery (D.D.S.) or dental medicine (D.M.D.).  They will have an ability to work collaboratively and have demonstrated the ability to manage complex programs of nationwide impact and significance.  Technical writing ability is required including the ability to state facts and issues in a manner that presents sensitive policy implications in clear terms for the action of program administrators.  Knowledge of Federal grant programs and public health dentistry is helpful.

IOM Report on Access to Oral Health Care Recommends Increased Research

In an event at the National Press Club, earlier today, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Committee on Oral Health Access to Services released its final report.  The study, sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration and the California HealthCare Foundation, finds that millions of Americans fail to receive adequate dental care because of “persistent and systemic” barriers to access.  The report makes six primary recommendations to increase access, notably calling for new measures of quality and efficiency as well as increased research leading to new methods of delivery and care. According to the report:

“The committee identified a deficiency in the collection, analysis, and use of data related to oral health. For example, the paucity of oral health quality measures limits the findings that can be drawn regarding the relationship between specific services and procedures and longer-term oral health outcomes. Congress, federal agencies, including HHS, and private foundations should support oral health research and evaluation of: new methods and technologies for the delivery of oral health care to vulnerable and underserved populations; measures of access, quality, and outcomes; and payment and regulatory systems.”

In its conclusion, the Committee calls on leaders at all levels of government to work in concert with the oral health community to implement report recommendations. At numerous points during the question and answer period, panelists were asked to address the likelihood of implementing its recommendations in a climate that is hostile to increased spending and new initiatives. Panelists stated a belief that existing federal agency funds within the public health portfolio could be realigned to support many of the suggestions offered by the Committee. However, they acknowledged that the current fiscal and political climate in Washington, DC pose yet another challenge to access.