Devices & Diagnostics

NIH grant applications, doctor training, and CDC flu program slow or stop due to shutdown

Cancer research, some FDA plant inspections, and the annual flu tracking program have all stopped due to the federal government shut down.

Health agencies and services are all over this list of the 9 most painful consequences of a shutdown, including the flu monitoring program from the Centers for Disease Control and processing disability claims at Social Security and the Veterans Administration. Everything from money for research to work on HIT interoperability standards has stopped or dramatically slowed down due to the government shutdown. Here is a short list of what people and departments are affected by the shutdown.

Like their federal government colleagues across the country, workers at the National Institutes of Health showed up briefly this morning to clean up their desks and leave again due to the federal government shutdown. A graduate student working at the NIH was making contingency plans for her work:

Ashleigh Bouchelion, 25, said this shutdown could affect her ability to graduate. An Md/PhD student at Howard, Bouchelion is testing a new drug on rodents. The drugs affects last half a day, so the mice need constant monitoring – something she won’t be able to do after this morning.
“I have to teach a facility worker how to administer a drug, ” she said. The workers, who are not medically trained but essential employees, are typically responsible for feeding mice. ‘It’s the only way. I just hope something doesn’t go wrong.’

The Association of American Medical Colleges reminded politicians that the country’s more than 140 medical schools and some 400 teaching hospitals get funding from the National Institutes of Health. The shutdown will slow or stop active research. Training for doctors in residency programs and at children’s hospitals also be affected.

… we encourage policymakers to consider the dramatic impact that funding cuts to medical research and doctor training will have on the health of the country and the millions of patients who depend on the lifesaving research conducted at, and critical health care services provided by, the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals.

Here is a list of activities that have stopped at the Department of Health and Human Services.
NIH would not admit new patients (unless deemed medically necessary by the NIH Director), or initiate new protocols, and would discontinue some veterinary services. NIH will not take any actions on grant applications or awards.

CDC would be unable to support the annual seasonal influenza program, outbreak detection and linking across state boundaries using genetic and molecular analysis, continuous updating of disease treatment and prevention recommendations (e.g., HIV, TB, STDs, hepatitis), and tech nical assistance, analysis, and support to state and local partners for infectious disease surveillance.

AHRQ would be unable to fund new grants and contracts related to health services research initiatives, including research on improving patient safety and reducing healthcare – associated infections. In addition, the data collection and modifications to the household survey of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey would be stopped.

SAMHSA would be unable to monitor grants or contracts, including activities requiring on-site supervision.

CMS would be unable to continue discretionary funding for health care fraud and abuse strike force teams resulting in the cessation of their operations. Fewer recertification and initial surveys for Medicare and Medicaid providers would be completed, putting beneficiaries at risk of quality of care deficiencies.

FDA will be unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities. FDA will also have to cease safety activities such as routine establishment inspections, some compliance and enforcement activities, monitoring of imports, notification programs (e.g., food contact substances, infant formula),
and the majority of the laboratory research necessary to inform public health decision-making.

ONC will be unable to continue the Standards and Interoperability Framework activities as well as related standards and testing activities; policy activities such as privacy, security, and clinical quality measure development; and administration of the Certified Health IT Product List.