House Approves Committee Bills to Advance Research and Treatment of Rare Cancers and Pediatric Diseases, Assist Vets, and Protect Patients

September 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday evening, the House of Representatives approved four important pieces of legislation that will advance the treatment and research of rare diseases, create jobs for returning veterans, and provide necessary flexibility to current rules at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that will protect patients’ access to care.

The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, H.R. 733, directs the National Cancer Institute to establish a scientific framework with respect to research of recalcitrant cancers with low survival rates in order to advance diagnosis and treatment. The scientific framework will include a review of the current research, coordinate new initiatives, and identify unanswered medical and scientific questions. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network explains, “the bill will result in greater focus and accountability for pancreatic cancer and other recalcitrant cancer research supported by the National Cancer Institute.” H.R. 733 was approved by voice vote.

The National Pediatric Research Network Act, H.R. 6163, allows NIH to fund pediatric research networks comprised of a consortia of cooperating institutions that will cooperate in conducting research on conditions and diseases affecting children.  H.R. 6163 was approved by voice vote.

The Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act, H.R. 4124, would provide demonstration grants to states with a shortage of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to streamline state-licensing requirements for military veteran EMTs to prevent unnecessary duplication in training. The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians explains that the legislation “has the potential to help veterans return to work upon their completion of military duty and reduce unemployment among veterans.” H.R. 4124 was approved by voice vote.

The Taking Essential Steps for Testing Act, H.R. 6118, would give the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services much needed regulatory flexibility to enforce prohibitions against improper referrals of proficiency testing under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). H.R. 6118, which has received broad support from health associations, was approved by voice vote.