HELP Committee Approves Critical Bills to Enhance Public Health Programs (Sen. Mike Enzi)

Sen. Enzi is ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee.

I am pleased that the HELP Committee approved a series of bills to enhance the public health, including measures to expand breast cancer research, advance standards for medical imaging certification, help states develop systems of care for stroke patients, and three bills that focus on assisting pregnant women and children.

I applaud the Committee’s actions and I will work with my colleagues to make additional improvements to the bills before bringing them to the full Senate for debate.

The HELP Committee approved the following bills:

•    S. 579, Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act of 2007 -- Creates a national strategy to conduct research into the possible links between breast cancer and the environment, by establishing a peer-reviewed grant program within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Breast cancer is one of the greatest health challenges facing American women and their health care providers today.  Although we have come a long way in combating this disease, we are still far from where we’d like to be.  This bill will help us improve our understanding of possible environmental causes and potential methods of preventing breast cancer.

•    S. 999, Stroke Treatment and Ongoing Prevention Act of 2008 -- Establishes a grant program to enable states to develop systems of care for stroke patients.

When a life is on the line, stroke treatment is dependent on the systems of care that are available to the individual experiencing a stroke, and the timing in which he or she can receive that critical care.  This bill will go a long way toward helping states established coordinated stroke care systems so that Americans can receive the treatment they need, when they need it.

•    S. 1042, Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility and Excellence (CARE) in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Act -- Improves patient safety and health care quality by advancing standards for medical imaging certification.

For millions of Americans each year, the road to diagnosis, treatment, and healing begins in the radiology department.  The CARE Act will require education standards for the professionals that perform medical imaging and radiation therapy to ensure that they are properly trained.  This bill is vital to improving patient safety and health care quality.

•    S. 1760, Healthy Start Reauthorization Act of 2007 -- Reauthorizes the Healthy Start program to provide grants for health care services pregnant women and children, including prenatal care, genetic counseling, and ultrasound services.

The Healthy Start program provides vital services to mothers to reduce infant mortality rates and help ensure that children across the country are given a healthy start to life.  This strongly bipartisan reauthorization will build upon the successes of this program.

•    S. 1810, Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act -- Provides education materials to mothers receiving a positive diagnosis of a prenatally or postnally diagnosed condition, such as Down syndrome.

When an expectant mother finds out that her child will be born with a significant disability, she needs all the support and help we can provide to educate her and prepare her for life with her new child’s unique needs.  I am very pleased we were able to work through some concerns to reach an agreement on this important bipartisan bill.

The HELP Committee also approved the following nominations:

•    Jonathan Baron, of Maryland, to be a Member of the National Board for Education Sciences;

•    Frank Handy, of Florida, to be a Member of the National Board for Education Sciences;

•    Sally Shaywitz, of Connecticut, to be a Member of the National Board for Education Sciences;

•    Jamsheed Choksy, of Indiana, to be a Member of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities;

•    Gary Glenn, of Illinois, to be a Member of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities;

•    David Hertz, of Indiana, to be a Member of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities;

•    Marvin Scott, of Indiana, to be a Member of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities;

•    Carol Swain, of Tennessee, to be a Member of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities;

•    Julia Bland, of Louisiana, to be a Member of the National Museum and Library Science Board;

•    Jan Cellucci, of Massachusetts, to be a Member of the National Museum and Library Science Board;

•    William Hagenah, of Illinois, to be a Member of the National Museum and Library Science Board;

•    Mark Herring, of South Carolina, to be a Member of the National Museum and Library Science Board;

•    Javaid Anwar, of Nevada, to be a Member of the Truman Scholarship Foundation;

•    Neil Romano, of Maryland, to be Assistant Secretary for Office of Disability Employment Policy, Department of Labor;

•    Dr. Joxel Garcia, of Connecticut, to be Medical Director in the Regular Corps of the Public Health Service and Assistant Secretary of Health, Department of Health and Human Services;

•    Michael Duffy, of Washington DC, to be Chairman of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission; and,

•    Robert Cohen, of West Virginia, to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.