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H.R. 6164 (109th): National Institutes of Health Reform Act of 2006

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

1/15/2007--Public Law. National Institutes of Health Reform Act of 2006 - Title I: NIH Reform - (Sec. 101) Amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize and reorganize the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including by: (1) renaming NIH agencies as national research institutes or national centers; (2) establishing a Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (the Division); and (3) placing specified offices within the authority of the Division, including the Office of AIDS Research and the Office of Dietary Supplements. Allows the Director of NIH to establish additional offices or administrative units within the Division. Sets at 27 the maximum number of national research institutes and national centers that NIH may have. Authorizes the Director, with the approval of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to reorganize the offices within the Office of the Director if the Director determines that the management and operation of NIH programs and activities would be more efficiently carried out. Sets forth process for any future reorganization.

Requires the Secretary to establish an advisory council within NIH to be known as the Scientific Management Review Board to: (1) provide advice not less than once every seven years regarding the use of the authority to reorganize NIH; (2) determine whether and to what extent the organizational authorities should be used; and (3) issue recommendations. Requires that changes recommended by the Board be made, unless the Director objects. Provides for congressional review of any reorganization of NIH, including the addition or elimination of any national research institutes or national centers.

(Sec. 102) Requires the Secretary, acting through the Director, to: (1) be responsible for program coordination across NIH, including conducting priority-setting reviews, to ensure that NIH's research portfolio is balanced and free of unnecessary duplication and takes advantage of collaborative, crosscutting research; (2) assemble accurate data to be used to assess research priorities; (3) ensure that scientifically based strategic planning is implemented in support of research priorities; (4) ensure that NIH resources are sufficiently allocated for research projects identified in strategic plans; (5) identify research that represents important areas of emerging scientific opportunities, rising public health challenges, or knowledge gaps that deserve special emphasis and that would benefit from collaborative research or strategic coordination and planning; (6) have the authority to review and approve the establishment of all centers of excellence; and (7) oversee research training for all of the national research institutes and National Research Service Awards. Allows the Secretary, acting through the Director: (1) to conduct and support certain research training; (2) to reserve funds to provide for research on matters that have not received significant funding relative to other matters, to respond to new issues and scientific emergencies, and to act on research opportunities of high priority; and (3) to collect and retain registration fees obtained from third parties to defray expenses for scientific, educational, and research-related conferences, subject to appropriations Acts.

Requires the Director to establish the Council of Councils to provide advice on Division matters.

Prohibits the Secretary from approving or funding an approval of a research proposal that is subject to technical and scientific peer review unless a majority of the voting members of the appropriate advisory council or the Council of Councils have recommended approval of the proposal.

(Sec. 103) Authorizes appropriations for FY2007-FY2009. (Eliminates specified NIH authorizations of appropriations, including expired appropriations.)

Establishes the Common Fund for research identified by the Division. Requires the Director to reserve funds for such research. Requires the Secretary, acting through the Director, to report to Congress on a strategic plan for funding such research.

(Sec. 104) Requires the Secretary, acting through the Director, to: (1) establish an electronic system to uniformly code NIH research grants and activities; and (2) provide information on relevant literature and patents that are associated with NIH research activities, when permissible.

Requires the Director to biennially submit to Congress a report that includes: (1) a classification and justification for NIH agency priorities; (2) a catalog of all agency research activities; and (3) information presented in a standardized format.

Requires the Director to submit: (1) to the Secretary a report on NIH activities involving collaboration with other agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and (2) to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs an annual report that identifies each clinical trial that is registered in the clinical trial databank.

Requires the Secretary to submit to Congress an annual report that describes how NIH and its agencies store and track human tissue samples.

Requires the Director to submit annual reports to the Inspector General of HHS, the Secretary, and the relevant congressional committees that: (1) summarize NIH activities relating to whistle-blower complaints; and (2) identify the number of experts and consultants whose services are obtained by NIH or its agencies and describe the qualifications of and the need for hiring such experts and consultants.

Requires institutions receiving an award for training of graduate students for doctoral degrees to report to the Director on each degree-granting program.

Eliminates specified reporting requirements, including reports on: (1) the environmental factors contributing to breast cancer mortality rates, (2) the Secretary's expenditures with respect to AIDS; (3) aging research; (4) autism; (5) a longitudinal study on environmental influences on children's health and development; and (6) a study on muscular dystrophy.

(Sec. 105) Allows the Secretary, acting through the Director, to allocate funds for demonstration projects for biomedical research at the interface between the biological, behavioral, and social sciences and the physical, chemical, mathematical, and computational sciences. Requires the Secretary to establish goals, priorities, and methods of evaluation for such research and provide for interagency collaboration.

Allows the Secretary, acting through the Director, to allocate funds for demonstration projects for high-impact, cutting-edge research that fosters scientific creativity and increases fundamental biological understanding leading to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and disorders. Allows the head of an NIH institute or center to conduct or support such research with notice to the Director and annual reports on such activities. Requires the Director to give special consideration to coordinating activities with institutes whose budgets are substantial relative to a majority of the other institutes.

(Sec. 106) Requires the Director, in administering the Clinical and Translational Science Award, to establish a mechanism to preserve independent funding and infrastructure for pediatric clinical research centers.

(Sec. 107) Makes changes to provisions related to Board members of the Foundation of the National Institutes of Health. Allows NIH to accept transfers of funds from the Foundation. Removes a provision that prohibited amounts appropriated to the Foundation from NIH from being expended to establish or operate the Foundation. Increases the amount of funds that may be transferred from NIH to the Foundation.

Title II: Miscellaneous Provisions - (Sec. 201) Amends title XXI (State Children's Health Insurance) (SCHIP) of the Social Security Act to require the Secretary to redistribute unused allotments for FY2004 and FY2005 to states to eliminate estimated shortfalls. Sets forth special rules for such redistribution.

Sets forth reporting requirements.