September 19, 2006

Wyden, Smith Secure $2.75 Million for Oregon Health, Education and Job Training Programs

Bill also requires National Institutes of Health to study affordability of Rx drugs

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) today announced $2.75 million in Federal funding for Oregon health and human services programs. These funds are included in the Fiscal Year 2004 omnibus funding measure that will now be signed into law by the president. The bill also requires a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study to consider the affordability of prescription drugs to American consumers when taxpayer-funded drug technologies are transferred to the private sector - as in the case of Taxol, a powerful anti-cancer drug originally derived from a tree found in Oregon. "From keeping rural nurses up-to-date in their profession to securing mental health programs, making prescription drugs more affordable and exploring new fields like nanotechnology, these funds will improve the daily lives of Oregonians and bring them better health, education and job opportunities," said Wyden. "Advancements in health services and education come at a critical time for Oregon," said Smith. "With this bill Oregonians will have more help providing a dependable level of assistance and social services." The following Oregon projects received funding. * Eastern Oregon University will receive $100,000 to help continue and expand its Rural Frontier Delivery (RFD) program, which provides educational resources and training for rural nurses. The program seeks to educate and place 18 new registered nurses in Eastern Oregon every year for the next five years. * Deschutes County will also receive $200,000 for much needed improvements to the La Pine Senior Center and for the development of a rural mental health program. * Southern Oregon University's AuCoin Institute for Ecological, Economic and Civil Studies will receive $75,000 to provide educational training to federal wildlife and resource employees and help them work more effectively with policy makers and the public. * Lane County will receive $75,000 to expand and enhance its public health facilities to become more fully capable of responding to public health crises, including acts of bioterrorism. * Asante Health System, a not-for-profit health care organization in Medford, will receive $75,000 to help implement a new technology system at its southern Oregon medical facilities to reduce medical errors and deliver health care more effectively in rural areas. * Relief Nursery, Inc. in Eugene will receive $80,000 to extend the Relief Nursery Model for therapeutic early intervention to underserved populations in the community. * Marion County will receive $100,000 for the collection, analysis and dissemination of infectious disease data, allowing improved tracking of infectious diseases and helping to protect public health. * Clatsop Community College in Astoria will receive $50,000 for technology and equipment upgrades so it can continue to improve training for skilled workers in the area. * The Columbia Gorge Community Health Care Occupations Career Ladder Program will receive $500,000 to support and improve its nurse training program. * The University of Oregon School of Music will receive $50,000 for the renovation and expansion of its facility. * The New Avenues for Youth Alternatives Education Center in Portland will receive $30,000 to expand enrollment and continue to help homeless youth achieve their educational goals. * Mt. Hood Community College of Nursing will receive $50,000 to help relocate its Associate Degree Nursing Program to the Center for Advanced Learning site, which will provide improved facilities and allow for increased enrollment. * The Oregon Institute for Technology will receive $50,000 to help establish the Center for Health Professions, improving and expanding training for healthcare workers. * The Oregon Health and Science Center will receive $300,000 for its Defense and Security Research Center, a research center for nano-sensors, sensing systems, smart maps, and other technologies. * The Hood River Integrated Technology Center will receive $50,000 to help develop an integrated curriculum and training program between the Technology Center and Columbia Gorge Community College instructors. * Klamath County Public Health Department will receive $50,000 to help relocate to a new, centralized facility that will include new programs for bio-terrorism detection and epidemiology. Tillamook Lightwave will receive $400,000 to provide broadband service to rural residents. Lightwave was formed by an intergovernmental agreement between the Port of Tillamook Bay, Tillamook County, and Tillamook Peoples Utility District. * ·The Oregon Community Health Information Network (OCHIN) will receive $50,000 to help expand its successful Community Health Center Practice Management Information System, which is helping to improve community health centers throughout the Northwest. * ·Clackamas County will receive $50,000 to help establish an Integrated Health Care Services Center that will serve residents in the eastern area of the county. * ·The Ochoco Community (Health) Clinic will receive $50,000 to improve services to Crook County residents. Additional Oregon projects funded under the FY2004 omnibus measure include: * Experience Works, Beaverton for the Rural Revitalization Through Technology Initiative ($25,000); * Institute for Retraining of Dislocated Workers, Southwestern Oregon Community College ($25,000); * Esther's Pantry of Metropolitan Community Church of Portland ($25,000); * Rural Health Association, LaGrande, Urgent Care/Family Practice Clinic ($50,000); * Tillamook County Library ($60,000); * Oregon Partnership, Portland, for a program to close the achievement gap for Hispanic students ($125,000); * For Us Northwest in Portland, a mentoring program for children with HIV/AIDS ($25,000); and * Chemeketa Community College for a high school equivalency program ($30,000) At Wyden's request, the legislation also requires the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to report to Congress on how it can or cannot ensure that taxpayer-funded drugs and inventions are offered to American health consumers at an affordable price. In the past, NIH has failed to make sure that consumers see price benefits for prescription drugs when the agency transfers taxpayer-funded drug technologies to the private sector. For example, NIH failed to raise the issue of affordability in three agreements with the manufacturer of the widely-used cancer drug Taxol - originally derived from the Pacific yew tree found in Oregon.