Tuesday, February 09, 2016 Rehab Research Bill Passes Major Hurdle in Senate APTA's efforts to support improvements in rehabilitation research just received a major boost by way of a US Senate Committee, which has completed the "markup" phase of a bill that would bolster research efforts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Next stop: the Senate floor. Titled the "Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at NIH Act," (S. 800), the bill passed through markup by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) with only minor changes. The Disability Rehabilitation and Research Coalition (DRRC) worked with NIH and the office of Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL), the bill's sponsor, to develop the necessary compromises. APTA is on the steering committee of DRRC, which is composed of over 40 organizations committed to promoting rehabilitation research. If signed into law, the bill would help better coordinate rehabilitation research across all institutes at NIH in several ways, including statutorily defining medical rehabilitation research to ensure continuity in the use of the word, and standardizing reporting mechanisms to enhance the coordination of research. The bill is based in part on recommendations from an NIH blue ribbon panel that was co-chaired by Rebecca Craik, PT, PhD, with members that included Anthony Delitto, PT, PhD, and Alan M. Jette, PT, PhD. The panel's recommendations, issued in 2013, were supported by APTA, with then-APTA President Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS, characterizing the findings as ones that reflect APTA's "core principles," and are "critical to meeting the NIH's mission and impacting society in a positive manner." The bill will join a package of Senate legislation that serves as a companion of the 21st Century Cures legislation (H.R. 6) on the House side that passed last year. Improvements to rehabilitation research and support of NIH work in this area are among APTA's public policy priorities.