Tag Archives: federal agencies

Survey of AHCJ members finds biggest access problems at federal level

Source: AHCJ member survey, 2016

Source: AHCJ member survey, 2016

Health journalists seeking information from government agencies often encounter obstacles, especially at the federal level, according to AHCJ’s recent survey. The biggest roadblocks involve delays, bureaucracy, scripted replies, and barriers to interviews, survey respondents said.

Three-quarters said it is difficult to get the information they need from the federal government, and two-thirds reported difficulty getting adequate responses from state government. Continue reading

Agenda indicates federal health priorities

This week, OMB Watch brought our attention to the recently released “Current Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions,” which serves as a sort of broad outline of the priorities of federal agencies.

It comes out twice a year, and OMB Watch found the latest edition to packed with health-related items from departments across the board. A few highlights, all summarized from the hard work of the folks at OMB Watch:

EPA Proposed labeling BPA and phthalates as “Chemicals of Concern” Proposed standards for “nanoscale materials” Updated air quality standards Department of Labor A prevention-oriented OSHA plan that would require employers to create and maintain plans to protect workers Proposal for limiting workers exposure to silica dust FDA For the first time, the FDA will begin asserting its newfound jurisdiction over tobacco.

OMB Watch points out that, while the agenda has not been a useful tool because agencies tend to miss the timelines, it “can be a useful planning and accountability tool to measure the Obama administration’s efforts to solve long-neglected health and safety problems.”

Latest regulatory activity just a click away

A new site could let you keep up with the latest regulatory action at your favorite federal agency with OpenRegs.com.

The site takes the Federal Register’s daily XML feeds and makes them accessible to everyone, allowing you to see the latest rulemaking activity and topics open to public comment by the federal government.

For example, on the page for the Department of Health and Human Services, you can see now that public comment is now being accepted about changes to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. There’s also a page for the Health Care Financing Administration, though it doesn’t look like there’s been any recent activity from that agency.

Other health topics available:

It appears there isn’t any activity for many of those topics but it’s worth keeping an eye on by subscribing to the RSS feeds so you’ll be alerted if there is an addition.

The site does note that it should not be a substitute for Regulations.gov, which is the official site run by the federal government and includes comments that have been filed.  “OpenRegs.com should serve as the launching pad, research portal, and discussion community for your regulatory adventures.”