Congress Finalizes FY2012 Appropriations with a Decrease in Peer Reviewed Medical Research-vision Funding

Congress Finalizes FY2012 Appropriations with a Decrease in
Peer Reviewed Medical Research-Vision Funding

Legislative Update
December 19, 2011

On Friday, December 16 in the House, and Saturday, December 17 in the Senate, Congress voted to adopt the conference agreement (H.R. 2055, H. Report 112-331) for a nine-bill Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 spending package that finalizes the appropriations process, including defense appropriations. The agreement funds the Peer Reviewed Medical Research-Vision (PRMR-Vision) program at $3.2 million, a 20 percent cut from the FY2011 funding level of $4 million. This cut applied to most Defense Health Programs, except for orthopedics and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) research.

NAEVR had requested a funding level of $10 million and highlighted the need for this level of funding in featured articles in the October 10 editions of Military Times and USA Today.

Recently, NAEVR announced that its Board of Directors had approved funding for a study of the lifetime costs to the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and society of blindness and vision impairment as a result of battlefield injuries. NAEVR plans to release the study in first-quarter 2012 for use in FY2013 advocacy.

Despite the cut, NAEVR is encouraged that vision researchers may receive more than $3.2 million once the FY2012 program is fully implemented. For example, despite the $4 million FY2011 appropriation, the DOD’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) is supporting at least $8.7 million of awards, due to additional funding made available by other DOD programs as a result of the past quality and responsiveness of vision research proposals.