National Institutes of Health

Topics on this page: Summary of Activities that Continue | Summary of Contingency Staffing Plan

Summary of Activities that Continue

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) activities that will continue are largely centered on the ongoing operations at its biomedical research hospital, the NIH Clinical Center, to maintain safety and continue care of its patients. These patients are part of research focused on fostering fundamental creative discoveries, innovative research strategies, and improving human health.

NIH will provide basic care services to protect the health of NIH animals as well as retain staff to safeguard ongoing experiments or operations, and facilities and infrastructure

Summary of Contingency Staffing Plan

In the event of a lapse in appropriations, 4,325 (24%) of NIH staff will be retained, including one exempt (their activities or position are already funded or otherwise exempted) staff and 4,324 (24%) who are excepted (their activities are deemed necessary by implication, or for the safety of human life or protection of property).

Exempt Staff:

The one exempt NIH staff is the Presidentially-appointed Director of the NIH.

Excepted Staff:

A total of 4,324 (24%) NIH staff are considered excepted and can legally continue their activities in the absence of appropriations. These staff fall into three categories; 1) those whose work is necessary for the safety of human life, 2) those whose work is necessary for the protection of property, and 3) those whose work is "necessarily implied" from the authorized continuation of other activities or the need to phase down and suspend operations.

Excepted NIH staff will continue to perform vital tasks related to imminent threats to human health or life specifically by providing patient care. Patients receiving treatment at the NIH Clinical Center are participants in important investigational procedures, and often no other treatment options are available. Providing care to existing patients (inpatient and outpatient) will require the hospital to operate at least initially at approximately 90% of normal patient load. NIH will continue to provide the right amount and type of staff to ensure the proper care of its patients no matter the percent of patient load over time. The excepted staff in this category comprise the multidisciplinary patient care team needed for safe, effective and direct patient care and support.

Excepted staff will also continue activities ensuring the protection of government research property, animals, and inanimate property. Examples include the care and feeding of any animals associated with research activities and maintaining research property used for on-going medical experiments. These staff will also be responsible for maintaining cell lines and other invaluable research materials.

Additionally staff will also be considered exempt and continue to work if their duties are necessary to protect ongoing NIH experiments or operations, or if they are needed for the orderly phase down and suspension of non-funded activities. For example, NIH will retain personnel to maintain computerized systems supporting research and clinical patient care. The majority of these excepted staff will maintain the hospital data network, clinical research information system, picture archiving and communications systems, radiology information system, and other components directly related to the electronic patient medical record. A smaller group of excepted staff will continue to operate elements of the National Library of Medicine data center that interact with external biomedical databases essential for the provision of non-Federal health care. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Officers will also continue working under this exception

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