Tuesday, March 18, 2008

House finds Alzheimer's bill unnecessary

While Alzheimer's Disease is a serious medical issue for Hawaii residents, House lawmakers today decided to defer a bill that would create a task force to study the feasibility of establishing an Alzheimer's research center under the the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).

Members of the Committees on Education and Higher Education felt that SB 2545 was missing an important piece of the puzzle -- communication with medical school officials, including JABSOMs newly appointed dean, Dr. Jerris Hedges, and interim dean, Dr. Gary Ostrander.

If made law today, the medical school would have a legal obligation to form a temporary Alzheimer's task force. The legislation would essentially force a working relationship between the Alzheimer's Association and the University of Hawaii without confirmed willingness from the medical school.

It was also pointed out that legislation was unnecessary because a task force could still be established with agreements between both entities and without the Legislature acting as the middleman. The bill lacked communication between the parties involved, prompting the committees to defer it indefinitely.

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