November 27, 2004
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson
on Certificates of Need until new regulations, standards enacted
- Until new regulations and standards for the Certificate of
Need (CON) Program are developed and implemented, Health and
Social Services Commissioner Joel Gilbertson today declared a
moratorium on final actions on all pending and new CON applications.
A Certificate of Need is required
for certain health care facilities, such as hospitals, nursing
homes, residential psychiatric treatment centers, and imaging
centers; and requires justification for the need for the facility
in the healthcare marketplace. The CON Program is designed to
promote responsive health facility and service development, rational
planning, and cost containment. CON project reviews help ensure
that proposed services will be of good quality, acceptable to
the public, and will meet the public need while preventing excessive,
unnecessary, or duplicative development of facilities or service.
Projects that cost over $1 million are subject to the CON law.
"In recognition of the
inadequacy of current regulations, in fairness to all parties
who have submitted a CON application or may be prepared submit
an application in the near future, and in the interest of assuring
that all future CON decisions are made on the basis of current
best practices, I am declaring a moratorium on taking final action
on CON applications until such time as the new regulations and
standards are in place," said Gilbertson.
CON applications currently
in process or any new applications received during this period
will continue to be processed by department CON program staff
in accordance with state law. However, no final action on the
applications will be taken during the period of the moratorium.
"I cannot predict with
certainty when the new regulations will be effective, but my
expectation is that our current project now underway to develop
new regulations will be substantially complete by June 30, 2005,
the end of the current fiscal year," said Gilbertson. -
Saturday - November 27, 2004
bison decline found in ancient DNA by Carla Browning - Scientists
have published a study showing it was climate change, not overhunting
by man, that caused a major decline in bison over much of their
ice-age range, centered in Beringia. By extracting ancient DNA
from over 400 fossil bison - more than half from Alaska - the
researchers were able to reconstruct the population dynamics
of bison in North America over the past 130,000 years, including
the history of their migration, colonization and extinction.
UAF researcher Paul
Matheus holds the skull of a prehistoric steppe bison...
Photo courtesy University of AK Fairbanks
The study is led by scientists
at Oxford University's Ancient Biomolecules Centre. The recent
findings and their implications are the subject of an article
in the Nov. 26 issue of the journal "Science" titled
"Rise and Fall of the Beringian Steppe Bison." Paul
Matheus, a paleobiologist with the Alaska Quaternary Center at
the University of Alaska Fairbanks, is a co-author and provided
many of the Alaska samples and radiocarbon dates.
According to the authors, ancient
DNA shows that bison migrated from Asia to North America via
the Bering Land Bridge around 136,000 years ago, with their population
doubling about every 10,000 years. According to their findings,
"The analysis depicts a large diverse population living
throughout Beringia until around 37,000 years ago, when the population's
genetic diversity began to decline dramatically." - More...
Saturday - November 27, 2004