WASHINGTON — The government shutdown will have the National Institutes of Health turning away patients hoping for care from its hospital of last resort.
NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins estimates that each week of the shutdown would force the agency's renowned research hospital to turn away about 200 patients, 30 of them children, who want to enroll in studies of experimental treatments. Many patients seeking care at the NIH Clinical Center have exhausted other options.
Beyond NIH's campus, Collins says the shutdown comes on top of a historically bad year for research funding. The NIH lost $1.5 billion to spending cuts known as the sequester, meaning hundreds of projects around the country didn't get financed. It stands to lose $600 million more whenever the government reopens.