Note: GAO Reports are no longer being posted to FTR on a daily basis

March 24, 2015 Comments off

In lieu of daily postings of Government Accountability Office reports, we’ve incorporated the GAO RSS feed into FullTextReports.com so you can see them as soon as they are publicly released. Scroll down; the feed is on the right-hand side in between the RSS feed from INFOdocket and the master list of categories on FullTextReports.com.

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Categories: admin - FTR

Note to FullTextReports followers…

September 11, 2013 Comments off

Some of the papers and reports posted on FullTextReports.com are freely available online for just a limited time before they disappear behind a paywall (or go away entirely). If you see something you suspect might be useful to you (or a colleague) in the future, download it the day you see it because it may not be accessible later without a subscription (or it may have been moved or taken offline). FullTextReports.com provides links only and does not archive papers and reports.

Also note: FullTextReports.com includes documents from a wide range of organizations, many of which exist to promote a specific agenda. The serious researcher may want to do a little checking around before relying on information in reports issued by entities whose mission is…unfamiliar.

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Categories: admin - FTR

CRS — Health Care for Veterans: Traumatic Brain Injury (March 9, 2015)

March 31, 2015 Comments off

Health Care for Veterans: Traumatic Brain Injury (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Homeland Security Digital Library)

In recent years, Congress, the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have increased attention to traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is known as a “signature wound” of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF). Although the early stages of TBI treatment may occur within the military health care system (if the injury occurs during military service), this report focuses on the VA health care system. In FY2015, VA spending for TBI is estimated to be $234 million. The VA projects the 10-year (FY2016–FY2025) costs of TBI to be $2.2 billion (including $0.5 billion for OEF/OIF veterans).

The type of treatment needed depends on the severity of the injury. Most cases of mild TBI— representing the majority of injuries—resolve without medical attention. Moderate or severe TBI requires immediate treatment. In the case of servicemembers, treatment begins at the site of the event and continues at a military treatment facility. Once stabilized, servicemembers may remain at a military treatment facility or be sent to VA medical facilities.

CRS — Legal Issues with Federal Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food: In Brief (August 28, 2014)

March 31, 2015 Comments off

Legal Issues with Federal Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food: In Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

Genetically engineered (GE) foods, sometimes referred to as genetically modified foods (GMO foods), are foods that are derived from scientific methods used to introduce new traits or characteristics to an organism. The labeling of GE foods has been the subject of debate among members of the general public and federal and state governments since the introduction of GE foods to the food supply in the 1990s.

Federal law does not impose specific labeling requirements on a food just because it may or may not contain GE ingredients or was derived using GE techniques. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to issue formal regulations and policies on the labeling of GE food. However, this absence of direct federal regulation does not mean that GE foods are free from any federal oversight. Instead, labels of GE foods follow the same federal labeling requirements and guidelines outlined in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) as non-GE foods. These labeling requirements prohibit false or misleading labels and address material information that may be relevant to the consumption of that food. However, some states have enacted laws that specifically demand manufacturers disclose the presence of GE ingredients in certain foods on the label.

CRS — Homeland Security Appropriations: FY2015 Action in the 114th Congress (March 16, 2015)

March 31, 2015 Comments off

Homeland Security Appropriations: FY2015 Action in the 114th Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report provides a brief outline of the FY2015 annual appropriations measure for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its enactment by the 114th Congress. It serves as a complement to CRS Report R43796, Department of Homeland Security: FY2015 Appropriations.

Navigating Controversy as a Complex Search Task

March 31, 2015 Comments off

Navigating Controversy as a Complex Search Task
Source: Microsoft Research

Seeking information on a controversial topic is often a complex task, for both the user and the search engine. There are multiple subtleties involved with information seeking on controversial topics. Here we discuss some of the challenges in addressing these complex tasks, describing the spectrum between cases where there is a clear right answer, through fact disputes and moral debates, and discuss cases where search queries have a measurable effect on the well-being of people. We briefly survey the current state of the art, and the many open questions remaining, including both technical challenges and the possible ethical implications for search engine algorithms.

An explanation and analysis of how world religions formulate their ethical decisions on withdrawing treatment and determining death

March 31, 2015 Comments off

An explanation and analysis of how world religions formulate their ethical decisions on withdrawing treatment and determining death
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Introduction
This paper explores definitions of death from the perspectives of several world and indigenous religions, with practical application for health care providers in relation to end of life decisions and organ and tissue donation after death. It provides background material on several traditions and explains how different religions derive their conclusions for end of life decisions from the ethical guidelines they proffer.

Methods
Research took several forms beginning with a review of books and articles written by ethicists and observers of Bön, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous Traditions, Islam, Judaism, Shinto and Taoism. It then examined sources to which these authors referred in footnotes and bibliographies. In addition, material was gathered through searches of data bases in religious studies, general humanities, social sciences and medicine along with web-based key word searches for current policies in various traditions.

Results
Religious traditions provide their adherents with explanations for the meaning and purpose of life and include ethical analysis for the situations in which their followers find themselves. This paper aims to increase cultural competency in practitioners by demonstrating the reasoning process religions use to determine what they believe to be the correct decision in the face of death.

Conclusion
Patterns emerge in the comparative study of religious perspectives on death. Western traditions show their rootedness in Judaism in their understanding of the human individual as a finite, singular creation. Although the many branches of Western religions do not agree on precisely how to determine death, they are all able to locate a moment of death in the body. In Eastern traditions personhood is not defined in physical terms. From prescribing the location of death, to resisting medical intervention and definitions of death, Eastern religions, in their many forms, incorporate the beliefs and practices that preceded them. Adding to the complexity for these traditions is the idea that death is a process that continues after the body has met most empirical criteria for determining death. For Hinduism and Buddhism, the cessation of heart, brain and lung function is the beginning of the process of dying—not the end.

Searching for Explanations: How the Internet Inflates Estimates of Internal Knowledge

March 31, 2015 Comments off

Searching for Explanations: How the Internet Inflates Estimates of Internal Knowledge (PDF)
Source: Journal of Experimental Psychology

As the Internet has become a nearly ubiquitous resource for acquiring knowledge about the world, questions have arisen about its potential effects on cognition. Here we show that searching the Internet for explanatory knowledge creates an illusion whereby people mistake access to information for their own personal understanding of the information. Evidence from 9 experiments shows that searching for information online leads to an increase in self-assessed knowledge as people mistakenly think they have more knowledge “in the head,” even seeing their own brains as more active as depicted by functional MRI (fMRI) images.

Audit of VA’s Drug-Free Workplace Program

March 31, 2015 Comments off

Audit of VA’s Drug-Free Workplace Program
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General

We conducted this audit to assess how effectively VA’s Drug-Free Workplace Program identifies and addresses illegal drug use among VA employees. VA needs to improve management of its Drug-Free Workplace Program. VA selected about 3 of every 10 applicants for pre employment drug testing before hiring these individuals into Testing Designated Positions (TDPs) in fiscal year (FY) 2013. We estimate that of the nearly 22,600 individuals VA reported hiring into TDPs in FY 2013, about 15,800 were hired without a pre-employment drug test. VA facilities tested about 68 percent of the 3,420 employees selected for random drug testing in FY 2013. We identified at least 19,100 employees in TDPs who were not subject to the possibility of monthly random drug testing.

In addition, VA erroneously designated as many as 13,200 employees in non-TDPs for drug testing in FY 2014. Further, only 17 (33 percent) of the 51 employees who tested positive for drugs as a result of reasonable suspicion of on-the-job drug use or after a workplace accident or injury were referred to VA’s Employee Assistance Program.

These issues occurred because VA does not support that all tentative selectees for TDPs need to be drug tested before being hired. VA also does not effectively monitor local facility compliance with random employee drug testing requirements. Furthermore, VA lacks adequate oversight to ensure the accuracy of drug testing data and that consistent personnel actions are taken when employees test positive for drugs. As a result, VA has little assurance that this program is performing as intended to identify and eliminate illegal drug use in its workforce.

Since VA’s workforce is expected to grow significantly with the passage of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, VA needs to take actions to address weaknesses in its Drug-Free Workplace Program immediately. We recommended the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources Management implement processes to ensure full compliance with VA’s pre-employment applicant drug testing and random employee drug testing requirements, and improve program integrity by ensuring the accurate coding of employees in TDPs.

The Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources Management concurred with our recommendations and provided an acceptable action plan. We will follow up on the implementation of the corrective actions.

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