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Special Care Units for People With Alzheimer's and Other Dementias: Consumer Education, Research, Regulatory, and Reimbursement Issues
This report analyzes the available information about special care units for people with dementia. It discusses ways in which the Federal Government could encourage and support what is positive about special care units and at the same time protect vulnerable patients and their families from special care units that actually provide nothing special for their residents.
Remotely Sensed Data From Space: Distribution, Pricing, and Applications
This short background paper summarizes the discussion concerning data pricing and distribution from a one-day workshop convened by OTA on May 20, 1992.
Retiring Old Cars: Programs To Save Gasoline and Reduce Emissions
This report examines the costs and benefits of vehicle retirement programs. With regulation of new vehicles above the 90 percent control level for the major pollutants and scheduled to become even stricter in the near future, emissions from older vehicles have drawn increasing attention.
RA (Research Assistants) Handbook, June 1992
This handbook was created by the staff of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) for new Research Assistants, to introduce them to OTA policy and provide guidelines for Research Assistant activities.
Building Future Security: Strategies for Restructuring the Defense Technology and Industrial Base
This report elaborates on the findings of the earlier OTA publications and examines in greater detail the specific policy choices involved in restructuring the defense technology and industrial base (DTIB) over the next decade.
Disposal of Chemical Weapons: Alternative Technologies
This background paper briefly describes the Army’s chemical weapons destruction program, discusses the factors that could affect a decision to develop alternatives, discusses the alternatives, and illustrates the difficulty of gaining public acceptance of complex technical systems.
Identifying and Controlling Pulmonary Toxicants
This Background Paper examines whether the agencies responsible for administering Federal environmental and health and safety laws have taken this concern for respiratory health to heart. This paper provides a partial response to the committees’ request for an assessment of noncancer health risks in the environment and follows OTA’s previous work on carcinogenic, neurotoxic, and immunotoxic substances.
Lessons in Restructuring Defense Industry: The French Experience
This background paper first describes the structure and management of the French defense-industrial base and then reviews a variety of strategies the French Government and industry are pursuing to rationalize the base, while preserving key technological assets and strengthening the competitive position of French defense contractors in world markets.
Research Assistants Handbook
This manual was designed to guide research assistants new to the OTA. It was used alongside the OTA Employee Handbook and other introductory materials from the OTA Information Center. It covers life at OTA, basics about projects, office equipment and resources, contractors, and an introduction to the DC area. This is not an official OTA document; it was an unpublished office manual.
Building Energy Efficiency
This report focuses on energy use in buildings, which account for over one-third of all energy used in the United States. Significant energy savings in buildings are possible through the use of commercially available, cost-effective, energy efficient technologies; yet adoption rates for these technologies are often low. Interviews with industry, property managers, homeowners, and others were used to explore why technology adoption rates are so low. Past Federal efforts to encourage energy efficiency are reviewed, and policy options for encouraging the adoption of energy efficient technologies are discussed.
Combined Summaries: Technologies To Sustain Tropical Forest Resources and Biological Diversity
This report discusses how the loss of tropical forests and reduction in the Earth’s biological diversity has grown from development assistance concerns to themes of global debate during the last decade. At the same time that the value of biological resources to local communities and individual nations has become more fully appreciated, the connections between these resources and global environmental stability and economic development potential have been uncovered.
Evaluation of the Oregon Medicaid Proposal
This report discusses the Oregon legislature that passed the Oregon Basic Health Services Act in 1989, which established three mechanisms for increasing access to health insurance.
Finding a Balance: Computer Software, Intellectual Property and the Challenge of Technological Change
The report identifies three policy issues: 1) the appropriate scope of copyright protection for computer software; 2) patent protection for software-related inventions and algorithms, and how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will handle these types of applications; and 3) complications facing libraries and commercial and private producers and users of digital information, including computer-based mixed media products.
Home Drug Infusion Therapy Under Medicare
This report deals with the drug and biological infusion treatments (including blood transfusions) being used in the home but not yet explicitly covered by Medicare in that setting. Medicare does cover total parenteral nutrition (TPN) in the home for individuals with long-term disabilities that prevent them from being able to digest food. TPN has many similarities to the therapies discussed in detail in this report, and many providers of HDIT also provide TPN and other nutritional products and services.
The Menopause, Hormone Therapy, and Women's Health
This background paper describes what is known about the natural progression of the menopause and its effect on women’s health, hormone treatment and prescribing practices, alternative approaches, and research needs.
Trade and Environment: Conflicts and Opportunities
This background paper describes what appears to be an enlarging potential for conflict between the two, as reflected in disputes about the trade impacts of environmental laws and about the environmental impacts arising from efforts to liberalize trade and investment. The paper explores some trade and environment questions, especially from the context of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which provides a framework of rules governing most of the world’s trade.
Fueling Development: Energy Technologies for Developing Countries
This report examines the delivery of energy services in developing countries and how the United States can help to improve these energy services while minimizing environmental impacts, OTA examines the technologies and policies that will enable more efficient use of energy and the most promising new sources of energy supply.
Annual Report to the Congress: Fiscal Year 1991
This report describes the activities of the Office in Fiscal Year 1991 within the context of the legislative agenda of the 101st Congress and the events in the United States and the world during 1991.
Global Standards: Building Blocks for the Future
There are standards to protect the environment and human health and safety, and to mediate commercial transactions. Other standards ensure that different products are compatible when hooked together. This report is looking across industry sectors; it evaluates the U.S. standards setting process in the light of its changing economic and technological environment, and compares it to processes in other countries.
Managing Industrial Solid Wastes From Manufacturing, Mining, Oil and Gas Production, and Utility Coal Combustion
This background paper examines wastes generated by industrial activities that play a dominant role in our national economy-oil and gas production, mining and mineral processing, coal combustion, and manufacturing. In previous reports on municipal solid waste and medical waste, OTA examined other solid wastes not classified as hazardous.
After the Cold War: Living With Lower Defense Spending
This report focuses on ways to handle the dislocation of workers and communities that is, to some degree, inevitable in the defense cutback. It opens a discussion of how defense technologies might be converted to commercial applications. The second and final report of the assessment will continue that discussion and will concentrate on opportunities to channel human and technological resources into building a stronger civilian economy.
Forest Service Planning: Accommodating Uses, Producing Outputs, and Sustaining Ecosystems
This report on forest planning evaluates technological, biological, social, economic, and organizational dimensions of national forest planning. It discusses the agency’s planning technologies, the appeals and litigation processes, and the relationship between national planning under Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA) and forest-level planning under National Forest Management Act (NFMA).
Performance Standards for the Food Stamp Employment and Training Program
This report on proposed performance standards for the Food Stamp Employment and Training Program (FSET) responds to a mandate in the Hunger Prevention Act of 1988 (Public Law 100- 435). This report, then, goes beyond the original mandate and analyzes successful employment and training programs. Based on this analysis, the report identifies several alternative approaches to increasing the impact of FSET.
Testing in American Schools: Asking the Right Questions
In this report, OTA places testing in its historical and policy context, examines the reasons for testing and the ways it is done, and identifies particular ways Federal policy affects the picture, The report also explores new approaches to testing that derive from modem technology and cognitive research.
Finding a balance: computer software, intellectual property and the challenge of technological change
This report identifies three policy issues; 1) the appropriate scope of copyright protection for computer software; 2) patent protection for software-related inventions and algorithms, and how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will handle these types of applications; and 3) complications facing librar4ies and commercial and private producers and users of digital information, including computer-based mixed media products.
Fueling development: energy technologies for developing countries: summary
This report discusses the issues surrounding energy efficiency in developing countries. Explores the way in which developing countries meet their energy needs, and how that affects the political stability and broad-based economic growth.
NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications: Process, Priorities and Goals
This Background Paper summarizes a one-day workshop convened to assess the effectiveness of the planning and priority-setting mechanisms used by NASA’s Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA) in carrying out its diverse scientific program.
Personnel Service Manual
This is a personnel services manual, which includes areas of responsibility and services provided.
Quarterly Report to the Technology Assessment Board, October 1 - December 31, 1991
This is a quarterly report detailing the budget and progress of the Office of Technology Assessment.
Technology Against Terrorism: Structuring Security
This report is devoted primarily to three other topics: interagency coordination of efforts in counterterrorist research and development, integrated security systems, and the role of human factors in aviation security. In addition, it furnishes details on a number of technologies that play a role in counterterrorism.
Review of a Protocol for a Study of Reproductive Health Outcomes Among Women Vietnam Veterans
This report discusses the study that has been proposed as a partial response to the mandate of Public Law 99-272; that law also requires approval from the Director of OTA before any such studies are undertaken, which is the reason for this review. This study is one of three that make up the full VA response to the mandate to look into the health of women Vietnam veterans.
The 1992 World Administrative Radio Conference: Issues for U.S. International Spectrum Policy
This report examines the U.S. preparations process for WARC-92, highlighting efforts to integrate the needs and concerns of various interest groups. It also reviews the forces and trends affecting the United States as it approaches WARC-92, and is intended to inform future congressional oversight of the domestic and international radio communication policy process.
Dioxin Treatment Technologies
This paper presents the status of national efforts to cleanup dioxin-contaminated sites and the technologies that have been used, proposed, and researched. It covers thermal and nonthermal treatment techniques as well as approaches such as stabilization and storage. It discusses the development of these technologies as well as advantages and disadvantages of their use.
The FBI Fingerprint Identification Automation Program: Issues and Options
This report focuses on key assumptions that will affect the sizing and procurement of the new FBI system, and on other related steps that appear necessary to ensure complete and up-to-date record systems. These include full implementation of a Federal/State/local partnership for maintaining and exchanging fingerprint and criminal history records; enactment of an interstate compact or Federal legislation setting out uniform rules for the exchange of such records; standards and funding for improving criminal history record completeness and disposition reporting; and privacy and security protections for electronic fingerprint and record information.
HIV in the Health Care Workplace
This background paper examines evidence of the risk of HIV transmission in the health care workplace and discusses the policy implications of CDC guidelines and congressional actions in response to this risk.
Miniaturization Technologies
This report analyzes various technologies that may be important for future advances in miniaturization. Current research in the United States and other nations is pushing the limits of miniaturization to the point that structures only hundreds of atoms thick will be commonly manufactured. Researchers studying atomic and molecular interactions are continuing to push the frontiers, creating knowledge needed to continue progress in miniaturization. Scientists and engineers are creating microscopic mechanical structures and biological sensors that will have novel and diverse applications.
Adolescent Health, Volume 2: Background and the Effectiveness of Selected Prevention and Treatment Services
The report responds to the request of numerous Members of Congress to review the physical, emotional, and behavioral health status of contemporary American adolescents, including adolescents in groups who might be more likely to be in special need of health-related interventions: adolescents living in poverty, adolescents from racial and ethnic minority groups, Native American adolescents, and adolescents in rural areas.
American Military Power: Future Needs, Future Choices
This background paper outlines some of the issues of importance for making choices about the future nature and role of U.S. armed forces, and suggests how these choices will affect defense base requirements. The final report of the assessment, to be delivered in the spring of 1992, will address specific policy options arising from the strategic choices and tactical decisions discussed here.
Biotechnology in a Global Economy
This report examines the impact of biotechnology in several industries, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, agriculture, and hazardous waste clean-up; the efforts of 16 Nations to develop commercial uses of biotechnology; and the actions, both direct and indirect, taken by various governments that influence innovation in biotechnology.
Biotechnology in a global economy : summary
This report examines the impact of biotechnology in several industries including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, agriculture and hazardous waste clean-up.
Competing Economies: America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim
This report examines how the economic environment of the United States can be made more conducive to improving manufacturing performance. It considers how Federal institutions, in cooperation with industry, can develop competitiveness strategies for high-tech, fast growing industries; and how trade, financial, and technology policies could be combined into a strategic competitiveness policy.
Improving Automobile Fuel Economy: New Standards, New Approaches
This OTA report responds to a request by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to examine the fuel economy potential of the U.S. fleet and to assist Congress in establishing new fuel economy standards.
Screening Mammography in Primary Care Settings: Implications for Cost Access and Quality
This staff paper examines the implications for cost and quality, as well as for access to mammography, of expanding the supply of mammographic services in the primary care setting. The special issues raised by third-party businesses that package mammography services for primary care physicians are also discussed.
U.S. Oil Import Vulnerability: The Technical Replacement Capability
This report examines the changes that have taken place in world oil markets and the U.S. economy since 1984 and provides revised estimates of the technical oil replacement potential that might be attained in the event of a severe and long lasting cutoff of imported oil. The report presents a variety of policy options that could help accelerate the adoption of oil replacement technologies in preparation for, or in response to, a severe supply disruption, or as part of a long-term national policy to reduce import vulnerability y.
Biological Rhythms: Implications for the Worker
This report discusses biological rhythms: what they are, how they are controlled by the brain, and the role they play in regulating physiological and cognitive functions. The major focus of the report is the examination of the effects of nonstandard work hours on biological rhythms and how these effects can interact with other factors to affect the health, performance, and safety of workers.
Global Arms Trade: Commerce in Advanced Military Technology and Weapons
This report, the final product of OTA’s assessment on international collaboration in defense technology, explores the form and dynamics of the international defense industry, the intricacies of technology transfer and equipment sales, and the implications for U.S. policy.
Medical Monitoring and Screening in the Workplace: Results of a Survey
This OTA Background Paper presents the results of a survey of 1,500 U.S. companies, the 50 largest utilities, and the largest unions. The survey was designed to obtain information about the types of medical monitoring and screening done in the United States and the extent of their use. OTA finds that virtually all large U.S. employers use some of these tests.
New Opportunities for U.S. Universities in Development Assistance: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environment
This background paper discusses the legacy of 40 years of U.S. university/AID collaboration, and examines new opportunities for U.S. university participation in development assistance.
New Ways: Tiltrotor Aircraft and Magnetically Levitated Vehicles
Common issues for these systems include their possible contributions to improving mobility in congested corridors, U.S. technology leadership, the Federal role in transportation research and development, and institutional and community barriers to major, new infrastructure programs. Moreover, some Federal financing is likely to be required if commercial maglev or tiltrotor technologies are to be developed by U.S. industry over the next decade. Congress will need to clarify its objectives for supporting or encouraging these technologies before it can make wise decisions on when or whether to undertake substantial, long-term Federal programs in support of either or both of them. This report identifies several funding and management options for consideration if such goals are established.
Automated Record Checks for Firearm Purchasers: Issues and Options
This report assesses the proposals and prospects for automated checks, ranging from the point-of-sale “instant” check now used by the State of Virginia, to the establishment of a computerized national felons file, to live scanning of fingerprints, or the issuance of ‘smart’ cards to identify firearm purchasers. It considers the benefits, costs, and risks of automated checks. The report examines the relationship between automated record checks and waiting periods, the wide variability in State criminal record systems, and the challenges of improving the automation and quality of record systems.