White House Office of Records Management Subject Files: Health (HE)

Health (HE) (3.4 l.ft.; Box 1-9)

This primary subject category contains material related to the Administration’s overall health policies; the prevention and control of disease; possible legislation defining death; hospital operations including some reimbursement issues for specific illnesses; policy, legislation and suggestions for containing health care costs; the 1984 Administration health incentives proposals for cost control; conducting research in biology and medicine (NIH program) and any related ethical problems; the report, Splicing Life, on genetic engineering; blood donations and the White House monthly blood drive; the U.S. blood supply, donations and AIDS; medical experimentation or transplantation of fetal tissue or organs; support and opposition to the omnibus health care funding bills; positions on the expansion of Medicare to cover catastrophic health care; meetings and exchanges with health associations especially the American Medical Association; minority health and minority health care providers; comments on smoking and tobacco use; annual reports from the Department of Health and Human Services; speech edits of Presidential messages on health; and messages from individuals regarding personal health issues.

Description of Secondary Subject Catagories

File Code Description Research
Availability
HE001

Diseases – Disabilities (4.8 l.ft.; Box 9-21)
This secondary subject category contains material related to requests for the President’s or the United State’s involvement with specific disease groups such as sickle cell anemia, epilepsy, Reye’s Syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and individual requests for help with transplants.  This category also includes reports on arthritis/diabetes/kidney disease and digestive; dyslexia; problems with vaccines; Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; the emergence of Acquired Immune Disease Syndrome (AIDS) in the 1980s; and developing Reagan Administration AIDS policy.

Open
HE001-01 Alcoholism (0.9 l.ft.; Box 22-24)
This secondary subject category contains material related to alcohol abuse education efforts; classifying alcoholism as a disease; programs to fight alcohol abuse; reports to Congress on federal alcohol-related activities; federal efforts to obtain a nation-wide legal drinking age of 21; children of alcoholics projects; dealing with drunk driving, including the grass-roots effort to toughen drunk-driving laws and enforcement, the formation of M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and Congressional and state based calls for treating drunk driving as a national crisis; and personal stories of tragedies related to alcohol abuse.
Open
HE001-02 Cancer (0.8 l.ft.; Box 24-26)
This secondary subject category contains material related to national efforts to find a cure for cancer; recommendations from individuals and groups to create a high-priority push to find a cure for cancer; possible loosening of regulations regarding warning labels of carcinogenic material; complaints about disability rulings regarding cancer patients; multiple requests for allowing and funding alternative treatments for cancer; multiple offers of cancer treatments outside of the medical mainstream; and individual stories of struggles with cancer.
Open
HE001-03 Heart Disease (0.4 l.ft.; Box 26-27)
This secondary subject category contains material related almost entirely to individuals needing a heart or heart/lung transplant and their needing financial assistance or help in finding a donor. A small portion of this material is related to alternative heart disease treatments; artifical hearts and their use as a bridge prior to transplantation; encouraging CPR training; types of pacemakers; implated auto defibrillators; creating a nationwide bank for heart donations; and Medicare's policy of treating heart transplants as experimental.
Open
HE001-04

Mental Disorders (0.7 l.ft.; Box 27-29)
This secondary subject category contains material related to mental illness and mental retardation. Material includes numerous requests from families, parents and/or care-givers for assistance in caring for their mentally handicapped or mentally ill relative. Requests are for financial assistance, requests to keep their relatives at home instead of institutionalized, slots in specific institutions, and pleas to save specfic programs. Material also includes requests for the Reagan Administration to coordinate a policy towards mental retardation and mental illness, and pressure states to have a policy rather than release mentally ill individiuals under their own power.

Material in this collection also includes multiple protests from individuals and groups dealing with the mentally ill or mentally handicapped in response to the U.S. Department of Justice amicus brief in the Halderman and U.S. v. Pennhurst case in the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In the 1984 case, the U.S. government argued that mentally ill or mentally retarded citizens were not guaranteed a right to placement in community programs under the U.S. Constitution, but were merely guaranteed their physical and mental safety within state institutions.

Many protesters also saw this as a step backward from the Baby Doe/Baby Jane Doe cases in the early 1980s. In these widely publicized cases, infants were denied needed medical treatment because they were mentally or physically handicapped. For more on the issue of infanticide in the 1980s, please see HE001-05

Open
HE001-05

Physically Handicapped (3 l.ft.; Box 29-35)
This secondary subject category contains material related to physically handicapped individuals, most notably, blind and deaf persons, persons with cerebral palsy and quad-/para-plegics. Material includes the Reagan Administration's unsuccessful effort to revamp handicapped "504" regulations; annual reposts from the Helen Keller Institution; accessiblity issues for handicapped individuals for bathrooms, buildings and airplanes; the National Year of the Disabled (1982); the United Nations Decade of the Disabled (1981-1990); and the U.S. Decade of the Disabled (1983-1992); support for deaf interpreters of President Reagan's speeches; closed captioning on television programs; the International Games for the Disabled; and numerous requests from handicapped individuals or their caregivers for financial assistance, programs, and/or specific equipment.

This category also contains material related to the most famous "infanticide" cases of the 1980s, the Baby Doe or Bloomington baby case and the Baby Jane Doe case. The Baby Doe Amendment was added to the Child Abuse Law in 1984 due to these cases which established legal procedures for dealing with handicapped infants despite the wishes of the parents. The Baby Doe case was a Blooimington, Indiana infant born with Down Syndrome whose parents declined fairly routine surgery to fix gastro-intestinal problems and the child died.

A similar situation occurred in 1983 involving a "Baby Jane Doe" born in New York City. Baby Jane Doe was born with spina bifida and other mental and developmental problems. Surgical closure of the spinal defect and reduction of fluid from her brain would prolong her life, but she would be bedridden, paralyzed, epileptic, and with serve brain damage. The parents consulted specialists, clergy, and social workers. They decided to treat the newborn with antibiotics and bandages, rather than surgery to repair the spinal defect.

A private "Right to Life" attorney stepped in to stop the hospial and the parents from withholding medical treatment from Baby Jane Doe. The withholding of treatment was also reported to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who reported child abuse to the New York State authorities and sued the hosptial for discrimination against the handicapped infant.

Open
HE002 Doctors, Dentists, Nurses (0.7 l.ft.; Box 35-37)
This secondary subject category contains material related to physician complaints about changes to Medicare fee structures, the fee "freeze," and fee amounts; requests for flexibility for physicians with obligatory assignments with the Public Health Service; legislation to address the nursing shortage in the late 1980s, deaf education, and federal physicians pay; the Department of Health and Human Services annual report on Health Professions and Services in the United States; problems attaining residencies for Americans educated in foreign medical schools; difficulties for foreign-born physicians in getting hospital privileges and residencies; malpratice law and tort reform; accusations of alleged malpractice against specific doctors; physician complaints about obtaining Drug Enforcement Agency ID numbers for dispensing certain prescriptions; and a minorities in health care report.
Open
HE003 Food - Nutrition (1.0 l.ft.; Box 37-40)
This secondary subject category contains material related to the Jimmy Carter Administration report on coming food shortages entitled Global 2000; infant formula marketed to developing countries; world food security; various local volunteer projects to provide food to homeless and needy; school lunches, and child nutrition; dietary guidelines; African famines of the 1980s and food assistance efforts; and the National Nutrition Monitoring Act.
Open
HE004

Health, Services (0.7 l.ft.; Box 40-42)
This secondary subject categoy contains material related to federal standards for health professionals and health facilities; cost containment issues and utilization review procedures; National Health Service Corps; creating national trauma units; pilot projects in health care and possible privatization of some aspects of health care; review of funding legislation for health care services; Medicare/Medicaid services and costs; public health clinics; and discussions of various individual illnesses and treatments.

Open
HE004-01 Chronic Diseases – Health of the Aged (3 folders; Box 42)
This secondary subject category contains material related to an offer from the American College of Nursing Home Administrators to provide guidance to the federal government on providing health care for the chronically ill and elderly; a Private Sector Initiatve partner program to provide health screening and advice to seniors; Governor Richard Lamm's explanation of his public remarks on technology outpacing quality of life; and concerns on avian flu and the ABC documentary, Growing Old in America.
Open
HE004-02 Environmental – Occupational Health (0.8 l.ft.; Box 42-44)
This secondary subject category contains material relating to requests for Black Lung disease benefits; support for the Black Lung disease benefits system; Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) regulations on asbestos; support for the Asbestos Workers Recovery Act; cotton dust standards, brown lung disease, ethylene dibromide (EDB - pesticide used on Medflies), chemical exposure; field worker’s sanitation; inspections of specific plants or workplaces, and work regulations; business opposition to the High Risk Occupational Disease Notification and Prevention Act and White House actions to help defeat this proposed legislation; safety of federal workplaces and annual reports to the President; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on EDB, asbestos (particularly in schools); establishing compensation for occupational diseases; risk management; and regulation overreach.
Open
HE005

Hospitals-Medicare (6.2 l.ft., boxes 1-16)
This secondary subject category contains material relating to the rising costs of health care for the elderly, lack of Medicare coverage for organ transplants, and financial burdens on families who are faced with a loved one’s terminal or debilitating illness; telephone records, tracking worksheets, and notes are also included.

Open
HE006 Medicines – Drugs – Serums Partial
HE006-01 Narcotics (17.7 l.ft.)
This secondary subject category contains material relating to the suggestions from local, state and non-governmental organizations on ways to combat drug trafficking and drug abuse; regional cooperation on drug crimes; requests for Mrs. Reagan's assistance with drug abuse prevention projects; descriptions of drug abuse provention projects; requests to re-establish the Office of Drug Abuse Policy; Exectutive Order 12368 re-establishing the Office of Drug Abuse Policy within the Office of Policy Development and establishing the Drug Policy Board; establishment and refinements of the Reagan Administrations' drug trafficking, drug abuse and drug abuse prevention policies; writing, editing and publication of the Federal Strategy for Prevention of Drug Abuse & Drug Trafficking, 1982, 1984 & 1986; statements and testimony by federal agencies, and the White House on drug abuse, prevention and trafficking; specific drug information, notably marijuana and cocaine; requests for military assistance in stopping drug trafficking and Posse Comitatus issues; NNBIS (National Narcotics Border Interdiction System); use of the herbicide Paraquat to spray marijuana fields and potential health hazards; creating drug free workplacces; mandatory drug testing of employees; law suits against drug testing; various drug abuse legislation and Administration positions on a "Drug Czar.'

Directors of the Drug Abuse Policy Office, Carlton Turner and Donald Ian "Mac" MacDonald used this category for filing some routine correspondence.

Open

HE007 Pollution Control – Sanitary Services (1.6 l.ft.) 
This secondary subject category contains material related to national environmental policy; suggestions for policies, actions and control of pollution; Presidential statements on the U.S. pollution policies; reports and complaints of various environmental problems from individuals, members of Congress, and local & state officials regarding noise pollution, toxic substances, and potential waste dumps; reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on their actions or anticipated actions; Executive Order 12316 regarding responses to environmental damage; support for noise pollution standards; assists in installing pollution controls or requests to bypass pollution controls; gasoline lead phase-out regulations; monitoring of Superfund sites such as Love Canal, Niagara Falls, NY, and the Times Beach, Missouri dioxin project; guidelines for lawsuits involving toxic materials; acid rain legislation and control plans; support and opposition for implementation of the Joint Report of the Special Envoys on Acid Rain recommendations; United States-Mexico environmental agreement; ozone depletion regulations; and public opinion polls on support for environmental actions and regulations.  

Any material on nuclear waste or the nuclear waste negotiator has been transferred to HE008 (Radiological Health).

Open
HE007-01 Air Pollution Partial
HE007-02 Sewage Systems Partial
HE007-03 Water Pollution – Water Purification Partial
HE008

Radiological Health

Partial

Research Availability:
Open - all records in the subject category have been processed and are available for research
Partial - some of the records in the subject category have been processed and available for research
None - no records in the subject category have been processed nor made available for research
N/A - no records in the subject category