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Eye on Washington

Free software for an electronic medical record, CME on CAM, West Nile virus returns

August: When government staffers breathe a sigh of relief! The weather may be miserable but no member of Congress is calling to complain that a constituent has been mistreated and no further markup of an appropriations bill is going to kill a cherished program. Why? Legislators have gone home for the August recess and won't be back until after Labor Day.

Before both houses left town, the Senate finally confirmed Lester M. Crawford, Jr., DVM, as head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Senators Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) lifted the hold they had placed on the nomination-appeased by a promise from Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt to have a decision from the FDA on over-the-counter status for the Plan B (levonorgestrel) emergency contraceptive by September 1.