Organizational Period (October 1965 to September 1968)

In October 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Public Law 89-239, the Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke Amendments. In this law, the DeBakey Commission's concepts of "regional medical complexes" and "coordinated arrangements" were replaced by "regional medical programs" and "cooperative arrangements," thus emphasizing voluntary linkages over mandatory ones. The National Advisory Council on Regional Medical Programs (RMP) met for the first time in December 1965. The advisory council was originally based in the National Institutes of Health (NIH). By April 1966, the first planning grants were approved by the National Advisory Council, and the first operational grants were approved the following February. When Surgeon General William H. Stewart made his first report on the program to the President and Congress in June 1967, forty-seven operational grants had been awarded and four RMP were already operational. In July 1968, the RMP were moved from NIH to the newly created Health Services and Mental Health Administration (HSMHA) as part of the Regional Medical Program Service (RMPS).