The AAMC joined a Friends of VA Medical Care and Health Research (FOVA) coalition letter on May 21 urging Congress to provide at least $50 million in supplemental funding for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) research to support COVID-19 research efforts in future COVID-19 supplemental funding packages. The AAMC is a member of the FOVA executive committee.
Nearly 100 national academic, medical, and scientific societies; health and patient advocacy groups; and veteran-focused associations joined the letter to leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies in support of the recommendation.
The coalition thanked appropriators for recent investments in the VA Medical and Prosthetic Research program but reminded members that the fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bill included $50 million in rescissions, which “not only impedes VA research in all priority areas, … but is also especially detrimental coming just months before the nation began its fight against the relentless coronavirus pandemic.”
Supplemental funding to the VA research program would support immediate COVID-19-related research efforts, including new research projects and clinical trials designed specifically to address the effects of COVID-19 on the veteran population. “With nearly 13,000 documented COVID-19 cases to date, it is critical that the VA research program is equipped to support front line research efforts to protect a veteran population that is disproportionately older and suffers from preexisting conditions,” the letter said.
The letter also reminded appropriators of FOVA’s FY 2021 recommendation of $860 million for VA research “to restore the investment in veteran-centric research to a trajectory of meaningful growth above inflation and renewed investment in groundbreaking medical research.”