The AAMC joined more than 50 national organizations representing schools, programs, health professionals, and students in an Oct. 14 letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committees leaders. The letter urges appropriators to provide, at a minimum, the fiscal year (FY) 2016 funding levels for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs, including the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP), in the final FY 2017 Labor-HHS appropriations bill.
The letter, organized by the AAMC-convened Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC), urges the House and Senate to provide FY 2016 funding levels for the HCOP program. Both the House and Senate proposed eliminating HCOP in their respective spending bills. The letter notes that “HCOP is the only federal pipeline program for minority and disadvantaged students who want to become health professionals.”
Signatories to the HPNEC letter expressed appreciation to the House and Senate Appropriations Committee for proposing to shift the Behavioral Health Workforce and Education Training (BHWET) Program from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to HRSA, which HPNEC recommended to appropriators earlier this year [see Washington Highlights, April 22]. The letter adds, “[S]hifting these funds, and not at the expense of other Title VII and Title VIII programs, to HRSA will better align the other mental and behavioral health programs that operate under Title VII authority.”
The letter continues, “It is crucial that we enhance the federal commitment to the programs that equip the next generation of health professionals to keep up with the increasing health care challenges of a changing population.”