The more than 90 members of the AAMC-led Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) submitted a letter on March 31 to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies recommending an investment of at least $1.51 billion for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII and Title VIII programs, doubling its current funding levels.
The letter stated, “We appreciate that Congress has allocated modest increases for a handful of Title VII and Title VIII programs in recent years; however, most programs, including certain health diversity workforce programs, have been flat-funded. The coalition's proposed increase will help HRSA address health inequities and patients' evolving needs across America, especially as the current and future health care workforce remains on the frontlines of the COVID-19 public health emergency.”
The HRSA Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development and diversity pipeline programs increase the supply, distribution, and diversity of the health care workforce, reaching over 400,000 direct participants. These programs improve access to and quality of care for vulnerable populations — including children and families living on low incomes and in rural and underserved communities.
With the COVID-19 pandemic having a disproportionate impact on minority and other disadvantaged communities, HPNEC highlighted the need to increase funding for programs such as Centers of Excellence and the Health Careers Opportunity Program, which help recruit, train, and retain a diverse and culturally competent health care workforce.
“A diverse health care workforce improves access to care, patient satisfaction, and the learning environment. Studies show that Title VII and Title VIII programs lead to increasing the number of underrepresented students enrolling in health professions schools, heightening awareness of factors contributing to health disparities, and attracting health professionals more likely to treat underrepresented patients,” the coalition highlighted.