The AAMC submitted comments on ways to support the health and research workforce on April 8 in response to a bipartisan request for information (RFI) from Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-N.C.) of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
Specifically, the senators requested information about addressing health care and public health workforce needs stemming from the pandemic, opportunities to encourage innovation to address worker and industry needs, and other potential reforms.
In the letter, AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, noted, “As our health and science workforce fight the current pandemic, while also addressing other existing and emerging threats, the AAMC urges Congress to consider opportunities to support and bolster our future health and research workforce.
The Senate HELP Committee can help equip federal agencies, our nation's medical schools, and teaching hospitals with the resources they need to lay the necessary groundwork to prevent or respond to the pandemic's recurrence, future public health emergencies, and provide the best cutting-edge care to patients across the country,” she added.
The AAMC highlighted opportunities in the following areas:
- Supporting the research workforce, including through passage of emergency supplemental funding for federal research agencies to mitigate the pandemic’s impacts on early-career investigators, women, minority groups, and the broader research enterprise [refer to Washington Highlights, Feb. 5].
- Training a diverse and culturally competent health workforce by increasing funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration Title VII workforce development programs [refer to Washington Highlights, April 2].
- Increasing investment in Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME), Children’s Hospitals Graduate GME, and Teaching Health Centers GME [refer to Washington Highlights, March 19].
- Increasing accessibility to student financial aid and establishing affordable student loan repayment options.
- Recruiting providers to rural, underserved, and nonprofit facilities through programs like the National Health Service Corps and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
In the RFI, the committee leaders described the effort as “the beginning of bipartisan discussions to support, update, and expand workforce training programs, support and expand the National Apprenticeship Act, and encourage innovation.”
In the coming weeks, Sens. Murray and Burr intend to bring forward “a bipartisan workforce package.”