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  • Washington Highlights

    Health Professions Community Sends Letter Requesting a Bipartisan Budget Agreement

    Matthew Shick, Sr. Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs

    The AAMC-led Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC), a group of over 60 national organizations representing schools, students, communities, and health professions, sent an Oct. 30 letter urging House and Senate leadership to come to “a bicameral, bipartisan budget agreement that raises the non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending cap and enables the $551 million investment in HRSA Title VII and VIII programs approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this year.”

    The letter describes the importance of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs in alleviating workforce shortages and addressing pressing public health concerns. The House Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2018 (H.R. 3354) proposed $91 million in cuts to the Title VII and VIII workforce programs.

    Although the letter acknowledges that the Senate bill (S. 1771) provides full funding for the programs in fiscal year 2018, the letter also expresses concern about final allocations, noting, “We are concerned, however, that without relief from sequestration, final funding for critical programs under Title VII and VIII may be greatly impacted. As our country faces a growing provider shortage, an aging and diversifying population with unique health needs, and public health threats like natural disasters and the opioid crisis, we must continue to invest in workforce programs that recruit, support, and train health professionals who are able to respond to these pressing concerns. ”