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  • Washington Highlights

    Senators Support Health Workforce Programs in FY 18 Funding Letters

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

    Members of the Senate demonstrated support of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce programs in May 25 letters sent to the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee. Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) led a Title VII funding support letter and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) led a Title VIII funding support letter; each letter closed with twenty-nine signatories.

    Sen. Reed’s Title VII letter requests $336 million in funding for the health professions education and training programs. The letter was sent to Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and notes Title VII programs “have a longstanding history of increasing the supply of primary care professionals, expanding access to care in rural and urban underserved areas, and developing a workforce that reflects the nation’s diversity and the needs of patients.”

    The Senate Title VIII letter, also sent to Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray, requests $244 million for HRSA’s nursing workforce development programs. Sen. Merkley highlighted the importance of Title VIII programs noting, “[I]t is essential that communities across the nation have access to safe, high-quality nursing care. For over five decades, the Title VIII programs have been directly tied to this endeavor.” The letter also points to the over 61,000 students that Title VIII programs supported in academic year 2015-2016.

    The AAMC-coordinated Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) is recommending a total of $580 million for fiscal year (FY) 2018 for Titles VII and VIII. In contrast, the president’s May 23 budget proposed eliminating most of the HRSA workforce programs (see related story).