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  • Washington Highlights

    Workforce Diversity Briefing Highlights Proposed Budget Cuts

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

    The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) March 16 hosted a congressional briefing titled Diversifying the Healthcare Workforce. The briefing fell in the shadow of President Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 “skinny budget” that proposes to “Eliminate $403 million in health professions and nursing training programs, which lack evidence that they significantly improve the Nation’s health workforce” [see related story].

    In a March 16 statement on the president’s budget blueprint, AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, noted that “eliminating more than $400 million in health professions and nursing training programs would jeopardize efforts to foster a diverse workforce and to enhance culturally competent care for the most vulnerable patients. HRSA’s workforce development and community-based training programs have demonstrated effectiveness in recruiting underrepresented and disadvantaged students and improving the distribution of health care professionals.”

    The NHMA briefing featured representatives from the AAMC, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Health Taskforce, National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians, and National Medical Association, who focused on improving the diversity pipeline, the impact of the proposed budget, and coverage and health equity concerns related to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) [see Washington Highlights, March 10].

    AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, presented AAMC’s updated physician workforce shortage projections, which “continue to align with previous estimates, showing a projected shortage of between 40,800 and 104,900 doctors.” Additionally, she highlighted AAMC’s commitment and efforts to advance diversity and inclusion in health care, such as the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP).

    Ms. Fisher also described AAMC’s recent advocacy on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [see Washington Highlights, Dec. 16, 2016], physician immigration [see Washington Highlights, March 10], and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Titles VII and VIII health professions education and training programs [see Washington Highlights, Feb. 24].