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Learn about policy issues important to medical schools and teaching hospitals, with Executive Vice President Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.

Washington Highlights

HHS Releases Spending Plans for the Current Fiscal Year

May 20, 2011—Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies May 13 submitted to Congress their operating plans detailing FY 2011 funding for individual programs, as required by the enacted FY 2011 spending package (P.L. 112-10) [see Washington Highlights, April 15]. The plans mark the culmination of contentious Congressional debates over FY 2011 spending that extended six months into the fiscal year, brought the federal government on the verge of a shut-down, and ultimately resulted in billions of dollars worth of cuts to federal agencies.

National Institutes of Health (NIH): For NIH, the spending plan indicates an overall program level for FY 2011 of $30.926 billion, a $317 million (1.0 percent) cut from FY 2010. The program level includes $30.688 billion in funds appropriated through the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations subcommittee, a $79 million transfer from the Interior subcommittee to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, $150 million in mandatory appropriations for Type I diabetes research, and $8.2 million in program evaluation funds transferred to the National Library of Medicine. The spending plan provides institute and center (IC) specific funding levels that reflect a $210 million reduction from FY 2010 applied across all ICs and a 0.2 percent across-the-board cut imposed on most domestic programs. The final spending bill also cut NIH’s intramural buildings and facilities account by $49.9 million (50 percent).

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): Tasked with implementing a $1.2 billion (16.3 percent) cut, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) operating plan specifies $268.4 million for the children’s hospitals graduate medical education (CHGME) program, a $48.5 million (15.3 percent) cut below FY 2010. AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., issued a May 19 statement noting that “At a time when the nation faces a critical doctor shortage and more Americans are about to enter the health insurance system, any cuts to funding that supports physician training will have serious repercussions for America’s health.” He also noted that “The loss of vital CHGME payments runs counter to the need to strengthen the physician workforce—particularly for primary care—and to ensure access to necessary, high quality specialty care.”

The plan provides $272.5 million for the Title VII health professions programs, an $18.5 million (7.3 percent) increase due to an expected transfer of $20 million from the Prevention and Public Health Fund for public health and preventive medicine workforce training programs. Within the Title VII total, primary care medicine programs receive a $113,000 (0.29 percent) increase, while all other programs are cut between 0.36 and 0.63 percent. Title VIII nursing education programs receive $241.4 million, a $1.5 million (0.61 percent) cut below FY 2010.

For National Health Service Corps (NHSC), the plan provides $314.8 million, a $173.4 million (123 percent) increase. HRSA opts to fund NHSC primarily through $290 million in mandatory appropriations provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152), instead of discretionary appropriations from the FY 2011 spending package, resulting in a $116.6 million cut in discretionary funds for the Corps.

The funding levels in the plan track closely with materials released by House lawmakers proposing a $164 million cut to HRSA’s Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr), the arm of the agency that administers Title VII, Title VIII, and CHGME. The AAMC had joined 120 organizations and institutions on an April 25 letter urging HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., to reject the proposed cuts [see Washington Highlights, April 29]. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) led a letter, also to Secretary Sebelius and Dr. Wakefield, urging them to prioritize funding for the BHPr programs in FY 2011. Rep. Jackson was joined in the effort by House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee members Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), along with Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Lois Capps (D-Calif.), Donna Christensen (D-V.I.), and Mike Honda (D-Calif.).

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ): As specified in P.L. 112-10, the spending plan provides $372 million in appropriated funding for AHRQ, a $25 million (6.4 percent) cut. The operating plan also reflects an expected transfer to AHRQ of $12 million from the Prevention and Public Health Fund and $8 million from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund, both established in the ACA, bringing AHRQ’s total program level for FY 2011 to $392 million.

Contact:

Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559
Email: dbmoore@aamc.org

Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525
Email: trasouli@aamc.org


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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806
Email: jkleinman@aamc.org