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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

AAMC Members Lead Ebola Efforts, Congress Considers Emergency Funding

December 5, 2014—Of 35 Ebola treatment centers announced Dec. 2 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 31 are AAMC-member teaching hospitals, with more expected in the coming weeks. The specially staffed and equipped facilities have been designated by state and local health officials, and assessed by a CDC team of experts for their preparedness in all aspects of caring for an Ebola patient.

Shortly after the announcement, AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., issued a statement indicating, “The advanced clinical care, state-of-the-art facilities, highly trained teams of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals, and the medical research capacity found at these teaching hospitals and their affiliated medical schools will be key to providing the specialized care necessary for patients with Ebola and other deadly infectious diseases.”

Dr. Kirch emphasized that “the unique costs associated with these efforts will require the supplemental funding that the administration has requested to continue to fight Ebola domestically and abroad. We urge Congress to act swiftly to approve funding that supports the immediate needs of those on the front lines.”

President Obama also referenced the newly announced treatment centers in remarks he made that day at the National Institutes of Health to acknowledge the “important progress” the nation has made in fighting Ebola to date and to highlight a milestone in developing a potential Ebola vaccine, completion of the Phase I clinical trials.

The president also took the opportunity to renew his call for supplemental funding, saying, “Much of the progress we’ve made – and the progress we still need to make – depends on funding that’s running out. We can’t beat Ebola without more funding. This is an expensive enterprise.  And that money is running out.” He continued, “And that’s why I’m calling on Congress to approve our emergency funding request to fight this disease before they leave for the holiday.”

Congress is finalizing details of a fiscal year (FY) 2015 spending package that also is expected to include emergency supplemental funding to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and bolster domestic preparedness. The White House submitted its $6.18 billion funding request to Congress on Nov. 5 [see Washington Highlights, Nov. 7], but final funding levels will depend on the outcome of negotiations among House and Senate leaders.

The AAMC also sent a Nov. 25 letter  thanking Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) for legislation (S. 2942) they introduced to support hospitals that can provide specialized care for patients with Ebola and other infectious diseases. In addition to addressing many of the types of expenses included in the president’s funding request, the bill also would authorize grants to cover unreimbursed costs of treating Ebola patients and lost opportunity costs that treatment facilities would face.

The letter notes, “We hope to work with you and your colleagues to ensure that the expenses identified in your legislation are addressed in the FY 2015 emergency supplemental to meet the immediate needs of these facilities.”

Additionally, the letter describes the importance of strengthening “the nation’s commitment to academic medicine more broadly” to ensure long-term sustainability of treatment centers’ efforts.

It states, “The federal investment in medical schools and teaching hospitals, such as through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and through Medicare Indirect Medical Education (IME) clinical care payments, is the foundation that enables such institutions to provide leading-edge services and expertise typically unavailable elsewhere. These qualities not only serve as an asset in countering Ebola and other infectious diseases, but also strengthen the infrastructure required to prepare for other unknown emerging threats and to maintain trauma centers, burn units, pediatric intensive care units, and other standby services.”

Contact:

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

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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.


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For More Information

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