AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement on the passage of the fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending bill by the House Appropriations Committee, which includes increased funding for several priority programs and agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), training, pipeline, and diversity programs within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and others:
“The AAMC applauds the House Appropriations Committee for its investment in programs that will enable America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals to promote the nation’s health security.
We are especially grateful that the spending bill includes a strong commitment to the NIH’s base budget with a nearly 5% increase for each NIH institute and center to support research across all avenues of scientific discovery. NIH-funded research has made great inroads in advancing treatments for patients with life-threatening diseases like cancer and heart disease, chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s and diabetes, and new and emerging public health threats like Ebola and Zika. The increased funding the bill provides for the NIH is a welcome step toward enhancing the agency’s ability to bring about future diagnostics, treatments, and cures.
In addition to continuing the momentum of sustained funding growth for medical research, the AAMC greatly appreciates the bill’s new investments in other priorities critical to our nation’s health. For the first time in more than 20 years, the bill provides dedicated funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for research on firearm safety. We also welcome the bill’s overall increase for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and new funding for HRSA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration to support efforts by medical schools and teaching hospitals to increase physician training associated with the opioid epidemic.
The AAMC celebrates the committee’s renewed commitment to HRSA’s workforce and pipeline programs after years of chronic underfunding. For example, the boost for the Health Careers Opportunity Program and other health professions programs focused on rural areas and underserved communities will help foster a diverse and culturally competent health care workforce to deliver new treatments to all patients.
Additionally, the bill advances the nation’s ability to respond to the full array of potential public health crises by bolstering funding for the Hospital Preparedness Program and continuing the National Ebola Training and Education Center, the regional disaster response program, and 10 existing regional Ebola and other special pathogen treatment centers. Nearly all of these treatment centers are located at major teaching hospitals, and this funding will assist these institutions in maintaining the heightened level of preparedness required to respond to novel and everyday emergencies in their communities and nationwide.
The AAMC recognizes that Congress must address the existing unworkable discretionary spending caps to enable investments like those included in the spending bill to materialize. We urge Congress and the White House to work quickly in a bipartisan manner to reach a deal that ensures the health and well-being of the nation, and we thank the committee for its efforts to support these priorities.”
The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.