AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, issued the following statement on the release of legislation (H.R. 1865) that would fund the federal government through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2020, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations. The bill also contains a 10-year reauthorization of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and a short-term delay in cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments.
“The AAMC applauds congressional and committee leaders for working in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to fund government agencies through the end of FY 2020 and to continue important health care programs that are at risk of expiring.
The Labor-HHS appropriations legislation released today will support programs that are vital to improving the health of patients across the nation. Specifically, we are delighted that lawmakers have agreed to a $2.6 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health, which will help advance scientific knowledge and provide hope to millions of people dealing with life-threatening and chronic diseases. We also are appreciative that, for the first time in more than two decades, the bill includes dedicated funding for gun violence prevention research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We are also grateful Congress provided an 8% increase in funding for the Title VII diversity and workforce development programs managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration. This will help enable rural and other underserved communities to address gaps in patient access and deliver culturally competent care.
Another highlight of today’s package is inclusion of a 10-year reauthorization of PCORI. This important organization is playing a critical role in connecting patients, clinicians, and other stakeholders with the evidence they need to make informed health care decisions. This legislation will ensure the institute is funded to continue this work over the next decade.
While we strongly support the Labor-HHS bill, we remain concerned that today’s agreement does not include a long-term solution to the impending cuts to Medicaid DSH payments. The uncertainty caused by these looming cuts does a disservice to patients, as it puts safety net hospitals that care for large numbers of Medicaid patients in limbo. We strongly encourage Congress to resolve these devastating cuts prior to May 22, 2020, when they are scheduled to go into effect.
The AAMC urges all members of the House and Senate to pass this appropriations and health extenders legislation swiftly and ensure support for important programs that benefit patients and the health of all.”
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 comprise 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 173,000 faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org.